Anxiety in a child – what to do?

The term “anxiety” refers to an excessive tendency to experience anxiety and fear about various events or situations. Feeling anxious can play a positive role for a person, for example, it can help solve a problem or keep out of danger. And at the same time, anxiety can harm a person if he constantly experiences unreasonable fear for his life or the lives of loved ones, as well as avoiding situations that can bring pain or disappointment.  

What is anxiety?

Anxiety and anxiety are different states. Anxiety is anxiety in specific situations, such as before public speaking or a major operation. It does not permeate all spheres of human life. People talk about anxiety, referring to the state as “he / she is afraid of everything.” It should not be confused with fear, because it refers to something specific – fear of heights, air travel, public speaking.  

A large number of fears in children is evidence of anxiety. This is what is called the “fear of everything.” Such a condition can be associated either with anxious suspiciousness in the family, or with overestimated expectations of the parents for the child, or with failures in school or sports.

As an adult, anxiety can become a major obstacle to success in life. Due to internal conflict and rejection of his own personality, a person will be afraid to build a career or personal life. Anxious people close off many areas of their lives. But this condition can be dealt with with the help of high-quality and competent psychotherapy.

How and why anxiety occurs in a child

The roots of anxiety in a child should be sought in the parental family. Often the children of suspicious parents or grandchildren of the same grandparents also grow anxious. This creates certain problems in learning about the world around and communicating with peers. For example, children may be afraid to take any action that instills fear in adults, but at the same time do not want to be laughed at.

In adulthood, such people live with a constant fear of offending someone or somehow not pleasing their parents, spouse, boss. This is one of the harmful effects of anxiety in a child.

Reasons why children grow up anxious:

  • an atmosphere of anxiety and constant concern in the family;
  • lack of information on any problem;
  • the authoritarian nature of the parents, excessive requirements for the child’s academic performance;
  • conflicting demands of parents and teachers;
  • purposeful cultivation of a sense of dependence in children.

According to child psychologists, girls worry more about the opinions of others, and boys about punishment and negative reactions from their peers. In other words, girls are afraid that their mother will be angry with certain actions, and their girlfriends will be offended. And the boys are afraid that they will be punished or laughed at.

To prevent anxiety in a child from becoming the main character trait that poisons life, parents should think about their own reaction to certain situations, give themselves and their children more information about those aspects of life that inspire fear and fear. It should be remembered that exaggerated requirements can lead to neurosis, and the idea of ​​the world around us as a place full of dangers will lead to the fact that a person will be afraid of life.

How can you help your child cope with anxiety?

If parents notice that a child is overly anxious, they should think about the underlying causes of this condition. It is possible that they convey to him their suspiciousness, their fears and fears. The desire to constantly protect him from the dangers in the future will lead to the fact that he will grow up suspicious and insecure.  

Overestimated expectations of parents are no less dangerous in education. If the child feels that he does not justify them, then gradually he develops a neurosis. After a series of failures, he begins to fear that something will not work out for him, that he is worse than the rest. So he gradually ceases to strive for success or becomes too dependent on the opinions of others.

Self-doubt often affects posture and physical appearance. Anxious children can be seen from the side: they stoop, pull their heads into their shoulders, they have a timid gait. Of course, the parents themselves do not set themselves the goal of raising an anxious child. They do it unconsciously. Perhaps they themselves are the children of anxious or authoritarian parents, or they don’t know how to find the right approach.

How parents can help their children become more self-confident:

  • make it clear that they love their children, regardless of their success or failure;
  • do not set too high demands and expectations;
  • praise children, celebrate their successes;
  • in no way insult or humiliate children;
  • not threaten with impossible punishments like threats to give to someone else’s uncle or exchange for a neighbor’s baby.

Psychologists use a wide variety of methods to work with anxious children. For example, they are asked to draw their fears and tell how the child is feeling, or to compose a fairy tale in which the hero experiences fears and overcomes them. Another interesting method was used when working with a girl who was afraid of public speaking – to imagine how the heroes of her favorite fairy tales would tell poems.

The technique “Seven-color flower”, applied in one of the kindergartens, also allows children to believe in themselves. Small photographs of children are placed in the center, and the petals are their achievements in a week. For example: “This is Vanya, he ate well, made a toy out of plasticine, always did exercises.” This method helps children believe in themselves and finds approval from their parents.

Fitness or yoga can also play a positive role in relieving fears . There are special techniques to help you get rid of muscle clamps. An excellent option would be joint classes for children and parents.  

If a person from preschool age learns to learn about the world in all its diversity, and adults help and encourage him, then he will grow up as a self-confident person who knows how to distinguish the really positive aspects of life from the negative ones. The person will not be haunted by the constant fear of failure and mistakes.

event_note December 1, 2020

account_box Winona Tse MD

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