Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Children with Anxiety

Whether your child is at home with you or at school all day, or even living with another parent, you may notice that he or she exhibits some symptoms of anxiety. After living a life trying to avoid anxiety, God blessed me with my own anxious child. I have worked very hard to help teach him how to deal with stress or how to cope without knowing what's going to happen next, and I think I've done a pretty good job. I sure wish I had some help with this early on! Some symptoms of child anxiety include:
  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.
  • Being nervous, jittery, and hypersensitive.
  • Decreased school performance or a lack of concentration.
  • Avoidance of social activities or not wanting to spend as much time with friends.
  • Tics, nervous habits, or compulsive behavior such as nail biting or hair pulling.
  • Dangerous behavior such as cutting or drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Excessive moodiness or outbursts of anger.
  • Persistent worry that seems unjustified for the situation.
  • Sleep changes or activity level changes.
  • School avoidance or refusal.
  • Being unusually or overly self-critical.
  • A high need for reassurance.
  • Outbursts of anger or oppositional behavior, even though you know in your heart they’re a good kid, they just have all this anxious energy coming out all wrong.
My child had a lot of anxiety whenever he was going to something new. A new Sunday school class, a new activity, a new sport, or meeting new people...he always had to know how everything would go before he got there. Since often I had no idea, I went with him for the first few visits until he felt comfortable with the people there. I never stopped taking him to things or signing up for things. By the time he was six, he trusted that I would not bring him somewhere that would cause any problems for him, and his anxiety diminished. There are a LOT of other things that cause anxiety in children and sometimes the solution isn't so easy. The reason this subject has come up for me again is that there is a little girl in my life who was put on an anti-depressant for migraine headaches. She has a diagnosed anxiety disorder, which is likely where the headaches are coming from. But she started the medication at age seven, and the medication is known to help bi-polar disorder with a "side effect" of helping with migraine headaches. This concerns me. The child has still not been given any means of dealing with her anxiety, and now she is drugged. It makes me very sad. If I were starting over with my anxious child, I would check out this program. It is a much better idea than spending hundreds of dollars on ineffective counseling or drugs. Not only does it help with the core problem, the anxiety, but it also provides tools for the parent in how to deal with the anxiety. Most parents, unless they suffered from an anxiety disorder themselves, do not know how to recognize anxiety in their children or how to help them with it. But if you do recognize it, and don't know what to do...now you do. Check it out!

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