Is Your Child’s Anxiety Making You Anxious?

Parenting an anxious child can cause great anxiety for parents! Keep in mind that your child’s anxiety is NOT a reflection of your parenting. But an anxious child can add additional stress to the day-to-day life of a family.

Anxiety is a normal part of childhood and every child will probably go through a phase of mild to moderate anxiety. But when a child’s anxiety causes him or her to avoid places and activities, then it is time to offer assistance to overcome this challenge.

For example: Your child watches a scary movie. A child may experience temporary fear and anxiety causing trouble with falling asleep that night. But, he or she can be comforted that evening and the movie will be mostly forgotten the next day. In contrast, a child who struggles with anxiety will have great difficulty getting past the fear that evening, and will still have sleep issues for many nights, or even weeks, subsequently.

A 2012 study of 200 kindergartners by researchers at the University of British Columbia revealed that a two question test was 85% effective to identify “moderate to severe” anxiety in children. The two questions were:

  1. Is your chid more shy/anxious than other children his or her age?
  2. Is your child more worried than other children his or her age?

A “yes” response to either question resulted in an 85% degree of predictability that the child will go on to struggle with anxiety in their elementary school years. The anxiety most likely will present itself in frequent stomachaches, sleep issues, refusal to go to birthday parties and an unwillingness to go on field trips.

The downside to labeling a child as “anxious” is that parents tend to become over-protective. The child’s anxiety becomes a reason for withdrawing from school activities and social events – which in turn can make the anxiety even more deep-seated.

The upside to early identification is that parents can learn strategies to help reduce their child’s anxiety. One such strategy is positive self-talk. So instead of telling your child that, “We are just a family of worriers,” you can teach your child to internalize positive affirmations such as, “I can be brave and confident no matter what!”

If you would like to learn more strategies to help your child to reduce his or level of anxiety,  I am here to help! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                     Jeri