Is Anxiety in Young Boys the New Normal?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WENDY MOGEL, Clinical Psychologist and Writer (Review 2016)

This article first appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Independent School, published by the National Association of Independent Schools.

I’ve been in practice for 35 years. In the old days, most parents of lower school boys came to see me at the recommendation of the school. The student was behind in reading and writing, or restless, devilish, or puzzlingly out-of-sorts. Today, most parents of young boys are self-referred. The most common presenting problem? Their sons’ worrisome worries. These anguished parents use such similar phrases that I feel like I’m listening to actors reading sides for a casting agent. Here’s Kate, mother of six-and-a-half-year-old Spencer and four-year-old Bella:

Spencer insists that one of us stay in his room with him while he gets dressed for school.
Even if he wants something badly—a Lego part or his Wii controller—he refuses to go upstairs by himself.
He asks so many questions about his homework that I usually just sit with him the whole time.
He’s miserable if he knows we’re going out for the evening. If we leave before he’s asleep, he begs the babysitter to let him call.
He has bad dreams and wants to get in our bed. If we say no, he gets in bed with Bella.

And he’ll only consent to sleepovers if they are at our house.
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THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE 2016 EDITION OF THE REVIEW
© 2017 PARENTS LEAGUE OF NEW YORK