Children who suffer from anxiety can experience nervousness, fear and sadness. Dr. Katherine Wilson, marriage and family counselor at the Women’s Clinic of Monroe, says talking with your child about their feelings could be the best way to help them if they’re suffering from anxiety.
On information parents and youth need to know about anxiety
Everyone is susceptible to feeling anxiety and some form of stress. It’s a normal healthy reaction that protects us in some way, but at some point it becomes problematic.
Different forces of anxiety can be from changing schools, new friends, joining a new club, expectations from teachers and coaches can produce anxiety. That anxiety helps us stay on guard and get prepared, but at other times, things can cause anxiety that can somewhat paralyze us or impact our decision making that can lead to different symptoms such as elevated heartrate, sweating, stumbling over words, avoidance and withdrawal.
Anxiety is healthy, but it’s important to recognize and address it when it becomes problematic.
On how to start the conversation about anxiety with your child
I would say it’s not necessarily sitting down with your kids and having a specific talk about anxiety, but just daily interaction with your children where you’re asking questions and getting an understanding about their day, thoughts, feelings and experiences. Questions about how they feel and what they think about certain things. You’ll get some cues about what’s going great, what’s not going great and what are some concerns.
If you start noticing some hesitation or repeating of a topic with feelings that are negative, ask more about that. Asking more can help you better understand. It’s going to help them feel more secure, more connected and that you’re invested.
On the next step to take if your child is experiencing anxiety
Parents can do a couple of things. They can demonstrate some love and affection to their children to let them know they’re there for them and that they’re curious, that invested and have your child explain what it’s like for them. Just maybe talking through and feeling heard and feeling secure with parents can be something children can do right off the bat.