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What to watch for in kids with anxiety

Parenting is rewarding but never easy. There are signs to watch for anxiety in children. Here are some handy hints to help you be a more relaxed parent during the pandemic.

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As a parent, you strive to be one step ahead of your child, so you can make their lives better, but this is not always the case. Your five-year-old can have a hundred queries about different subjects in a minute. This curiosity and zest for life you can fondly recall when your teenager has locked themselves in their bedroom, leaving you with a myriad of unanswered questions.

Here, psycho-education can help in tackling the never-ending anxiety you can have as a parent.

With the rampant growth in mental health problems in the young, you worry about your child and even question your parenting skills.

 At times, you wonder if you are ignoring or not meeting your child’s emotional needs. The downfall of being hypervigilant, where you are constantly second-guessing your decisions, can make your child feel overwhelmed, exacerbate their anxiety and lower their self-efficacy or belief in their abilities to handle challenges.

 The young have vibrant minds full of curiosity. They have very few inhibitions and are brimming with confidence. Ask a group of four-year-olds their dreams, and you’ll see they dream big and even have plans to achieve their goals. However, with each passing school year, the same children gradually lose this sparkle. They can have school adjustment problems, leading to academic and behavioural issues and more anxiety for them.

Having a working knowledge of anxiety can help you to take preventive measures for your child.

Anxiety is having a vague, irrational fear of something terrible is going to happen to the affected person or a loved one, accompanied by a sinking feeling in the stomach or unexplained body aches and pains. At the very least, the affected person feels out of sorts. You cope by adapting your behaviour so as not to cause yourself more distress or aggravate your symptoms.

At times, anxiety can be to a specific object or event. However, the reality for many is that it isn’t easy to pinpoint what causes this feeling. In both scenarios, parents can start looking at their child’s functioning to see if they have been affected. Recording any new maladaptive behaviours will help to clarify the situation.

 A young child having separation anxiety would cry when the parent leaves them at school. For the teachers, if the child gets upset upon seeing their caregiver, it may be a signal to look for more information regarding the home situation.

Your child is shy and will not make eye contact with others but warm up after the initial hesitation. It can be part of growing up, and parental worry can stifle your child’s self-confidence.

Suppose your child has a problem falling asleep as they plan for a class presentation the next day. This latter scenario of having moderate anxiety is essential for optimal performance, as it keeps your child motivated.

You can look for signs of social anxiety when your child worries about speaking in class, will not talk to their peers and refuse to read aloud when asked to do so by their teacher or is afraid of looking foolish and saying that friends will laugh at them.

Generalized anxiety is free-floating anxiety almost about everything for the child; their stress is not focused on external triggers like going to a friend’s birthday party, but internally.

Instead of worrying incessantly, you can make mindful decisions to seek psychological services before your child’s maladaptive behaviour escalates.

This article was published in the Telegraph-Journal.

The picture is from Mind Matters A.S. Consulting; 

https://www.facebook.com/mindmattersasconsulting//

 Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and should not substitute for consultations with a qualified professional.

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