So many children and teens are battling anxiety. The rates continue to increase and it’s about time we looked deeper at why this is occurring.
- Busy world, we live in a world with high demands. You put these demands on others and others put them on you. You meet these high expectations and then the cycle continues or you don’t meet the expectations and you feel inept.
- Technology – I have a love/hate relationship with technology and most people I speak with do as well. We love being able to talk to each other with a flick of a button, be able to see what our friends are up to without having to wait until we actually see them but is it worth the pain? Is it worth the pain of having Wi-Fi constantly stream in and around your body? Is it worth the pain of not being able to experience a dinner without someone taking a photo of it?
Symptoms Of Your Child’s Anxiety
- Consistent complaints of a sore tummy
- We’re talking about repeated incidences, not the once-off complaint where they’ve eaten something that disagrees with them or are actually sick.
- Disengagement from activities
- particularly sports and hobbies they were previously excited about
- Disinterested in socialising with friends
- Sometimes, a dispute can occur and they have some time away from their friends and that’s ok. You know your child better than most and will be able to gauge what’s going on
- Sensitive to noises, particularly loud ones.
- Cars backfiring in the street, being easily frightened when they don’t hear someone walking up to them etc
5 Tips To Support Your Child’s Anxiety
Help them to identify when they’re not feeling comfortable in a situation.
- They don’t need to feel bad
- It’s common
- When they don’t know what’s going on, everything can be overwhelming for them
Do breathing exercises with them
- It’s important they see you doing them, that it’s not a case of ‘do what I say, not as I do’
- Start doing the breathing exercises when they aren’t in an anxious situation, so they can get used to doing them
- Do them on a regular basis, such as when they’re falling asleep, which is great to promote a restful night, or before eating dinner, to promote healthy digestion
Be honest about your own experience with anxiety
- We now that conditions such as anxiety can run in families. This is in no way blaming you, we won’t debate nature Vs nurture here but let’s acknowledge the issue can run deeper than just your child.
- If your child hears you openly discussing your experience, either directly with them or indirectly overhears a conversation, s/he will feel less alienated. S/he will know they aren’t alone in this battle.
Admit where you may be feeding the anxiety.
- Over 10 years working with children 6 weeks to 18 years, I witnessed first-hand, particularly in a child’s younger years, that once the parent left, the child calmed down and didn’t display any signs of anxiety. Often, it was the opposite, they were willing to help me (a teacher at the time) or would find a quiet activity and once they felt comfortable within the space, they’d make friends with other students.
- Sometimes, parents can have such a strong desire for their child to succeed that it can have the opposite effect and (unintentionally), this can cause the child to feel enormous pressure to perform (academically, socially, athletically etc) and they feel that no matter what they do, they will never, ever live up to their parents’ expectations.
Get professional help for your child.
- No matter how pure your intentions, you simply won’t see the whole picture as clear as a professional will. Your role as parent is the ultimate role but you will have your perspective, which may or may not be the whole truth and may or may not be the same as your child’s perspective.
- A professional will be able to gather information and assess the situation. From here, they will be able to support your child with the symptoms their anxiety produces and the underlying factors, to reduce the occurrence of anxiety and to equip them with the tools so that when it does rear its head again, they can confidently handle the situation.
The rates of anxiety seem to be ever-increasing, so please know that you are not alone in this battle to support your child.