Grew up with 6 signs of Anxiety
Parents should never, never tell their child that it’s not okay to have a negative emotion. And you know what that leads to that leads to avoiding strategies. Feelings are temporary, no matter how discomforting it is, it’s like a wave in the ocean. It comes and goes.
Here are the few questions that explained signs that show one is growing up with anxiety.
- Why do anxiety and phobias need a separate conversation when it comes to kids, then adults?
- Is Child having Anxiety?
- Does Anxiety have any Predisposition?
- Is Anxiety Symptoms correlated with a child’s age?
- How does a four-year-old do them?
- How anxiety can manifest in the body of a child?
- Is the child have panic attacks?
Why do anxiety and phobias need a separate conversation when it comes to kids, then adults?
Because developmentally it looks different in children. And oftentimes children are misdiagnosed a lot of times because children are growing. They have these very short periods of time in which they appear to be struggling with something and that’s actually developmentally normal. So we also don’t want to pathologize these children needlessly. We don’t want to make it look like everybody has a disorder because it’s just going through some growing pains that’s why the separate conversation is needed because there is a lot more sensitivity to how long they have to be suffering from something before it really does warn something professional intervention.
So let’s start with what life looks like. For a child who has anxiety.
Is Child having Anxiety?
Particularly as a child, you need somebody to take care of all of your business. You can’t support yourself. That’s the way that mammals work. And as children, their attachment develops based on whether or not they feel secure when they’re with their primary caregivers. When they’re in their environment, do they feel safe? And anxiety can develop when there’s a very chaotic environment when your primary caregivers aren’t always consistently there to support you, especially when you fall or have a fear have something bad happen to you? So sometimes it’s environmental, and if there is structure and if there’s an establishment for safety, then the child can come back from anxiety pretty easily, too. Or is it more just a predisposition that they have from birth?
Does Anxiety have any Predisposition?
Anxiety does show some predispositions. So we know that even from birth, that there are differences in temperament. So, for example, some babies are just harder to soothe. They’re a little bit more sensitive to noises and lights and other types of sensory information. Usually, that’s a precursor for having a little bit more of an anxious temperament doesn’t mean that you’ll develop a full-fledged anxiety disorder, but just means that under pressure or under stress, you are more likely to develop some anxiety symptoms. Anxiety manifests in a type of difficulty with going to school, with pretending that they’re sick so that they don’t have to go to school.
Oftentimes there are issues with separation. So part of their not wanting to go to school isn’t necessarily that they don’t like school or that they are being, for example, bullying in school, but they don’t want to be apart from their primary caregivers. And so oftentimes for children, anxiety manifests in bodily symptoms. They’ll say that they have headaches. They’ll say that they have stomach aches and they can’t go to school. And oftentimes they also complain of other types of things, like being easily distracted. And so sometimes you can see how that could lead to misdiagnosis is a time to take them to the primary care doctor is a time to see if they have ADHD. But all of the time, you have to make sure that you’re considering that anxiety might really be the explanation for it.
So when I was young, probably between the ages of three and eight, specifically, my mother, when she would leave for the night and I had a babysitter. Oh, my gosh. You would have thought that I had been stabbed in the back. I do not believe that my mother was going to leave me. And then it was just something I grew out of. I didn’t exaggerate treatment. My mom’s just gone, well, I’m leaving. You’re going to eventually get over it. And I did. But for a parent, how would they know if it’s something they’re going to get over or something that could actually be detrimental long term.
I think oftentimes for children, we look about the span of three to six months. If it doesn’t go away in about that period of time, then it’s time to kind of look at that a little bit more in detail and to see if there’s something that needs to be done. Also, some children from a very young age do show a proclivity towards being extra conscientious, so they want things to be in their place. They want things to be organized. They’re a little bit of a control freak, even as a little child.
Is Anxiety Symptoms correlated with a child’s age?
And when you see that, that also tends to correlate with anxiety symptoms as they grow. Somebody or a child exhibiting anxious traits, but not having the disorder. What is the definition of a child under the age of ten having anxiety disorder or whether or compared to just having anxious traits?
