It’s one thing if you are recognizing the signs of anxiety in yourself, but something else entirely if you sense that you are seeing it in your own child. Stressing out over something simple every now and then is obviously not a cause for concern, but when you find that persistent nerves are interfering with their academics and social life, it may be time to step in, but what can you do?
As mentioned by The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), there are simple and indirect ways to go about raising a child with anxiety problems. In most times, getting psychiatric support may not be necessary if you feel confident that you and your family can help your child get through this. Some discreet yet helpful strategies include:
- Being attentive to their feelings
- Staying calm when they aren’t
- Reinforce any accomplishment through recognition and praise
- Avoid punishment for exhibiting anxious behavior or bad situations that were a result of their anxiety
- Be flexible with their schedule in case of an episode, but maintain a normal routine overall
- Modify your expectations for them during stressful situations
At their age, it is important that your child feels supported by family as it is the main environment that they interact with and learn from, but if anxiety worsens, it must be understood that it may not have anything to do with your parenting techniques.
Other factors that influence the intensity of a child’s anxiety are the type of anxiety that they are suffering from (generalized, panic, social, etc.), how they have learned to react to it, and the exact cause of the condition itself as if pertains to your child.
For a more thorough investigation of your child’s anxieties, it may be wise to seek professional help. According to ADAA, those that received professional guidance found that it was successful in helping children maintain their anxiety.
In some cases, cognitive-behavioral therapy is enough. This type of therapy teaches children techniques that they can use to reduce anxiety, which is something that can benefit them throughout their life. These techniques usually involve a change in their thinking process that they can control when the situation calls for it.
For instance, when in a stressful situation, your child will be able to identify which thoughts are negative and unrealistic and learn to focus primarily on the positive and realistic ones.
There may be times when medication may be required, but it will generally be used alongside therapy sessions, especially for children between the ages 7-17. Whether these prescriptions will be short or long-term will depend on how serious their symptoms are and how they have been affected by previous treatments
The more commonly used medication for these types of treatments is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are effective, but may cause side effects such as headaches, stomachaches and nausea, and difficulty sleeping.
You have many options of therapeutic practices to choose from, but it is best to look for one that focuses on the relationship between parent and child such as family sessions.
One option is Horizon Family Solutions, which provide as both educators and consultants as they are specifically created for the progress of a child or teenager, regardless of their complications.
You may also choose BetterHelp, which also allows for child or family sessions as they find the right psychiatrist for your situation and is flexible with your schedule.
Whichever you choose, ensure it focuses on family support.