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?
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.
- 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.