There are two very major things to look for. Is it clinically impairing them on a variety of tasks in their daily life? Is it impairing them at school? Is it stopping them from being able to develop good friendships? Is it hard for them to function in the home? Is it hard for them to do self-care activities like get up, get dress, shower, put their backpack together, get on the bus? That’s one area. The other area is that the individual perceives a huge amount of distress.
So if they themselves say I’m very upset about this, I’m upset by my own anxiety. I’m upset that my stomach codes so much. I’m upset that I can go to school. That’s the other criteria to knowing that it’s a disorder.
How does a four-year-old do them?
And that’s part of the problem with children? They don’t necessarily say this is bothering me this much. So as a parent or a teacher or an adult that is in the child’s life, it’s kind of your responsibility to check in to see how they’re doing, to ask very specific questions. And with children, especially because they are not usually mature enough to spell it out with their own words. It’s important to ask them, very pointed questions about it because when you ask, you do get an answer.
So the younger children under ten, they are getting out of school, talking about how anxious they are going to school, faking being sick so they can avoid it. It’s been going on for three to six months.
What’s happening on a neurological level so oftentimes with children, what they notice is just that they have a difficult time handling and managing their environment. So if they feel like there are too many stimuli or that there’s too much of a focus on them individually. Individuals who have anxiety sometimes don’t like when other people are looking at them, paying attention to them. And so if they feel like there’s too much going on in that direction, they’ll oftentimes start to feel not only the bodily symptoms but just worries fears about what’s going to happen next.
And in fact, anxiety wouldn’t even exist if we didn’t have the ability as human beings to think into the future, because if we’re being mindful and we’re just staying in the present moment, nothing’s happening except that we’re sitting here and having a conversation on a couch. It’s when your mind races too. What do I have to still do for the rest of the day? What’s gonna happen when I have to give that school presentation when I go and play on the schoolyard? Am I gonna get bullied again?
It’s when you think in the future that anxiety happens. And so children who sort of have that future forecasting ability and tend to attribute negative outcomes to the future are more likely to have anxiety. Anxiety only can occur because we have the ability to think about the future. Which immediately tells me a way to combat anxiety. And this is a higher level, not just with kids, but for anybody being in the moment being mindful being present, however, you get their meditation, whatever right could be a way to treat is a way to treat the anxiety.
It’s interesting because most children have a hard time thinking into the future because they’re so present-minded the minute they don’t get a toy, they’re like my world is over they don’t think that in five minutes they won’t even want that toy anymore. Sometimes children who are a little bit more beyond their years that way their brains are sort of accelerated in terms of thinking into the future and projecting. Sometimes that actually leads to anxiety. And there’s been a number of studies actually looking at people who are more conscientious, more ambitious, and whether or not more anxiety occurs.
And we’re not talking that’s really about one that’s diagnosed with a disorder, but just anxiety symptoms in general. Also, anxiety can have a very physical manifestation for people. So when people say that they’re having an anxiety attack, they may mean that they are having a panic attack. It means that they’re having all these physiological reactions quick and heartbeat, heart-pounding, maybe sweating, maybe just feeling like you’re crawling out of your skin. So that would be just some of the examples of how anxiety can manifest in the body for a child.
How anxiety can manifest in the body of a child?
They don’t have as many emotional words to capture how they’re feeling, but they oftentimes will talk a little bit more about things hurting so headaches and stomachaches, they sometimes will just say that they don’t feel right because they’re vocabulary is a little bit more limited. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what it is that’s going on. But I have found that with children, oftentimes they’ll talk about pains in their body is a temper tantrum.
Is the child have panic attacks?
Sometimes with children who have temper tantrums, it is because they’re overstimulated and they need to kind of gain control of their environment. Other children are just having temper tantrums, maybe because they need to have a limit setting, maybe because they have another type of issue, like externalizing behavioral problems, such as ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder. It can really vary.
There’s a couple of things that we would look for. Oftentimes, children who are anxious, cry. And so if you see that they’re crying multiple times a day, sometimes being set up by things that are just really at the drop of a pin.
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