“Make them strong and competent to deal with their fears”
Anxiety is common and found in every individual. Whenever the students go and write their exams, they become anxious to face any kind of problem. The English dictionary describes anxiety as “an unpleasant state of mental uneasiness, nervousness, apprehension, and obsession or concern about some uncertain event.” And when this feeling of unease turns into extreme, then is termed as an “Anxiety Disorder.”
Anxiety disorder is a type of fear and worry which is not just temporary. The English dictionary then defines it as “a disorder characterized by excessive anxiety.” Meaning, when there are extreme worry and fear which is affecting a person’s daily activities like behaviour, mood, diet, sleep, work of school or job, relationships, and other activities, then it is identified that the person is having an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder can affect a person of any age. This article is going to focus on how to help kids with anxiety and anxiety disorders.
When it comes to helping kids with anxiety. First, we have to understand its types, causes, and symptoms.
Kinds of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are of several types:
Generalized anxiety disorder: This causes the child to worry over a lot of things every day. Among kids, it may be about homework or test.
Symptoms: The child may not be able to concentrate on studies, mostly get irritated over little things, have trouble sleeping.
Separation anxiety disorder: This causes the child the fear of being taken apart from the person whom they love the most like their parents. They fear that something will happen to them or to the person they love the most.
Symptoms: They cling to the person they love and not wanting to play or do any activity without their parents whom they love and feel anxious when they are away from home, have nightmares of being separated from the person. They are always in a sad mood.
Phobias: Social anxiety disorder in which the kid worries about what other people will say or think. They worry that if they will do or say something they will get embarrassed or others will make fun of them.
Another type of phobia is selective mutism in which the kid is afraid to talk to other people except for their family members or close ones.
They usually keep quiet and not talk to anyone in school or parks.
There are certain other phobias too in which a child is afraid to take flights; some have a phobia of the dark, animals, etc.
Symptoms: They avoid social environment, don’t talk with others at all.
Panic disorder: The kid experience extreme fear unexpectedly or because of objects and other situations that they fear.
Symptoms: Acing out of control, sweating, shaking, accelerated heartbeat, shortness of breath, choking.
Causes of anxiety disorder
Various reasons lead to anxiety disorders:
Stress: Stressing over a lot of things and about what will happen next or what will happen in the future or what will happen if I do this or I say this.
Another factor is genetics: If any member of the family has an anxiety disorder then it is more likely that the child will have anxiety too.
Environmental factors: Environmental conditions or life circumstances like loss or death of loved ones, abuse, violence leads to anxiety.
Family outlook to problems: If a child sees their family member worrying and fearing in situations then they also develop the same behaviour about fearing over situations or things.
Lack of self-confidence, self-love and regarding themselves as not worthy is also one of the main reason for anxiety.
Treatment and anxiety relief for kids
Treatment for anxiety disorder includes Therapy which consists counselling of the child and their family members known as Cognitive behavioural therapy. This therapy helps the patient to build self-confidence and self-love and helps in overcoming their fear and worries. And helps family members to know and adopt the behaviours which will help the child to deal with their fears.
Dealing with a child with anxiety:
Dealing with a child with anxiety can be very difficult for you as parents as the child becomes restless due to loss of interest in activities. They also don’t want to socialize much in this case. They will eat less, sleep less and worry more. Also, the child gets irritated too often or will not want to be away from you. And if symptoms are not recognized then you may think that the child is misbehaving. Thus, do not neglect the symptoms and when recognized take help.
Also Read | Inferiority Complex in Kids
How to help a child with anxiety?
Communicate: Make sure you communicate with your child regularly and try to know how they are feeling. When they return from school you could talk to them about their day asking “how was your day,” “how did you felt today in school.” Always focus on “how and then why” when you ask a question.
Food: Take care of their diet. Children facing anxiety disorder do not eat much. Make sure to keep their diet healthy which includes fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure that they eat three meals in a day that is, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sleep: Make sure that your child is having 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Physical Activities: Play with your child in the evening or go on a walk with them.
Spend time: Spend time with your child. It is the utmost thing you can do to make your child feel valuable and important in your life.
Take help: When you encounter that your child is facing anxiety disorder make sure you give validation to their feeling and understand their situation. And take them for treatment.
Take care of your words: Make sure that you don’t speak any negative words like “you are of no use,” “you are not worth anything.” Because anxiety occurs due to lack of self-confidence, and lack of self-love.
Be an example to your child: Make sure to have an environment at home that reflects love and care. You are the role model for your child. Make sure to deal with your problems bravely and wisely. Through your actions, your child will also learn many things.
Find solutions with your child: When your child acknowledges their fears or feelings then ask them why they have this kind of feeling. And listen to them. After they have expressed themselves, ask them what they would do in this type of situation. Ask them two to three things they can do to shoot out the fear or worry. And then tell which solution of theirs will be effective and why. This will build confidence in the child to face fears.
So, when you notice these symptoms make sure to get them the right treatment. Because with therapies, medication and your support. The troubled child can cope-up with anxiety. The child will become fearless and a confident person.