“Treat A Child As Though He’s Already The Person’s He’s Capable Of Becoming.”
Anxiety is a common problem in a lot of adults today, in fact it’s an epidemic. Grown-ups can however talk about their daily struggles on anxiety and can seek help whenever they recognize exacerbation of the disorder. Children with anxiety are however unable to do either of these.
They can’t talk about it as they are not old enough to comprehend their feelings and emotions. As children cannot directly inform their parents about their anxiety, it’s vital for all parents to know the signs and symptoms of anxiety in children. Listed below are 3 subtle signs of anxiety in children:
1. Children with anxiety tend to be pessimistic
One of the more subtle signs of anxiety in children is that the suffering child tends to always think negatively. Pessimism may be observed in varied aspects such as constantly expecting the worst outcome or feeling and fearing like something bad may occur. For example, a child with anxiety may not want to go on a holiday as he/she may be worried that their home will burn down when they are away on the vacation.
2. Children with anxiety seek perfection in everything
Most children usually take a long time when coloring a picture or drawing something. Parents however need to keep a lookout for perfectionism in their kids; perfectionism is a subtle sign of anxiety. One of the indicators of perfectionism is when the child tears up a drawing and begins again just because he/she made a minor mistake in the older drawing. Another not so subtle indicator is when the child experiences a panic attack or has a meltdown when things don’t go as intended or planned.
In such cases, parents need to make their kids realize that mistakes are a part of everyday life. We need to teach them that making mistakes is one of the most important steps of learning and a guide to progress and succeed in life. Sit with your child and help them memorize some quotes about mistakes, failures, and rebounding. This will help ease anxiety within them.
3. Children with anxiety tend to postpone or delay activities
Procrastination is another subtle sign of anxiety in children. Purposely delaying activities can be said to be a part of perfectionism. Studies show that children who desire perfectionism tend to cope with their worries and fear of failure or mistakes by putting off a worrying activity. Some other reasons why children with anxiety may dilly dally include thinking that a job is too difficult to finish and hence they do not want to have any part of it, or getting overwhelmed with lots of things to accomplish.
Parents can help by creating a routine for the child. If the child has to do a task parents need to break it into smaller, unintimidating, and realistic tasks. Thus they can finish one small task and then move to another small task and so on till the full job is accomplished. Rewards for finishing a task on time is another option. For example, the reward for a child to clean up his/her room would be letting them watch their favorite TV show.
Take these suggestions today and begin reversing the growing trend of more and more kids being pushed into antidepressants and anti anxiety medications. The last thing a child needs is a toxic internal environment, when there are more long term solutions available.
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