Can your child suffer from anxiety? To many, anxiety is perceived as something that develops over time as the stressors of life begin to build up, not something that occurs in children who are so young. But it is estimated that around 17.1 million children currently have or have had a psychiatric disorder, which is greater than the number of children who have been diagnosed with cancer. If this statistic shows us anything, it’s that the problem of anxiety is not small by any means.
Children who suffer from an any type of anxiety are not exaggerating how they are feeling. The symptoms associated with anxiety in a child can be quite vast, complicated, and have varying levels of severity; the important thing to remember is that you are on your child’s team, and they need to know that you are there to help them push past the anxious thoughts and feelings.
There is an ever-growing need for parents to learn how to identify the signs of anxiety in their child so that they can determine what needs to be done to help them, rather than allowing the symptoms to go untreated.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Know that you’re not a bad parent.
When a child suffers from anxiety, parents can be tempted to feel insufficient in their care for their child. They may feel frustrated that they can’t fix everything for their child. They may become upset, depressed, or frustrated and their hope in their parenting skills may diminish over time. You are not bad at parenting because your child has anxiety.
2. Understand the common symptoms associated with child anxiety.
The one common thread between most children with anxiety is this: verbal expression of their anxiety happens in little to no cases. Children who have anxiety don’t often know how to express themselves. It may come out in tears, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, fits of rage, depressive symptoms, or social issues. The child may not be able to focus in school or remember assignments, have low self-esteem, or eat an increased or decreased amount of food than normal. The child may exclude themselves from active and exciting social activities and may be just as frustrated as you feel about this anxiety.
3. Seek help for your child.
Here are four active things you can do to support and care for your anxious child:
Schedule an appointment with a professional. Visit my website to schedule an appointment at my private practice! The first steps are seeing whether or not your child suffers from an anxiety disorder and, if so, what steps need to be taken in order to care for the child.
Take the screening. If you are concerned your child may have anxiety, take this brief 15-question screening that has been made available from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Explore your resources. Anxiety, to the surprise of many, is common in children and adolescents. There are plenty of resources available to you so that you can learn more about the different types of anxiety, as well as what you can do to help.
Offer positive reinforcement. Children who are praised for their good behavior and encouraged to keep pressing on when things are tough are much more likely to overcome and cope with their anxiety.
There are millions of people who struggle with anxiety in the United States. You are not alone, nor is your child. For more help, schedule an appointment today and begin the process of seeking professional help for your child.