Anxiety In Children And How To Help Your Anxious Child

Anxiety and mental health conditions amongst young children has been on the increase as more and more young children are struggling with the changes in the way we live and the pressures of growing up.

A young child's future and life depends on how our children are being taught and the way they learn, behave and handle their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

According to a recent UK study nearly one in four young woman suffer with a mental health disorder.

Approximately, 4.4 million children aged between 3 and 17  have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder

Other studies conducted, estimated that about one in four children suffer with depression and general anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is classed as the biggest causes of mental health and depression and over half of all adults who go on to suffer with a lifetime of mental health conditions.

Anxiety in children can start in their early childhood and in many cases their mental health conditions have been formed by the time they reach their mid-teen years.

A young child who is left to suffers alone - who gets hooked up in the worry and anxiety loop and trap.

Will carry on suffering because they do not understand what's going on or they have not been taught how to process and manage their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

This can leave a young child feeling as if there is something wrong with them, leaving them to suffer and struggle through there day to day life in silence.

Anxiety in young children will lead to anxiety and low confidence in their adult years, which can hamper their learning abilities and development.

A very young child depends on their parents to help comfort them when they are upset, scared or they hurt themselves. 

They are also taught to rely on their parents, teachers and others to educate them and direct them in life.

Then all of a sudden they find themselves alone and having to cope with the pressures of life and having to transform and adjust into the adult world.

Promoting good mental, physical and wellbeing in children

Babies are only born with two fears;

  1. The fear of falling/heights
  2. The fear of loud noises

Young children are also born with good levels of self-esteem, self-belief and self-confidence.

A young children do not doubt, self-destruct or self-sabotage themselves nor do they question their ability to learn, grow and overcome challenges.

This means that all their other fears and worries are created though learned behaviors or secondary learned behaviors.

All parents want to naturally protect and learn their children right from wrong and it is important to keep your children safe.

Because young children need to be protected and they need know and learn about any genuine risks and potential dangers.

it is how you go about telling them, which can make all the difference. Because ideally, you want to educate them, but not scare and frighten them. 

Young children are very impressionable so it is important not to implant and project catastrophic or fearful messages into their minds.

It is also extremely important to educate them and promote good mental health, self-awareness and emotional well being.

Making sure that they eat a healthy and wellbalanced diet is essential for good health and wellbeing.

So they can build strong mental resilience and a health level of self-esteem, understanding and strength that will last them throughout their entire lifetime.

How do you help a child with anxiety?

You could say, how can children help teach adults how to live fearlessly?

Because, ironically, the best way to live is to be like a very young child. Because they have no cares or expectations in the world.

Young children's only goal is to have fun and they naturally know how to express themselves and live fearlessly.

Young children completely accept themselves and what is happening without questioning or judgment.

They are trusting that everything will workout fine for them and they know that there is nothing that can stop them from achieving their goals and learning.

A young child's brain does not understand how to future tense, they just live fearlessly in the moment and they only focus on having fun in the moment.

This leaves them free to enjoy and only focus on the moment, without worrying about the future and that's the way they should be throughout their lives.

What causes children to feel anxious?

There will be a underlying reason why your child may feel anxious and there are many reasons why a child can start to feel anxious, which can include:.

  • Things that they watch or hear can make a child anxious
  • Too much pressure or expectations from their parents
  • Dominant, critical and strict parents, brothers, teachers and peers
  • Bullying or verbal abuse or negative suggestions from others
  • Feeling that they are inadequate or inferior to others
  • Negative experiences and associations
  • Body conscious issues
  • Belief that they have a mental or physical inability to compete or mix with other children

They might have a bad or negative experience that can turn into a bad memory and learned behavior which can make them be scared of the same or a similar thing from happening again.

As young children become more self aware they can start to unfavourably compare themselves to others, which can leave the feeling that they are inadequate or inferior.

They can start to develop performance anxiety, especially as they start school.

This can happen if a young child gets laughed at or they are made to feel embarrassed, scared or humiliated in front of others.

Young children will also pick up and inherit the fears, worries and concerns of their parents, their conditioning and others and a young baby and child will respond to their parents moods and anxieties.

If you are overly dominant towards your children, then this can destroy their self esteem and self worth and self respect.

Try not to devalue your kids or make them feel worthless or not good enough.

When a parents is frustrated, tired and stressed, in the heat of the moment it is easy for the parents to lash out and say hurtful and damaging suggestions to their children.

Avoid telling them things like they will never amount to much or they are worthless or irresponsible other wise, that's what they will become.

Some parents will criticize their kids for having a different opinion to theirs and I have even read stories where the children have been brought down for doing well.

