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Tap Away Your Child’s Anxiety

Does your child or children suffer with symptoms of Anxiety?

As a sufferer of anxiety as a young child myself and raising two teenage girls who have also experienced symptoms of Anxiety, I know the pressure this puts on you as a parent and your family as a whole.  Childhood anxiety has two sides to the coin, one side is your stress as a parent in dealing with your child’s anxiety symptoms and behaviour and the other side is supporting your child to cope with the anxious symptoms and feelings.

Recently, I have come to realise that not all parents are able to recognise the signs of anxiety because that has not been their experience growing up or in their adult lived experience.  Luckily for me and my girls because of my exposure to anxiety, I can recognise it in a second and felt called to educate parents on what to look for in their child and of course tips on how to cope with it as well.

Anxiety can come in many forms and the important thing here is to understand the distinction between a child just acting out and one who is suffering from anxiety and their behaviour is completely out of their hands and not something they are doing on purpose.

What can anxiety look like?

Perfectionism – a child needing everything to be perfect and in order
Fear of trying new things – this could be a new activity or simply a new food
Worrying about events in the future
Not wanting you as their parent to leave them
Needing to know what is going to happen and when it is going to happen – who is picking me up from school today?
Fear of Failure – For example: Tests and exams at school
Overthinking is a big sign of anxiety – if you notice your child just can’t stop thinking and worrying and analysing – their big questions will be what if this happens? what if that happens?
Sleeping problems

Now not all anxiety is bad, it is completely natural for your child to feel anxious when they are starting something new, meeting new people etc.  When anxiety becomes a problem is when it starts to affect both your child’s life and is causing you stress as their parent.

Anxiety happens when a part of your child’s brain called the ‘Amygdala’ senses a threat of some kind and sends a signal that your child is in some kind of danger and they need to protect themselves.  This is where the flight, fight or freeze response comes in, they show up in the following ways:

Flight – running away and hiding in the room or not wanting to attend something
Fight – may show up like tantrums or unusual outbursts
Freeze – they may just stop and not be able to move or tell you what is wrong

So, how can you help your child if you have recognised they are suffering from anxiety symptoms?  Following I am going to teach a quick technique so you can both help your child and reduce your stress all at the same time.

  1. Tapping – EFT or Tapping is a stress reduction technique and works to quiet that part of the brain that is sending the signal of danger.  It is a very quick and effective technique that is self-applied using acupressure points on your upper body.

 

 

If you would like to learn more about this wonderful quick and effective technique, I am running a Stress Management Workshop for Parents and one of the modules is on Childhood Anxiety.  Click here to book your spot.

 

Childhood Anxiety

The Signs And Symptoms Of Childhood Anxiety

I had an interesting experience this past week, I was attending an awards ceremony for my youngest daughter, Grace aged 13.  As always the ceremony starts with the Principal Address, he usually talks about the achievements of the kids and how proud he is of all they have achieved for Term 1.

However, this time he started out with what he wanted to achieve and that was 93% attendance record, the school was currently sitting at 87%.  In my mind I was thinking for such a big school that is a pretty good record, it was then that he really grabbed my attention, he used a buzz word “Anxiety” and stated it as the main reason for kids not attending school.

My ears did prick up because I had my business brain on, thinking YES I can help support parents and kids with this.  Well I sure didn’t see or expect what was to come next, his solution to a child’s anxiety left me feeling very dismayed.  He made a suggestion to the kids that all they need to do is become more organised and arrive at school early, so then they are not rushing around and will be the first in class, feeling safe and ready for the day.

What do you think about this approach?  Would this work for your child?

Now there are definitely different levels and types of anxiety and I certainly understand what he was saying in regards to how the kids feel when they are running late and rushed to get to class on time.  But is that really in the child’s complete control, I know for my kids, and I will be honest if they are late it is usually my fault.

This experience really got me thinking and wondered how many people are there that really don’t understand anxiety and what role are they playing in our child’s life and how are they contributing to the wellbeing of each of our children.   Now I know for me I recognise anxiety instantly, 1. I have personal experience 2. I am a trained professional and this led me to today’s blog and wanting to share how you can recognise anxiety in your child.

As I mentioned earlier there are different types of Anxiety, for example some of the common types I see with my clients are: Separation Anxiety, Generalised Anxiety and Situational Anxiety.

  • Separation Anxiety is as the name describes and is more common in younger children, but can also be seen in older children as well just depending on what the child has experienced and is currently coping with.
  • Generalised Anxiety is used to describe anxiety that doesn’t pertain to one certain event, experience or time.  You may have described your child as “An anxious child”.
  • Situational Anxiety is used to describe anxiety that pertains to a certain event or experience, such as tests or exams.  I see this in both younger and older children, for example younger children surrounding doctor or dentist visits and older kids exams at school.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of anxiety, let’s look at some of the signs and symptoms to look for in your child.

  • Complaining of stomach pains and no other signs of illness
  • Sweaty palms
  • Withdrawn behaviour, not wanting to participate in activities they would of in the past
  • Talking about all the bad things that may happen (classic anxious behaviour)
  • Crying and hiding behind you (specific to younger children with separation anxiety)
  • Not wanting to go to school and no real reason that you can determine
  • Lashing out at their siblings for reasons that in the past may not have bothered them
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Grades at school lowering compared to previous reports

These are just a few of the signs and symptoms that your child may exhibit when they are feeling anxious.  Can you recognise any that you have seen in your child?

I know how distressing it can be dealing with anxiety in your children, I am a mum to two teenage girls who both suffer from anxiety.  Having the tools and strategies you need as a parent can really help to lower this feeling of dis-empowerment and distress and I find an individual approach is best.

If you are needing support and guidance to help with your anxious child, I offer in-house counselling in person and online.  Book your session here.

Anxiety

The Voice of your Anxiety

Anxiety is very prevalent in today’s society, from kids right through to elderly adults.  Different times of life can bring on more anxiety than others and is very good at stealing away your joy and happiness.

Anxiety can be a very good teacher, letting you know when there is something wrong and guiding you to make changes.  It may be the path you are heading down is not the best one for you or that past experiences need healing and it is using physical symptoms to gain your attention.

Have you ever noticed in the past, that your anxiety stopped you from doing something, that turned out to be in your best interest?

I started suffering from anxiety at a very young age and it was at its worst when I left school at age 17, when panic attacks started.  I continued to suffer from these panic attacks for 10 years, every time I would take a leap of faith and commence a new job the panic attacks would put a stop to it.

At the time it was not as well known or recognised as it is today, so I felt there was something wrong with me and my poor parents had no idea what to do for me.  As I look back on it now, my anxiety and panic attacks were always trying to tell me something, either it was the wrong job for me or there was healing needed on past experiences.

I can happily say that I haven’t suffered from any panic attacks for over 8 years since I started to listen to my symptoms instead of running away from them.  Below I am going to share with you ways in which you can do the same.

 

Break-Free from your Anxiety by giving it a voice

Have a dedicated notebook and call it “The voice of my Anxiety”, when you are feeling anxious use this notebook to write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What are you trying to tell me?
  • What do I need to know right now?
  • Should I continue with this path or action?
  • How can I reduce my feelings of anxiety?

Using these important questions as you are experiencing symptoms can help to give your anxiety a voice and allowing you to start to gain an understanding of the purpose of it.

As you start to gain this important information you then have a great opportunity to start to heal the experiences that have caused your anxiety to cement itself in your life.

EFT/Tapping is a wonderful modality to allow you to release and heal past experiences where your symptoms are stemming from, to learn more click here.