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When to Address Your Child’s Anxiety

When to Address Your Child’s Anxiety

Being a parent comes with many challenges. You understand how fragile yet resilient your child is. You know there will be growing pains as they get older. Expecting challenges, triumphs, and everything in between is par for the course when raising children. As much as you may want to help them through every difficulty and struggle, in some cases, these situations are learning experiences that they need to grow.

When it comes to mental health, many parents struggle with knowing what exactly to do. Are they just having a bad week, day, month? Is there something more going on? Is it just part of their growing up process and learning who they are as they go?

If your child is experiencing anxiety, you may be wondering when it is a cause for concern and needs to be addressed. While every child is different, here are some common clues that their anxiety is becoming problematic and impactful in their daily life.

Signs of Anxiety In Children

First, let’s talk about the most common signs of anxiety. While the basics of anxiety are the same, regardless of age, childhood anxiety manifests itself a little differently than it would in an adult.

  • Frequently waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares or not sleeping well at all.
  • Easily irritated or uncontrollable during temper tantrums.
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks, such as homework, chores, or hobbies.
  • Fidgety
  • Stomach issues
  • Headaches
  • Excessive tearfulness
  • Clinginess or signs of separation anxiety

When To Worry About A Child’s Anxiety

No matter what age you are, it’s normal to have anxiety. Anxiety is a common human emotion that can be a helpful motivator. In moderation, like everything else in life, it is useful. It helps us stay focused on goals or prepare for a big event like a job interview. However, at some point, anxiety becomes less than helpful when it is a chronic, everyday occurrence that impairs our ability to function and be present in our lives.

It’s Affecting Their School Performance

Struggling with grades is something most children will go through, so it’s not necessarily a sign of anxiety. However, if your child’s grades have been slipping consistently across the board, it might be time to take notice. Maybe you notice that they:

  • Become agitated easily while working on their homework.
  • Verbally stress and complain about upcoming assignments, projects, or presentations.
  • Asking to stay home from school frequently.
  • Engage in avoidance around homework and upcoming assignments.

Avoiding Situations or People

Does it seem as if your child is avoiding or resistant to going to certain places or seeing certain people? Do they seem very on edge or unusually quiet in public spaces? Alternatively, maybe you notice that they do not want to hang out with their friends as much or only seem to gravitate towards their closest friends or family.

Avoidance is often a manifestation of their anxiety due to the fear of certain situations or remembrance of these things that made them anxious before. Children who are struggling with anxiety will often forgo previously preferred activities and people due to being stuck in the cycle of avoidance.

While feelings of anxiety are normal, if they seem to be impacting your child frequently, it’s important to get them support to equip them with coping skills to manage their anxiety instead of struggling against it. At The OCD & Anxiety Center, all our specialists are trained in evidenced based cognitive behavioral therapies and recognize that including a child’s support system in the therapeutic process is essential.  We can help them find age-appropriate coping mechanisms to not only deal with their anxiety in the short-term but long-term as well. If your child is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to learn more about childhood anxiety treatment.

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2805 Butterfield Road suite 120
Oak Brook, IL 60523

(630) 522-3124

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