Anxiety: The first signs in children – zimo news


Anxiety symptoms can be hard to spot, but the sooner parents notice these signs, the sooner a mental health professional “can help parents and children understand what’s going on,” says Dr. Rebecca Baum. north. Chapel Hill, Carolina.

An anxious child may begin to avoid situations that trigger anxiety. Baum adds that this behavior can contribute to a cycle that feeds their fears.

But “the sooner we have the tools, the sooner we can put children on a path that encourages resilience and helps them face the things they fear,” Bussman said.

Read on to learn more about the first physical, behavioral, and emotional signs of general or social anxiety, and how to help your child.

general anxiety

Common signs of general anxiety in children, according to UK National Health Service, University of MichiganBaum and Bassman – including:
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping, wetting the bed, or having nightmares
  • Improper diet
  • sticky
  • Lack of confidence to try new things or inability to deal with simple everyday problems
  • Avoid everyday activities, such as seeing friends or going out in public or school
  • inability to speak in certain social situations
  • Seek reassurance (repeat questions to reconfirm concerns, such as exactly when and where you picked them up from school, or if the weather is really good enough to play)
  • Physical symptoms such as frequent toilet trips; tears; headaches; dizziness; dizziness; sweating; abdominal pain; nausea; cramps; vomiting; restlessness; or body aches (especially if they usually occur before school or social obligations)

Tantrums, irritability or defiance can be misinterpreted as disrespectful behavioral issues, but anxiety may be the root cause, Boothman said. Refusing to do homework may be out of fear of making a mistake.

Children “don’t necessarily have the tools to say, ‘This is really hurting me,'” Buseman said. “So they act. »

social anxiety

Many symptoms of social anxiety are similar to symptoms of general anxiety, but appear in a social setting, Busman said.

Children with social anxiety disorder may show these signs, according to reports National Children’s Hospital in Washington DC, National Social Anxiety Center and Mayo Clinic:
  • avoid or refuse to go to school
  • Refusing to speak in social situations or speaking in a soft or low tone
  • poor social skills, such as being afraid of strangers or not making eye contact
  • Fear or difficulty using public restrooms, making phone calls, performing public performances, eating in front of others, being called to class, or being separated from parents
  • Physical symptoms, including fast heartbeat, shaking, trouble breathing, feeling like the brain goes blank, and muscle tension

have important conversations

Finding out what’s causing your child’s anxiety is important, but it needs to be done with compassion – don’t burn out, it could put her on the defensive or get her into trouble and cause her to stop wanting to talk to you . .

Inquisitive, non-leading questions are good, suggests Boothman. Open things like “I noticed that you seem hesitant to go into this industry. What’s new? Probably better than “Are you afraid to come in, or do you just dislike these people?” “More effective. “

Ask your child how something is going, what he likes, and what is difficult.

according to Anxiety in Canada — so some kids might express those concerns in a way that makes sense to them, like “I don’t want people to see my paintings” or “My voice sounds funny,” Bussman said.

If your child is honest about what’s making them anxious, avoid invalidating the experience by saying “there’s nothing to fear” or “don’t be a baby.” Also avoid asserting your fears. Saying “This sounds scary; Busman said, I’m sorry you had to” makes the child even more vulnerable.

A good balance, Busman adds, is to say, “This sounds difficult,” followed by a statement that acknowledges your child is capable of a challenge and that you know you can tackle it together.

If your child is anxious about starting football practice instead of playing, use some form of the above statement and assure them that they will get better with practice. Practice, but don’t overstate that he’ll kick the winning goal – it probably won’t happen.

“We sometimes get nervous because our kids’ timing isn’t perfect,” Bussman said, but it’s crucial to teach that imperfection is okay. Your child sometimes misses the ball and it’s not realistic to be liked by everyone.

“Stress management is an important part of childhood,” Baum said. Parents and caregivers can model this by “talking about a time when they’re anxious about something but trying to accept it, even if the outcome isn’t quite what they hoped.”

Teachers can tell you how your child interacts with their peers and if they are still sad or anxious after you send them to school.

When concerns persist and “interfere with a child’s ability to do the things they need to do,” Boothman said, “this is a good time to seek more support.”

The best treatment for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves some level of exposure therapy that helps children feel comfortable doing the things they fear, Boothman said.

Baum says your child’s primary care provider can help “distinguish between characteristics that are typical of your child’s age/developmental level and characteristics that may be worrisome.” “Even if symptoms are typical for a child’s age, families can still be grateful for helping manage them successfully.”

Baum adds: “Meeting and even beyond a child’s comfort zone (is) where growth happens.»

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