If you're constantly nagging, criticising and putting your children down or if they feel that they can do nothing right or they can't please you, as this can damage them.

Although you sometimes may have to discipline naughty kids you also have to love them, help them, praise them and respect them.

Anxious kids may be timid, quiet, introverted, moody and withdrawn and unresponsive, whilst others may scream a lot or be aggressive and angry. 

There are some signs that will give aways if your child is experiencing and expressing their anxiety.

  • They may cry a lot
  • Young children may be very clingy and quiet
  • They may display physical movements or tics, like rocking back and forth, twitching and fidgeting or bumping their legs

They may also have trouble mixing with other children and they may spend a lot of time alone by themselves or they might lock themselves away in their room.

But sometimes they might not always show the signs that they are anxious and insecure.

It is important to observe your kids and listen to and talk to your children, try to acknowledge everything that they say, so they don't feel neglected or ignored.

Parents who worry a lot or those who are perhaps a little bit, to overprotective can pass their fears and anxieties to their children.

This can leave them feeling insecure, anxious, timid and to afraid to express themselves.

Young children should always be encouraged to express themselves, to stand up for themselves and to take on new challenges.

Young children are also very impressionable and they believe everything that you tell them, even if you are only saying it in jest.

Using a affirmative, negative and critical descriptive words, especially when  they're said in harsh, strict or dominant tone of voice can make a negative impression on your child that can last and impact them for a lifetime.

If you are critical and you use negative words like:

  • You're stupid/thick
  • You're not clever/smart enough
  • You're never going to
  • What's wrong with you
  • Why can't you

Then your children will buy into these negative beliefs and they will grow up thinking that they're not good enough or smart enough, which is simply not true.

Children who feel that they are neglected, unloved and not wanted, tend to suffer more with mental health conditions.

Try and be calm, happy and confident in the presence of your children as this can install calm, happiness and confidence into your children.

It is also important to try and make sure that your kids are not eating, drinking or engaging in too many activities that overstimulate them, such as:.

  • Video gaming
  • Caffeine
  • Junk food
Teaching your children how to manage and process their feelings and emotions

Fear, worry and anxiety, when left untreated will destroy your children's self confidence and prevent them from being themselves and do the things they want or need to do.

If you want your child to get on in life and live a happy and fulfilling life, where they are successful in love, in life and in their careers.

Then it is absolutely essential and your number one priority to help them to manage and process their feelings and emotions.

Children need to know that it is OK and perfectly normal for them to have fearful thoughts and uncomfortable feelings.

They also need to know that fear, worry and anxiety can not stop them from doing all the things that they want or need to do.

Like adults children and teenagers want to be free of their uncomfortable feelings that are associated with anxiety as well as their obsessive thoughts and worries.

Children do not know or understand why they worry or feel anxious and they don't know what to do to get rid of it, which can cause them years of stress, worry and anxiety.

First of all, it is important to try and teach your children to understand and differentiate between, what is really a genuine threat and danger and what isn't.

You don't want your children to ignore anything that can genuinely harm them but equally you don't want them to worry and feel anxious about things that really pose no real threat, such as:

  • Performing
  • Speaking up in front of the class and asking questions
  • Being made the center of attention
  • Showing themselves up 
  • Mixing with other children
  • Talking to the opposite sex
  • Taking on new challenges
  • Taking their exams

Most of children's fear, worries and anxieties are associated with things that are not a real threat or risk.

A good place to start is to tell your children, that it is OK to feel anxious and it is OK to have worry or fearful thoughts and there is nothing at all wrong with them.

If they start to feel anxious or worried and they are experiencing anxious thoughts and feelings.

Let them know that they should allow themselves to feel uncomfortable and they do not need to know why they are feeling anxious.

Why teach them this?

Anxiety and worry never stays at a high level for very long, as long as you do not try and resist it, control it, suppress it or attempt to get rid of it.

When you start to move towards the things and situations that make you feel uncomfortable and you remain put.

Instead of them wanting to avoid it, leave or play it safe.

Teach your children to allow themselves to fully experience those anxious thoughts and feelings, and if they do this then the anxiety will start to dissipate.

If you can get your children to accept a bit of anxiety and discomfort and you can encourage to still do the things that they want to do, even if it makes them feel a bit uncomfortable.

And you can teach them to stay put, accept and allow themselves to feel anxious and uncomfortable, without wanting to avoid the situation or flee from it.

Then you will have taught them a very powerful tool that will help them to grow stronger, more resilient and more confident.

Because when they can accept and handle a bit of discomfort, then they will cease resisting it and fighting it, putting them in control instead of allowing their anxiety to control and rule them for the rest of their lives.

Once they have learned how to accept and be OK with feeling of discomfort, then they will no longer be fighting it.

