If you’ve been reading my blog long, you’ll know Natasha Daniels. I have referenced her articles and videos when I come across something I want to share with you as parents. She is a wealth of information and her specialty is anxiety. I’m honored she allowed me to interview her and I’m pleased to bring her interview to you today. Please help me welcome, Natasha Daniels.
Interview of Natasha Daniels from AT Parenting Survival for All Ages
You’ve been a Child Therapist for a number of years, what would you say is parents’ number one complaint or issue that brings them in for help?
The number one complaint I hear is “my kids don’t listen!” I think that is an issue for many of us. In the last few years, I have started to narrow my practice to treat only anxiety and OCD. In so doing, the biggest question I hear parents ask is “Why is he anxious? He has a good life. What would make him worry so much?” The answer, unfortunately, is genetics. You don’t need to have experienced trauma to have an anxiety disorder.
What was it that drew you to the counseling profession and specifically to work with children?
I was always the “helper” in my family and with friends. My father was mentally ill and I think that spurred my desire to work with mentally ill adults. Ironically in graduate school, they accidentally placed me in an internship working with abused and neglected kids. I fell in love with helping kids and it completely changed my career path. I haven’t looked back since.
I know you are a parent of three children. Tell us what changed for you personally and professionally once you became a parent.
Seriously, absolutely everything changed. Not only did I have my own children, but I had three anxious children. It opened my eyes and my heart to the struggles parents go through. I know what it feels like to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and ineffective as a parent. We’ve all been there. I also know what works and what doesn’t work with my own anxious kids. Life is messy – so is parenting. People need support, not judgment. We are all trying to do the best that we can. I try to convey that message in my therapy sessions, in my writings and on my podcast.
What do you enjoy most about helping children? Helping parents?
Children are hysterical. Their perspective is raw and real. I love that about kids! I can soak up kids all day long. The parents I work with have huge hearts. They want the best for their kids and have such power to help their kids move in a positive direction. It is amazing and awe-inspiring to see positive change happen.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you could give a parent today?
I think parents should spend more time trusting their gut and less time focusing on criticism or judgment. In this day and age, we are bombarded with opinions from family, friends and social media. Sometimes it is judgment overload and we need to take a step back and evaluate what works for our family and our kids.
In your opinion, has parenting become more difficult now that the internet is more available to children and especially even younger children?
Absolutely! There is basically a virtual back door in our children’s bedrooms where they can interact, share and engage inappropriately with others – often with people they don’t even know. We can’t pause technology or try to keep our kids cocooned. That typically backfires in a seriously ugly way. But what we can do is monitor, remain educated and keep a pulse on what is the latest and greatest social media fads with kids.
I read one of your posts about the apps that are “cover” apps that would encourage a child to participate in unwise behavior. This is scary. What can you tell parents, especially those that don’t feel comfortable themselves with the internet, about how to monitor this?
Unfortunately, I think we all need to take a crash course on technology – the stakes are just too high. There are tons of software programs and apps that monitor your child’s technology. I think it is important, even if your child gives you no reason to believe they are looking at or talking to anyone inappropriately. I have watched things spin out of control ridiculously fast without the parent knowing.
There are also online courses that can give you a crash course on technology and how to monitor your child. The best one I have seen is iParent 101’s courses at http://learn.adampletter.com.
Your website is called Anxious Toddlers. What caused you to focus on that particular issue?
Honestly, I wish I never called it that! The website was started when I wrote my first book, How to Parent Your Anxious Toddler. The publisher suggested that I create a website to support the book. Ironically the site took off and became a huge passion for me. Within the first few months of launching the site, I knew the site was going to be a project in and of itself. I wanted to expand it to kids of all age right for the beginning.
I have moved recently to calling the site AT Parenting Survival for All Ages to convey that message – but the website URL is still AnxiousToddlers.com.
I know you have expanded to include all aged-groups of children with anxiety issues. Do you plan to expand the topics or issues that your website addresses?
I am currently working on my latest course, Parenting Kids with OCD. I also have a third book in the works called, OCD Sucks! A Survival Guide. So, I am definitely going to be talking much more about OCD on my site and on my Podcast.
In general, my long-term vision is to make my website almost exclusively about parenting kids with anxiety and OCD of all ages.
Thank you so much for participating in this interview! You’re doing great work. Keep it up! I look forward to reading and watching your next post.
Thanks for reaching out and interviewing me!