There’s no mincing of words when it comes to children who suffer from anxiety. There’s nothing worse for an anxious child than parents who don’t understand or are not able to help.
So this article will be your beginner’s guide for parents on how to identify if your child has anxiety and what a child with anxiety wants from you.
How to identify if your child has anxiety?
One thing that makes it extremely difficult for children to handle anxiety is that they can’t explain it. It is possible that your child may not be able to understand the feelings they’re experiencing. More often than not, children are not able to explain their anxiety. Here are some common signs to watch out for.
- Feeling sick whenever a particular thing happens. If your child frequently complains of stomach aches, headaches, nausea or sickness of such kind, watch for patterns. You may be able to identify a trigger to the sickness.
- Watch your child’s eating habits. Sudden changes in the diet r inability to eat in public with fair ease in eating when alone is a common sign of anxiety.
- Be more attentive to any hyperactive, fidgety or reckless behavior in your child. A lot of children tend to display these behaviors. However, if you feel there’s a pattern to this kind of behavior, it could help to identify triggers.
- Pay special attention if you experience extreme sweating or shivers in a situation. Watch for these especially carefully if you think your child is in a situation that makes them uncomfortable. It’s common for parents and adults to brush these off as nervousness. However, if it’s happening frequently, it could be a sign of something more serious.
- Does your child have an irrational fear of something? Is this fear more than what is typical or is getting in the way of your child doing things that they like, then that could be a sign of anxiety.
- Behaviors and habits similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, more commonly known as OCD, are one of the biggest giveaways of anxiety. A lot of children and young adults develop OCD as a coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety.
What does an anxious child want to hear from a parent?
Ask any adult who suffered from anxiety in the childhood or adolescent years, one thing stays the same: I wish my parents knew…
Here is what your anxious child wants you to understand, even if they don’t say it.
- It’s not an overreaction, it’s not just a phase.
- Don’t tell them to calm down, because that doesn’t help. At all.
- They want you to sympathize with them, not get impatient or disappointed.
- Saying “I’m Fine” doesn’t always mean that they’re fine.
- It isn’t drama, it’s real for them.
- They’re not talking to you because it’s scary and overwhelming.
- They’re not talking to you because they don’t know how you’ll react.
Some things you can do to help an anxious child
These recommendations are just small but can make a world of difference for a child that’s feeling crushed by anxiety.
- Make them feel comfortable about talking to you. Make it easy to converse with you.
- Set aside your thoughts and feelings, bring theirs to the focus.
- Scolding your child will make it worse. Working through it and helping them is how you fix things.
- Identify coping methods for when they’re in an anxious situation and figure ways you can make it easier for them.
- Listen to them and understand them, don’t brush it off as “just anxiety and some nerves”.
The foundation you build for your child at a younger age will set the tone for how they deal with their entire life. Make sure you make it easier.