Tell them, that when they fight their feelings or they choose to avoid or leave the situation that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Then they will be telling their minds that they cannot cope or handle with the challenging situation and they will be training their brains to associate the situation with something bad will happen.

When they choose to take the easy way out they will never overcome their anxiety, grow or move passed it.

The main thing that they need to understand is.

They have not got to feel scared of their thoughts and feelings neither have they got to do to anything to try and get rid of it, accept.

  • Accept it
  • Feel it
  • Allow it to happen
  • Stay put, leave it alone and let their mind and body calm down by itself

You can also tell them to replace feelings of anxiety with positive feelings and words, like:

  • I feel excited
  • I want to feel anxious
  • I am happy to feel uncomfortable, it helps me grow and become stronger
Using powerful and positive words

If you program your child with powerful, positive and descriptive words then they will have a far better chance of growing up confident, happy and more successful teenagers and adults.

Children and adults live their lives by the words that they tell themselves and the pictures that they create in their minds.

Positive descriptive words will empower them tremendously, make them feel good and help them to live a happier, better and more successful life.

Negative words are self destructive and they will disempower them and diminish them.

Be careful not to use negative words like:

  • Not 
  • Never
  • Can't
  • Don't

Instead use powerful, descriptive positive - emotional words such as:

  • Awesome
  • Amazing
  • Attractive
  • Beautiful
  • Tremendous
  • Phenomenal
  • Fantastic
  • Terrific
  • Tremendous
  • Super
  • Special
  • Enormous
  • Exceptional
  • Courageous 
  • Great

When it is appropriate, tell your young children things like: 

  • You are an awesome reader/writer or whatever else they do
  • You are tremendously talented and skillful
  • You are amazing, unique and special
  • You have a tremendous ability to learn
  • You are exceptionally gifted
  • You are great at doing .......

Just use powerfully positive descriptive words to encourage them, lift them up when they're struggling and to make them feel good about themselves.

Try and also encourage them to use positive and powerful words to describe themselves.

Tell them how clever, amazing and smart they are. Get them into the habit of practising being

  • Grateful
  • Appreciative
  • Thankful

If they fail their exams or they get things wrong or they make a mistake. Let them know that it is not the end of the world and they can always have another go.

Teach your children how to problem solve

It is extremely important to encourage your children to problem solve.

Try and talk with them and encourage them to discuss and talk to you about their worries and anxieties.

To begin with, sit down and talk to them and work with them to try and find a solution to their problems and worries.

It can help your child to write down their problems and how they feel about them.

Help them to research or just ask their minds to come up with a solution or lead them to the best available solution.

Educate them to always focus on finding a solution instead of worrying about their problem all the time.

When you talk to your children, try to create a relaxed, trusting and caring atmosphere.

Try not to come across in a strong, affirmative and harsh tone or a kind of detective and parent to child advice giving session.

When you approach a child in a relaxed, soft and loving tone and attitude, they are more likely to open up and express themselves better.

Reassure them that everything will workout fine and you'll figure things out and things will get better.

The importance of physical activities and getting outdoors

These days children are spending more time being stationary on digital devices, especially the likes of video gaming where they are being bombarded by graphic action pact images.

Thesecan produce a stress response where they are pumping their body full of adrenaline, which activates the physical symptoms of stress and because they are sitting down relatively still, they are not burning off all that access energy.

Because our children's lifestyles are changing they are not getting outdoors as much as they used to and they are not spending as much time engaging in activities and sports that give them exercise.

Children are not taught about how their thoughts, emotions and physical body are all linked together and they are not shown or helped on how to manage their emotions or how to problem solve. 

Another contributor to the rise in child and adult anxiety and other emotional issues may be down to not eating enough healthy, good nutritious foods as more and more children seem to be having too much high sugary snacks, drinks and junk foods. 

Although you cannot deprive them of having a few treats it can help to give them a varied but healthy balanced diet. 

Any form of stimulants like too much caffeine, sugar, a lack of leisure activities, spending to much time li video gaming can increase their stress and anxiety levels.

It can pay to encourage your children to ask questions and do some research when they have a difficulty to overcome rather than you doing all the research for them.

Many adults are now realizing the importance of reducing their stress and finding time to relax with things like hypnosis and meditation. 

But it is equally important to teach your children ways to relax so they can help to reduce their own anxiety, worry and stress.

Reset your priorities  

You may have to reset your priorities as regards to your children, yes, it is important they learn and do well at school, but they can only do their best and it's not the end of the world if they don't excel to the standards you would like.

If your child feels pressurized to do well in their exams then this can cause them to worry too much about failing. 

