Increased anxiety in children: causes and help

When children have a high level of anxiety – they are worried that something bad will happen to them or loved ones, they cannot communicate freely and relaxed with their peers, suffer from fears – this affects the health of their psyche and behavior. This article contains useful answers to parents’ questions: why does the child’s level of internal anxiety increase? Why do some children grow up anxious while others grow up reckless? What are some ways you can reduce childhood anxiety?  

The role of emotions in children’s lives

Anxiety is an area of ​​the child’s emotional sphere. With the help of feelings, children at any age perceive the surrounding reality, form ways of response. When they show their feelings in behavior, the mother and father, observing this, understand that the child is experiencing – angry or angry, feels joy or thoughtfulness.  

Emotions play an important role in a child’s life at a time when a verbal way of communication is not yet available to him – this happens in infancy. As children grow up, their emotional world becomes deeper and more diverse, emotions acquire shades, and new ways of expressing feelings appear in their behavior. The younger the children, the more difficult it is for them to control their emotions. At preschool age, the child begins to learn this skill – he can hide tears, “swallow” resentment. However, the feelings he experiences are “read” on his face, in gestures, posture. 

What do anxious children look like ?

A small child will not say that he is worried. Given his age, only an external manifestation of the emotional state is available to him. Increased anxiety is characterized by the following symptoms :

  • children are often depressed ;
  • bad mood prevails ;
  • the child feels and behaves confused;
  • sad expression face ;
  • raised shoulders , lowered head ;
  • frequent tearfulness ;
  • resentment ;
  • lack of interest in activities that arouse curiosity and joy among peers.

This is how children look, whose degree of anxiety is increased. What happens to the child at this time on an emotional level? He lives, constantly thinking that something bad can happen to him or to loved ones – for example, someone will get sick or die, his mother or father will leave him, one of the parents will leave the family, disappear from life. Such thoughts cause changes in the child’s personality. Children become unsure of themselves, their self-esteem decreases. Increasingly, when they take up an activity, they stop – anxious thoughts prevent them from being active. “What if I fail?” – the child thinks and gives up what he has started. The reason for this behavior is increased anxiety .

Anxious children do not know how to take initiative, being a leader is not for them. They sincerely believe that other guys can achieve success and recognition from the outside, but not them. Feelings of fear take a large place in their lives. They are afraid of their own activity, possible mistakes, judgment and evaluation from the outside.

Why do children grow up anxious?

One of the reasons is increased, innate sensitivity in a child. These are individual characteristics that can be inherent in any children, regardless of the conditions of their residence and upbringing. “Since childhood, he is very impressionable, he takes everything to heart,” parents say about such children, realizing that they, too, sometimes have an increased level of anxiety.

Such congenital features can be the norm for development and do not interfere with the formation of mental processes in the child, if the mother and father are able to support him in time and reduce the level of anxiety. How can they do this? With the help of soothing words, the ability to suggest a solution to a problem, cheer, help distinguish fantasy from reality.

It is more difficult for a child to cope with his own anxiety if it appeared as a result of improper upbringing. In some cases this happens ?

  • Excessive parental guardianship. When adults all the time say “No,” “Move away,” “Don’t touch,” “It’s dangerous,” “It will hurt you,” “Let me do it myself,” the child begins to understand that the world around him and everything that associated with him, poses a real threat to his health and even life. In order not to raise anxious children, they need to be allowed to satisfy their curiosity, while being near, to prevent the occurrence of possible danger.
  • Authoritarian position on the part of the mother and father in the family. It manifests itself in the form of prohibitions, strict restrictions, lack of empathy towards the child. Children in such cases cannot express their feelings, because adults do not allow them to do so. Parents want the child to always be obedient, docile and agree with the elders in everything. If he behaves in the opposite way, they punish him, criticize him, condemn him. Then, in order to gain acceptance and praise, children try to please mother and father – thus, suppressing their own emotions, they become anxious.  
  • Anger and irritation from the parents. If you often “drain” negative feelings on children, soon, this will create a fertile ground for the development of internal anxiety. Children, faced with such feelings of adults, begin to think badly of themselves – that they are unworthy, worse than others, stupid, incapable. All these internal sensations, also, form in them increased anxiety.

How can a mother and father help a child?

Children, like a sponge, absorb everything their parents feel and do. Therefore, if adults understand that their level of anxiety is high, then before treating a child, you need to deal with your feelings. Children, like a mirror, are able to reflect the inner world of mother and father. If adults work on themselves, develop inner harmony, solve problems in interpersonal relationships, establish communication with each other, then they become more cheerful and happy. Children see and feel this, and then, gradually, the level of anxiety decreases – they no longer need to worry about the fact that mom and dad will not be together, or stop loving him.

The mother and father must make it clear to the child that he can and has the right to make mistakes. Anxious children are prone to perfectionism and, often, do not allow themselves to be active because of the fear of doing something wrong. It is helpful to convey to them that it is okay to be imperfect. A child should know that if something does not work out for him the first time, this does not characterize him as a person. He may try to do something as many times as necessary until he achieves the desired result.

The level of anxiety in children decreases if they are brought up in conditions of an easy attitude to life, their inner fears are worked out and have no basis, they do not have to live in such conditions when they do not know what will happen tomorrow.

It is up to parents to create such conditions for children. If they understand that they do not have enough resources to do this, they should seek help from a child or family psychologist – he will conduct the necessary diagnostic tests and corrective classes with the child, which will help him get rid of increased anxiety.

event_note December 9, 2020

account_box Winona Tse MD

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