Does My Child Have Anxiety?


Does My Child Have Anxiety?

Many would say that anxiety is a part of life. This day and age we seem to view anxiety as a common problem among most. As an adult who has suffered from anxiety for nearly two decades, I know how terrible my body feels when I am anxious. I feel sick to my stomach; my heart races and I feel out of control. It’s awful. But, because I am an adult, I can recognize these as symptoms of anxiety or panic. For children, this is not as easy. We don’t always notice when it is affecting our kids. It is easy to think that because they are children, their lives shouldn’t be as stressful, therefore they shouldn’t have anxiety. The problem is that we don’t always notice because we don’t know what to look for. Kids often lack the ability to verbally express that they are feeling anxious. They may complain of many other symptoms which we fail to link to being anxious.

Spoken as a parent and not as a practitioner, I have read several studies that concluded that children with learning or behavioral issues are twice as likely to feel anxious, especially when it comes to going to school. It’s only natural that you would feel unease in a place where things may not come as easy to them as it does their peers. They naturally don’t adjust well to change and this can also cause anxiety.

Some children, especially those children who have gone through trauma or have learning or social difficulties, may exhibit more characteristics of what we could easily place as anxiety. They appear clingy, are afraid of going to school, or just be scared of being alone. These are easy to pick up on. Although, it is easy to see when your child is panicking, we tend to miss when they are complaining of a stomach ache, headache, or they get irritable, angry or suddenly very oppositional. These we don’t often tie to anxiety. They know they don’t feel well but they don’t recognize it as anxiety. This is how we miss it. This is how we just assume they are sick.

So how do you know if your child is experiencing anxiety? What does anxiety look like? In order to get to the root of the anxiety you have to ask more probing questions to get to the bottom of why they are feeling this way.

If you keep track, you should be able to find a pattern and then a trigger. Find a local psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist or counselor in your area who is trained in either play therapy or pediatric counseling for anxiety.