Anxiety and stress are a normal part of the human experience, even in children. It’s a natural emotional response that motivates the brain and helps human beings to learn new things. There are some cases, however, when this emotional response can interfere with a child’s development and ability to progress.
You may have seen this issue within your own child. They might come home from schools or a social event in tears, unable to explain what’s wrong. Other times they’ll act out in a public situation, throwing a tantrum or melting into a puddle of inexplicable crying. If that sounds like a situation you can relate with, this information is for you.
Recognizing Anxiety and Stress in Your Child
The exact cause of anxiety is not entirely certain. Most researchers attribute it to genetics and an individual’s personality. It can be worsened, however, by certain experiences and traumatic events that leave a lasting impression on the child.
Overstimulation, including attendance of public places with bright lights, a lot of noise, and plenty of people can also bring on an anxiety attack. These are some of the most common triggers to tell you that your child has a problem with stress and anxiety. Here are a few more telltale signs:
- Uncommon shakiness
- Frequent sick feeling, especially in social situations, including dizziness, stomach cramps, and pain.
- Rapid breathing and difficulty catching breath
- Heart palpitations and sweating
- Poor confidence, particularly when trying new things
- Tendency to become easily embarrassed
- Problems eating or sleeping
- Angry outbursts
Watch for these symptoms during a moment of high stress for your child. Going to the dentist, for example, can be extremely frightening, and you may see them exhibit some of these symptoms. It’s also common to see these symptoms before, during, or after school.
Once you recognize the most common causes of anxiety onsets in your child, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to help control the environment and improve their ability to cope and recover.
Negative Impact on Success
Getting help for a child with an anxiety or stress disorder is essential. If not handled properly, it can turn into a full-blown mental disorder that can interfere with their progression and impede their ability to live a normal life.
For starters, these stressors can lead to a poor social life in which the child is unable or unwilling to interact with other children. Building relationship is the key to success in so many different avenues. For example, it’s difficult for a child to hold a job when they get older if they don’t have a strong social background.
Stressors also interfere with a child’s confidence, inhibiting their ability to push themselves and progress to reach their full potential. Allowing kids to motivate themselves to be better is what helps them to be successful, well-rounded adults.
What to Do?
It’s often simpler to pinpoint symptoms and causes than it is to come up with solutions and a plan of action in which to improve these anxious episodes. But there are a few tried and true methods that can help you and your child cope with stress and anxiety.
- Communicate frequently. Try to teach your child to verbalize their emotions, even when it’s difficult.
- See a professional. You might not know how to handle a child’s anxiety, but a professional therapist will.
- Reduce stress in your own life. Oftentimes, childhood anxiety can be a product of your example. Try to be more positive in stressful situations, and see the way it affects your child.
You have a long road ahead of you in treating and curing children’s anxiety, but if you remain consistent and make a powerful effort to teach them that they’re valued and important members of your family, you’re giving them the best head start possible.