The ADAA has just released its list of worst games for anxious children. Here are the top five:
Jenga. Any game with a high startle factor is inappropriate for the highly anxious child. All it takes is one poorly placed block, and your anxious child will collapse faster than the unstable tower. He’ll spend the next hour crying, and he won’t sleep at all that night worrying about what he could have done differently and why he’s such a failure and whether those blocks were made of sustainably-produced wood.
Don’t Wake Daddy. High startle factor with added dimension of parental disapproval. The anxious child fares poorly with risk, whether real or simulated, and will not respond well when “Daddy” pops up from his bed, prepared to administer an ass-beating for his child’s bad judgment in making a not-stealthy-enough midnight trip to the fridge.
Trouble. The name says it all—this game is no good for the anxious child. Although it has a low startle factor, the highly anxious child will likely become distressed by its reliance on blind chance. She may continually push the plastic bubble with increasing frustration, and when the “right” number doesn’t pop up, agonize over being left behind by her competitors.
Operation. Well-intentioned relatives may gift your future medical professional with this game, but beware of the damage it will cause. The highly anxious child will take very seriously his charge to successfully remove Cavity Sam’s diseased, white plastic organs using the attached tweezers, but is likely to be foiled by his own lack of dexterity. For many succeeding years, the anxious child may experience failure a bright red light accompanied by an unpleasant buzzing, vibrating sensation. One anxious adult stated, “I couldn’t remove that damned rubber band from the guy’s leg, so I don’t know what made me think I could get into grad school.”
Perfection. Really, Lakeside Inc.? You made a game out of something the anxious child craves every moment of his existence? And you give him 60 seconds to attain it before ruining all of his efforts? Perfection is the mother of all soul-crushing childhood games. If it is brought into the home, it won’t be long before the anxious child equates his self-worth with the number of seconds left on the circular ticking timer of doom. The popping of the tray and jarring of the tiny yellow pieces will cause nightmares and flashbacks. The game couldn’t be more aptly named: I failed at Perfection, the anxious child will say to himself. What’s more, prepare for the shitstorm that inevitably ensues when one of the yellow pieces goes missing and the anxious child is forced to complete the game less than perfectly.
It goes without saying that Perfection’s evil cousin Superfection should be avoided as well, as the game will only further torture the anxious child, not to mention confound the spatially-challenged.
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