Anxiety is an instinct for survival, however some people’s instincts react quicker or are more intense in certain situations. Once a person finds themself in a situation they deem as dangerous or uncomfortable it is hard to get the anxious feelings under control. According to National Institute of Mental Health, about 18.1 percent of adults in the United States are affected by Anxiety Disorder. About 40 million adults, of the ages 18 -54, have anxiety disorder, although it is also reported that 10% of people with anxiety receive proper help.
In children, ranging from ages 6 – 12, the most common anxiety is seen with they are experiencing new situations. Lots of kids will learn how to manage their new fears. Anxiety can affect kids feelings and their thinking. When identifying if a child suffers from severe anxiety below are things that kids with anxiety may do and what one may notice in a child.
A Child with Anxiety Difficulties May
- seek reassurance often
- avoid situations they feel worried or scared about
- try to get others to do the things they are worried about
- tell you they have physical pains
- dislike taking risks or trying new things
- have lots of fears
- get upset easily
- have lots of worries
You May Notice Your Child
- clings to you
- asks for help with things they can do for themselves
- doesn’t want to get ready for school
- won’t go to sleep without a parent or other adult
- asks, “will you do it for me?” or “will you tell them for me?” a lot
- often complains of stomach pains or headaches
- worries a lot about doing things right
- prefers to watch others rather than have a go
- is scared of the dark, dogs, injections, being alone, germs, tests
- often cries over small things
- complains about being picked on a lot
- always sees the dangerous or negative side of things
Many adults experience severe anxiety disorder and go without helpful treatment. Children with anxiety tend to avoid things they fear. This could cause children to miss out on their greatest potential, because of fear. Because the kids avoid these opportunities, they can lack confidence in themself and their abilities.
The solution to help prevent severe anxiety in children that could impede their future, we must get involved early. Teaching kids hope to cope when they feel nervous or scared is the best way for them to get ahead of their anxiety. Simply eliminating anxiety in a person is difficult, but helping kids manage it.
WHAT TO DO WHEN A CHILD EXPERIENCES ANXIETY:
- DON’T AVOID SITUATIONS THAT MAKE KIDS ANXIOUS
- Teach the child that their feelings are valid.
- EXPRESS POSITIVITY
- If they fail or fear something assure them that after it’s all done they will be okay.
- DON’T REINFORCE THEIR FEELINGS
- If the child shows fear in a situation let them know it’s okay, but DON’T appear worried when the action reoccurs.
- CREATE TIME TO THINK ABOUT THOSE SITUATIONS WITH THE CHILD
- Suppose what the child would do in a situation and think about the outcome.
- TEACH THEM HOW TO COPE
- When they feel nervous in a situation teach them how to calm themselves down.
“Beyondblue – Healthy Families.” In Children, healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/age-6-12/mental-health-conditions-in-children/anxiety.
Folk, Jim. “Anxiety Disorder General Statistics.” Anxietycentre.com, 25 Apr. 2017, www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-statistics-information.shtml.
Goldstein, Clark. “What to Do (and Not Do) When Children Are Anxious.” Child Mind Institute, 16 Sep. 2013, childmind.org/article/what-to-do-and-not-do-when-children-are-anxious/.