The stress of disappointing their parents can lead them to feel anxious about not getting the high grades they are expected to get. 

Far too many children are suffering with stress because of the pressures being heaped upon them to pass their exams with high grades. Children do not need all this pressure and long term stress leads to anxiety and depression. 

The ironic thing is, when they are coming from a negative state they won't be at their peak performance best so it is too every bodies advantage to remain happy, optimistic but relaxed so therefore try and make their school work and learning enjoyable and fun.

This does not mean their exams and study are not important, but if you want your children to perform well then the best thing you can do for them is to keep them feeling relaxed and happy because when they are at ease and relaxed.

  •  They will perform better 
  •  They will absorb information better
  •  Their focus and concentration levels will increase 
  •  They will be more creative 
  •  They will have a better memory and recall 
  •  Increased intelligence

This means they will have a better chance of passing their exams and excelling at school if they are in the zone and free of the burdens of stress and anxiety. You will need to give them plenty of support and encouragement, but avoid heaping any unnecessary pressure on them. 

Encourage them to study but also make sure they are happy, content and having plenty of fun as well.

Try to avoid constant nagging, unnecessary shouting and criticizing your child all the time, each child is different and some can be more sensitive than others and it is important to bear in mind that children don't know how to deal with pressure, anxiety and stress.

Their moods, can be a telltale symptom of anxiety

Anxious children may have mood swings, they will tend to be the pessimistic type where nothing seems achievable or possible to them, because of their poor self esteem they can think that they cannot do certain things. 

If your child has a lot of underlying stress, a negative mindset, insecurities or worries then this can manifest itself, into the development of many fears and phobia's.

Children with anxiety may get angry a lot, they may come across as having a bad attitude and appear agitated all the time, you may find that they often get mad or take things out on their parents or be nasty to them, or they may go the other way where they seem to cry a lot. 

A anxious child can appear to be a perfectionist and they may seek approval from others all the time, they will often come across as introverted and shy. 

If they do appear to be shy and introvert then they will need extra attention, help and guidance to build their self esteem and confidence and the first step to achieving this is to help them deal with their anxiety and fears.

There might be a trigger behind their anxiety and worries, this can be because they are not happy with their body or their looks, this is why it is important to teach your child how to accept themselves. 

If they have been abused, bullied, neglected or picked on at school or emotionally bullied then this can lead to them suffering with anxiety, low self esteem and emotional issues. 

Other symptoms of anxiety in children 
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Moodiness and short tempered
  • They focus more on the negative 
  • Temporary poor short term memory 
  • Anxious and worry based thoughts 
  • Low self esteem and confidence 
  • Depression and general unhappiness 
  • Skin conditions and spots 
  • Nervous habits and even drug or alcohol abuse
  • Become isolated and withdrawn
Turnaround The Completely Unique Approach For Treating Children's Anxiety

Turnaround, is a clinically developed in-home audio treatment program that helps children overcome anxiety. 

Turnaround is based on the most effective treatment for child anxiety (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). The audio programs have been specifically designed for children.

The ideal part of this program is first it is an effective therapy to help children overcome their fears and anxiety, but the key thing is its format, children are seldom interested in any form of self help, but the makers of this program have put it together in a therapeutic but fun story.

Turnaround invites a listening child to join six other anxious children on an imaginary 10-day camping adventure filled with fun characters, mentors, obstacles, laughter, and music that leads a child step-by-step through a powerful treatment plan.  

The program speaks directly to children. 

The difference between this program and many conventional children's self-help teachings which is available current online such as children’s books and eBooks is most rely on the parent to do all the actual teaching and they just give you the information to follow leaving you to implement all the techniques which can be complex.  

Turnaround, is completely different. Parents can listen along if they choose, but it is targeted for a child listener. It is most effective for children ages 6-12.

Kids tell us how much they love the characters and the entertaining stories. 

They are personally invested in the story and treatment. It's a format that's truly unique and highly effective! These programs are just like everyday fun activities which children love.    

Turnaround, was written and produced by a practicing psychologist and a professional counselor. They has over 30 years of clinical experience between them. 

They are trained therapists who have successfully treated children and adults with anxiety disorders of all kinds. Turnaround has been professionally developed from top to bottom.

They have an impressive pedigree, the content was developed over a two-year period by professional therapists; the layout designed by an art director whose done work for Disney and Warner Bros studios and who won an award for his work on Turnaround. 

The illustrations were drawn by a nationally recognized children's illustrator and the sound production mastered by a true professional who's used extensively by PBS. 

This program was specifically designed to hold your child's attention so that they could learn the valuable information needed to conquer their fears. It is visually appealing, highly entertaining, and truly effective in treating child anxiety.

 

Turnaround

 

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