Dealing With Child Anxiety
One of the many developments parents may find themselves faced with is having to deal with their child’s anxiety, which can be rather challenging to diagnose and even more challenging to actually effectively address.
Child anxiety in itself is actually a normal part of growing up and everyday life, as this is a direct effect of the natural biological mechanisms at work, through which the developing mind and body establishes boundaries that will allow a developed adult to function in the world they are living in. It is normal for the developing mind to dwell on some potentially stressful, harmful or dangerous thoughts, as this forms part of the growth terrace that establishes clear distinctions between the good and the bad of this world.
If a child has been exposed to a particularly violent television program, for instance, where civilians are attacked by a thug prowling the deep, dark corners of deserted back streets, they would naturally be prone to dwelling on the possibility of that happening to them or their loved ones, with the natural manifestation of that taking the form of mild anxiety.
The distinctive factor of this natural form of anxiety however is the fact that it goes away after a while, with the process repeating itself until the developing mind of the child has armed itself with enough knowledge of all the possible bad things that can happen in their world. So, in this regard, anxiety is a good thing.
When child anxiety takes over the life of a child however, giving rise to depression and affecting the quality of that child’s life, it becomes anxiety disorder and this is where some intervention may be required.
The first thing parents need to know, in order to effectively deal with child anxiety, is how to identify child anxiety disorder. The anxiety itself is characterized by an over-emphasis on possible threats and things that can go wrong, expressed through over-edginess and constant fear. Child anxiety disorder on the other hand takes the form of the same over-emphasis on possible dangers, constant fear and edginess, with the addition of a number of other mild-to-severe symptoms, such as depression, eating disorders, sudden isolation, hyperactivity or poor results at school.
Other times, but on very rare occasions, child anxiety disorder can result in a sudden spike in the performance of a child at school or on the sports field, as immersing oneself in one activity may be a way through which children choose to deal with their anxiety disorder. It could be argued that this particular outcome has more of a positive spin to it, but the root cause of the child anxiety disorder should be identified and addressed regardless.
Consultation with a psychiatric professional should never be counted out, in a bid to confirm parents’ suspicions of their child’s possible anxiety disorder, but the best approach is not to take the child along to the consultation as this may cause them to crawl into a shell, fearing that there is something wrong with them and reacting in that way. Either way, once the symptoms have been identified, the first approach to dealing with the anxiety disorder should be a proactive one.
Sitting down and addressing some of the issues the child may be facing could do the trick as communication is key.
More severe cases of child anxiety disorder may call for a firmer intervention, like counseling and collaboration with people who have been in similar anxiety-inducing situations, but professional help may make for the ultimate road led to.
The key factor to effectively dealing with child anxiety disorder is support. The child needs to know that whatever they may be going through in their lives, their parents and other family members, perhaps even some very close friends as well, will always be there to lend a hand in support and be there for them when some of life’s issues get too heavy for them to handle on their own.