The key to overcoming anxiety is to help your daughter understand her feelings, to stop using avoidance, and to address the problems that are causing the anxiety. Photograph: Thinkstock

School refusal is a common problem that is very worrying for parents

Teaching your child an alternative habit, like using a stress ball, can help with nail biting. Photograph: Thinkstock

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When the stress of exams seems too much, there are simple practices and procedures to ease it. Photograph: Thinkstock

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Before answering any question, ask your children what they might know already. For example, in an open curious tone, ask them: where did you hear about that? Photograph: Getty Images.

Give accurate and appropriate answers and do not be afraid to share your values

Whining time again: plan your responses to manage your child’s angry behaviours. Photograph: Thinkstock

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To break the night-time pattern, it is important to be calm and largely silent, and ideally to reward him with your attention only when he has got back into his bed. Photograph: Thinkstock

In part three of his series on the importance of a good night’s sleep for families, John Sharry explores the challenge of helping (...)

The general recommendation is to have all screens turned off a good hour or two before sleep. Photograph: Thinkstock

Part two of this series on the importance of a good night’s sleep for families explores the challenge of technology and whether to(...)

When children throw tantrums and struggle with getting up in the morning, it usually means their bedtime is far too late. Photograph: Thinkstock

Ensuring children have a relaxing bedtime routine and get a good night’s sleep is crucial for a happy family life. (Part one of a (...)

If you do have a minor disagreement with your partner in front of your daughter, show her how you can resolve this positively, and then repair any upset and stay connected. Photograph: Thinkstock

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Frequently, hair-pulling habits start out from a sensory event, for example, an itchy eyelash that your child gets into the habit of rubbing or pulling, even after the original itchiness is gone. Photograph: Thinkstock

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Organising family events, such as First Communions, can be very stressful after separation. Photograph: Thinkstock

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When tackling fears with children, such as a fear of dogs, the key is to go at their pace. Do not rush them.

Anxiety disorders are the most common child and teenage mental health problems. In the third of a three-part series, John Sharry a(...)

Anxiety about school is often a ‘social anxiety’, with worries about friendships or fitting in being at the heart of it: these anxieties are particularly heightened starting secondary school. Photograph: Thinkstock

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems for children and teenagers. In the second of a three-part series, Joh(...)

Simple things such as having regular breaks or even playing some music during study can all help your son be more relaxed. Photograph: Thinkstock

Anxiety disorders are the most common child and teenage mental health problems. Yet, because children with anxiety problems are fr(...)

As one of my boys is 12 and prepubescent, I’m concerned about telling him about his dad before he has established his own sexual identity. Photograph: Thinkstock

John Sharry helps solve your parenting problems. Send your queries to

Children feel great relief once their worries are expressed and heard by others (and they are not thought ‘mad’ for having them). Photograph: Thinkstock

Rather than simply being a mental phenomenon, human emotions are always experienced in the body

You want to reduce gradually the support you give your daughter and help her relearn how to relax and fall asleep by herself. Photograph: Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

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John Sharry helps solve your parenting problems. Send your query to

Think how best you can open a constructive conversation with your daughter about her behaviour at home. Photograph: Thinkstock Images

If you would like advice about parenting from John Sharry, please email your question to

Is there anything we can do to help her calm down and accept her father? Photograph: Thinkstock Images

John Sharry helps solve your parenting problems

Don’t communicate through your kids or use them as a go-between. If you need to discuss something with their other parent, do so directly. Photograph: Thinkstock

These five steps for parents can help minimise a separation’s effects on children

Tell them about your addiction and recovery: children in particular can find this helpful. Photograph: Getty Images

I am now sober but it seems my wife and children have got on with life without me

It is important that parents demonstrate support for each other’s parenting decisions, especially in front of the children. Photograph: thinkstock

John Sharry helps a mother share the discipline role

Breastfeeding can be a big challenge for mothers going back to work. Photograph: Thinkstock

John Sharry advises a gradual approach to feeding when going back to work

There are virtual places that are more dangerous than the street corner

As a parent you have to be assertive and clued in to get the supports your child might need. Photograph: Thinkstock

"While there can be an emphasis on seeking a diagnosis for a child, many children with specific special needs don’t fit into any n(...)

The condition can range from mild to severe but diagnosis and treatments have improved greatly, helping people to live as normal a(...)

Emergency services and relatives ouside the O’Driscoll family home where nine-year-old  twins Patrick and Tom died yesterday. Photograph:  Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Young children should be protected from the details and images of tragic stories

Your son may find it hard to talk about it because he is overwhelmed by the feelings it brings up. Photograph: Getty Images

We hoped he would recover but his anxiety remains

In helping him learn how to use the toilet a gradual step-by-step approach can work best. Photograph: Getty Images

Is his refusal to use the toilet attention-seeking behaviour?

It is likely that your daughter has experienced shame and upset about the problem and it will be a great relief to her when you sh(...)

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