Dealing with Anxiety in Children

Dealing with anxiety in children is not a walk in the park. For parents, it is twice the hurt and the pain to see their child go through anxiety. Here is a little bit of help, to ease your pains. Read on!
Just like adults, children have anxieties as well. Yes, they may seem trivialities to elders, but to the children, they are very important. Everyone feels anxiety. However, for some, that anxiety exceeds normal proportions and claims their very sanity. Anxiety disorders in children like separation anxiety, general anxiety and social anxiety are becoming more and more common these days. Why is that? Well, increasing stress and peer pressure at school and lesser attention from parents can cause increase in anxiety.

So what do you do if your child is being gripped by anxiety? How do you go about coping with anxiety in children? Do you let them deal with it and help themselves, or do you scoop them out of the anxiety causing scenario? Let's read about dealing with children's anxiety.

How to Deal with Anxiety in Children

Signs of Anxiety
How do you know that your child's life is being claimed by anxiety? Well, keep a look out for these anxiety symptoms.
  • Keep a look out for physical manifestations like headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and muscle aches. These symptoms may occur after stressful events for the child. However, there is a possibility that the symptoms mean something else. But, keep a look out and be conscious nonetheless.
  • Phobias and anxiety disorders often have behavioral symptoms like isolating, restlessness, irritability, trouble concentrating, and fatigue. Children or teens may even show acute fear of going to a place that brings about anxious feelings. Such reactions could be for adults as well.
  • When affected by anxiety, children tend to become excessively shy. They will refrain from meeting many people or making many friends. They might not even open up to family members. This can make it a very tough ordeal for the child to go through.
Keep a close watch for these signs. You may end up reading into it a bit. However, it is to save your child from anxiety. Anxiety has many long-term effects. As such, it is best to nip it in the bud and treat it when it is in the initial stages.

Helping the Child
What when one notices the signs of anxiety in their children. I have seen parents go through phases of guilt while they go into self-blame mode when they learn that their child is affected by an anxiety disorder. While I cannot really comment on the guilt. I need to tell parents that you need to start focusing on your child now. Not on the guilt.

As a parent, these are the steps you can take for managing anxiety in children.
  • Talk to a child health care professional. While the signs are with reference to anxiety, they could have other meanings as well. So, best is to consult a professional in this case.
  • Research on this. I believe you are doing it by reading the article. It is very important to keep an eye out for these signs, not only for kids, but for adolescents, teens and young adults as well.
  • Spend time with the child. However, don't smother them with affection. Just make sure you are there when they require your guiding hand or someone to talk to.
  • If the child is showing signs of anxiety around a specific person or place, try to investigate into the matter. Often children who are being molested, refrain from narrating their fears, but show signs of acute anxiety around the person who molests them.
  • Encourage them and help them develop self-confidence. Confidence and faith in oneself, is like the ghost buster for anxiety. Help your child build this confidence.
  • Before an anxiety causing event, like moving or transfer of schools, mentally prepare the child. Let them discuss their queries and fears about the event. Let them expect it and not fear it. Do not bring up their hopes too much, but make them feel happy about it.
Psychologists follow the following anxiety cures to deal with anxiety in children.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, and behavior modification strategies
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Biofeedback (it helps control stress and muscle tension)
  • Family therapy and parent training
  • Medication
All these points should not only help parents in coping with anxiety in children, but also help some children recognize it in themselves. Anxiety can be gripping, but a strong-willed individual can pull himself out of it. So, if you have anxiety, pull yourself out of its grasp by using these overcome anxiety tips. This is where I sign off! Take care!
By Rashida Khilawala
Published: 11/18/2009
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