Childhood anxiety can be rough, not just for the child in question but also for the whole family. Being a dismissive avoidant parent only makes anxiety worse; to help anxious children, you need to understand the causes and learn the best ways to help them cope.
What Causes Anxiety in Children?
Unfortunately, anxiety isn’t a straightforward disorder. While you can identify specific stressors that ignite anxious feelings, the underlying cause is a mixture of three factors: environment, biology and family.
Trauma is often a source of anxiety, as it can make children feel as though the world is unsafe. Unfortunately, there are many events that can cause trauma in children:
- Death in the family
- Prolonged illness
Some anxiety disorders have no traumatic trigger but are instead the result of genetics. If other family members have an anxiety disorder, it may be passed down to further generations, like many other mental illnesses.
Can strict parents cause anxiety? It turns out that family dynamics aren’t that straightforward when it comes to anxiety. Instead, children may develop anxiety if their home lives aren’t stable or if they’re subjected to a parental figure’s unmanaged anxiety.
What Are the Signs?
Children may not know that what they’re feeling is anxiety, especially if they’re very young. So it’s vital to teach children what signs to look for, which means you need to learn them yourself. You may also be able to pick up on warning signals and help your child avoid a full-on meltdown.
Emotional symptoms may not be obvious, so it’s essential you talk to your children if you think they have anxiety. By simply asking about their day, you can discover if they’ve experienced the following:
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Ongoing worries
Because anxiety triggers the fight-or-flight response, it comes with physical symptoms as the body prepares for confrontation. Be on the lookout for the following signs, as they indicate your child may be anxious:
- Increased heart rate
- Quick breathing
How Can You Help Your Anxious Child?
The good news is that coping techniques can help children manage their anxiety. As a parent, you’re in the perfect position to teach your child these techniques and find which works the best.
Model Healthy Coping
The most important thing you can do for your anxious children is to model healthy coping behaviors. Children learn from their parents, and if they see you giving in to anxious thoughts, they won’t know how to manage their own. So when confronted with stressors, try to remain calm and approach the situation with your toolkit of coping techniques.
Talk Through Hypotheticals
One of the best ways to help children confront anxiety is to talk through hypotheticals. What is the worst-case scenario? Help them imagine it and come up with a plan. In most cases, the worst-case scenario isn’t actually that bad.
Are you looking for non prescription meds for anxiety for your child? Certain supplements may help children better manage their anxiety. Coupled with cognitive-behavioral techniques, children can enjoy extracurricular activities, succeed in school and have fun with their peers, even with an anxiety disorder.