Education Articles

Childhood Anxiety

It has been awhile since my last post. We have been so busy over here, between growing the business and being a mom, and time just gets past me. I work with a lot of children and families as most of you know, and today’s blog will focus on an a sometimes misunderstood phenomena in children – Anxiety.

Many times we expect children to either wring their hands in frustration or cry buckets of tears when they are anxious. However, this is not always the case, nor the norm. My own son, when working with his tutor this past summer began to giggle uncontrollably when asked to read a passage that he was not familiar with. His tutor and I watched him laugh for at least three or four minutes. She finally asked him to snap out of it when he shyly said that he was laughing because he was nervous. A valuable lesson for parents and teachers, no? Sometimes we need to spend more time probing as less assuming.

According to Lendinghand.org, these are common symptoms of anxiety in children:

Every child can have a bout of fear now and then. They might be watching a scary movie of some sort late at night and want to hide under the blanket during a particular frightening scene. Or they might have gotten a bad grade on their report card, and they’re afraid to show their parents because they might get grounded. These are situations that occur in the life of every child, but it’s only temporary.

However, if your child is constantly in fear and it’s affecting their daily life, this is a whole other issue that must be intervened on their behalf by you and your doctor. Generalized anxiety disorder is a disability that some children deal with every day. However, it can be treated with medicine, therapy, support groups and lifestyle changes if caught. How can you tell if your child might be suffering from anxiety? Here are some things to look for:

Your child doesn’t want to leave the house: There’s no question that video games, television and toys make leaving one’s room tough. But if your child actively avoids leaving the home to the point that they exhibit fear or sadness when they leave, they might be fearful of social situations for what they perceive could happen.

Your child is always angry: Those who are anxious are also often angry because they feel cornered. They are often irritable and impatient because they are going through a nightmare in their heads. If your child gets disproportionately angry at a situation, it might be worth asking them what else is wrong.

Your child is constantly sick: Those who are always sick or who think they’re sick often suffer from anxiety. Any heart palpitation or headache could lead the child to perceive the worst. An anxious child will often think they’re dying when their body does something unexpected.

Your child sweats constantly: There are real physical symptoms of anxiety, and one of them is sweating. This is part of the fight or flight response that develops when the child perceives danger – whether it’s actual danger or not.

Your child can’t sleep: Those with anxiety have racing thoughts that often greet them at night. They can sometimes be distracted during the day, but when they slow down at night, it consumes them. If your child complains of insomnia, they might be experiencing anxiety.

As mentioned above, anxiety is not a lifelong sentence. It can be treated. For parents, it can be scary though, so it’s important to take a look at resources for parents of children with a special need to get an understanding of what you should do next. It’s also important to consult your doctor, so they can refer you to a mental health professional or life coach who specializes in child anxiety. By being proactive and getting the proper treatment, you can help your child cope with anxiety.

 

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