Childhood Anxiety: Impacts & Things That Can Help
Anxiety might seem like an adult issue, but it's not. Childhood anxiety is serious and can have long-term impacts. Here's how to recognize it and how to help.
Keyword(s): childhood anxiety
Anxiety problems are the most common mental illness in the US and affect 18% of the adult population. It's not only an adult issue, there are also one in every eight children suffering from childhood anxiety.
Anxiety in childhood is no laughing matter. Pre-schoolers who have an anxiety disorder are likely to have major differences in their brain by the time they reach school age. Mental health in your children should be taken just as seriously as their physical health. The health of their growing brains depends on getting professional help.
So, what should you do if you think your child may have some anxiety issues? What impact could this have on them as they grow? Here we speak about childhood anxiety, its impact on your child, and things you can do that can help.
Childhood Anxiety: What is It & How Does It Impact My Child
Childhood anxiety disorders are the most common pediatric mental illness. Studies have found that anxiety is even more likely in children of anxious parents.
There are a bunch of normal and common fears and worries at every stage of childhood. Babies startle at loud noises, strangers holding them, and almost falling over. Pre-schoolers can be afraid of the dark or be worried about the monster in the closet. Elementary and middle school aged children worry about how they are going to do on the big test or the bully at school.
Anxiety is different from the normal types of fears and worries. If your child is scared or worried about a lot of things that seem to be harmless or outside of these normal realms, you should consider taking your child into a counselor.
How to Relieve The Stress of Childhood Anxiety
Once you've taken your child to a professional and they've given you a diagnosis what comes next?
Your first line of defense is usually play therapy. This therapy will give your child different tools to deal with their anxious times such as:
Recognizing worry triggers
Learning how to effectively cope with fears, worries, and uncertainty
Developing emotional regulation and self-confidence
Gaining a sense of control over their anxiety
This kind of therapy can do wonders to leading your child down a path of being able to face the world in a positive, worry-free, way.
Natural Relief from Anxiety
So you have brought your child to a therapist and are getting them help in the form of therapy but, are there things you can do at home to make anxiety better? Absolutely!
While prescription medication is not that great at treating these disorders and the negative side effects usually outweigh any positive effects), using quality essential oils has been known to give amazing relief from anxious feelings and behaviors. Make sure you get your oils from a good source and are using them as directed either on the skin or diffusing essential oils for best results. See our page here on essential oil use.
Some other ways to relieve anxiety in your child at home is to encourage relaxing and meditative habits. Children's yoga can do wonders to ease the mind. Certain dietary changes can also help with anxiety symptoms- consult your child's pediatrician or holistic nutritionist for these guidelines.
Even something as simple as setting up a relaxation area in your home can have a big benefit. Setting up a special place where your child feels safe and can express themselves creatively is a great tool to use when they start feeling panicked and overwhelmed.
Hugging and comforting physical touch can actually cause rapid anxiety release and is very beneficial in children suffering from these disorders. Talking quietly and comfortingly while hugging and rocking can ease their mind, help them feel safe, and relieve their stress and anxiety.
What Comes Next?
As a parent, one of our worst fears is for our child to ever be labeled as some sort of "not normal". It can come as a shock and make us doubt our decisions as parents.
You have to know that mental illness is not something we could have parented away. Most mental disorders in children pop up because they were genetically predisposed to a disorder at birth.
With modern medicine finally making mental health more of a priority, help is out there for your kid.
Don't ever think you have to let them suffer alone or that you don't want to get them help because you may be looked down upon as a bad parent. Getting your child help early is actually proving quite the opposite. Being able to recognize the cues of a difference like this early in a child's life means that you are very plugged into your child and their needs. It also means the child loves and trusts you a lot to feel comfortable showing you vulnerabilities.
Being able to recognize the cues of a difference like this early in a child's life means that you are very plugged into your child and their needs. It also means the child loves and trusts you a lot to feel comfortable showing you vulnerabilities.
Trust your parenting instincts, get a qualified professional's help who has experience with childhood mental disorders, do your research, and help however you can.
The greatest thing you can do as a parent is to be your child's ally. If you believe there is something off, you owe it to them to seek help and keep getting opinions if you don't like what you hear.
If you're in the Dallas area and are still trying to find a doctor who specializes in the treatment of childhood mental disorders, please schedule an appointment here.
Have questions or concerns but not sure if your child needs therapy? Contact our offices here and we would be happy to speak with you and help with the process.
Have you or your child dealt with an anxiety disorder? Did you have some techniques that really helped you in your time of need? Please comment below we would love you hear about it.