Tag Archives: anxiety disorder

Tips To Help Your Child Lessen Anxiety

The Difference Between ‘Normal Anxiety’ And a Problem

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, including children. In healthy doses, anxiety is a normal part of growing up and adapting to an ever-changing environment. A child may experience bouts of anxiety lasting a few days or even a few weeks in response to a particularly stressful situation such as an upcoming exam, public speaking event, transfer to a different school or town, or important sporting event. If, however, your child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety regularly to the point where their anxiety interferes with his or her eating or sleeping patterns, disposition, school attendance, daily activities and enjoyment of life, you should talk to a psychologist as they may have a disorder. Check out our article on childhood anxiety disorders here.

What Can You Do To Help With Your Child’s Anxiety?

It is important to seek medical treatment if your child is displaying many of the symptoms listed above, as the doctor can perform tests to determine a diagnosis, and then provide your child with any necessary medication or therapy resources he or she may need to move past the symptoms caused by their disorder. However, there are things you can do to try to lessen your child’s worrying, including:

  1. Don’t quickly dismiss your child’s thoughts and worries, take the time to hear them out, and let your child know their worries can be faced. It is important your child feels they can express their anxieties to you or another trusted adult, keeping them inside will only lead to more mental and emotional turmoil.

 

  1. Listen and empathize, but don’t provide too much reassurance or enable your child’s worrying, but instead support and encourage your child to face the situation they are concerned about to show them things will be okay.

 

  1. Don’t enable your child’s anxieties by letting them avoid the things they are worried about such as school, a sport, a family get together or a test. Letting your child’s anxiety rule what he or she does or doesn’t do in life won’t get them further.

 

  1. Check on the anxiety levels of the authority figures in your home. Do you or your partner excessively worry? Often times adults unknowingly model behaviours that children pick up on and emulate.

 

  1. Show your child it is okay to be imperfect and help the learn they can’t always make the best decision, get the best grade, win the competition. Sometimes they will make mistakes, and they need to come to terms with that. Perfectionism goes hand in hand with high levels of anxiety. This can be a good combination for achieving goals but can be very hard on a person over time.

 

  1. Face your own fears and learn to curb your own worries to provide a positive role model for your child about overcoming worry.

 

  1. Reward your child’s positive thinking and fear-facing behaviors with small things like stickers for their collection to help encourage them to continue this behavior.
  2. Help your child learn deep breathing techniques, yoga or mediation to help them decompress and clear their minds when they are especially worried.

 

  1. Encourage your child to take up an “outlet hobby” such as painting or sculpture, coloring or writing. It provides your child with an outlet to purge some of their negative thoughts and worries. Writing can be especially helpful, keeping a journal or diary can help your child get his or her worries out of their system.

 

  1. Teach your child to focus on the positives. Often over-worriers are constantly berating themselves, being their “own worst enemy”. This thought process is not only exhausting, but also damaging to the child’s self-concept. They will continually struggle with confidence until they learn to be easier on, and kinder to themselves.

 

  1. Develop a steadfast bedtime routine with your child. This will help them get better at sleeping and turning off their minds.

For more information and help on the topic of worrisome children, check our WorryWiseKids. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll return again soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Child Just a Worrier Or Fighting A Disorder?

Anxiety is a growing mental health epidemic in people of all ages, but a surprising number of children and teens are struggling with an anxiety disorder. The Anxiety And Depression Association of America (ADAA) asserts that 1 in 8 children will be affected by an anxiety disorder. It is important to know the signs of anxiety disorders for children, as they present differently than in adults. Here is a quick look at the signs and symptoms of the different types of anxiety disorders in children.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is the body’s way of alerting your system to a potential threat so you can face it (fight) or escape it (flight). While prehistoric anxiety was tied to actual predators and physically dangerous situations, modern anxiety has more to do with social threats, health issues, or uncomfortable stressful situations such as public speaking. Anxiety brings on feelings of nervousness, agitation, fear, angst, tension or distraction. Every child experiences some anxiety as a normal part of life and development, but if your child’s anxiety becomes routine, or starts interfering with their everyday activities and quality of life, they may have an anxiety disorder.

Symptoms of Common Youth Anxiety Disorders

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    GAD causes excessive, persistent and intrusive worrying about the future, bad things happening to people they love, physical illness, if their parents might get a divorce or become ill, natural disasters, and school performance just to name a few. GAD children spend an disproportionate amounts of time focused on troublesome thoughts to the point where worrying may interfere with social development, sleeping, homework and leisure time.
  2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Youth OCD causes repeated and unwanted images, thoughts, obsessions or urges that make them anxious, and subsequently engage in compulsive behaviours in an attempt to reduce the anxiety and rid them off the intrusive thoughts. Children suffering from OCD may constantly count aloud, over-wash their hands, engage in repetitive gestures, pacing back and forth or other strange rituals. They may think that engaging in these compulsions will prevent bad things from happening, such as: “if I count back from 100 seven times in a row, I will never be involved in a car accident.”
  1. Panic Disorder
    This disorder is marked by a child experiencing sudden and often unprovoked panic attacks, followed by weeks of worrying when the next attack may occur. During a panic attack, your child may experience a rapid heartbeat, sweating, acute anxiety and tremors, among many other unpleasant symptoms.
  2. Social Anxiety Disorder
    Social anxiety disorder manifests itself in children or teenagers who are so intensely fearful and apprehensive of social blunders or not being accepted that they avoid any social situations at all costs. That may mean your child will fake stomach pains to avoid going to school or attending a sleepover, won’t attend parties, perform or even speaking to other people. Children who suffer from extreme social anxiety may even engage in selective mutism (when a child has the ability to speak and does so when comfortable, but chooses to stay completely silent in stressful or social situations).
  3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 1
    PTSD occurs when a child is involved in a traumatic event such instances of abuse, a natural disaster, witnessing a crime, traumatic family events such as a death or divorce or a car accident. PTSD presents in children as such symptoms as flashbacks, jumpy behaviour, night terrors about the incident, fear and avoidance of triggering situations or people, “time skew” (when children misremember the incident and timeline, this symptom is mostly exclusive to children), anxiety and aggressive behaviours (especially in teens).

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Catch our post “Helping Your Child Decrease Anxiety” soon for tips to help your child deal with their anxiety.