Understanding Anxiety in a Child

A child is often insecure and anxious. Parental upbringing makes a lot of difference. A carefree atmosphere at home, harmony in relationship between partners promotes the feeling of security in a child. A child likes it when his or her parents are happily married. Tension and bickering among the partners can make the child feel very disturbed. Also divorce can affect the child in many ways. A healthy child needs the presence of both the parents.

Parents need to understand the emotional needs of the child. They need to ensure that a congenial atmosphere prevails on the homefront. They should understand what makes a child anxious. Emotional insecurities can hamper the growth of the child. An anxious child does not perform too well at school. Also socially, he does not excel.

Why is a Child Anxious?

Anxiety among children is due to phobias and fears. First day at school or sleeping at night causes much disturbance. Separation from parents causes much anxiety. Sometimes they are afraid of dogs, cats or snakes. Such fears can be overcome through understanding

Some children experience general anxiety for no reason at all. This could be due to a picked up behavior from a member of the family or their basic temperament. This could affect their learning and concentration and general confidence

School related activities can cause worry and tension. Going to school itself can make a child feel apprehensive. Coping up with work at school can also be a major problem. Problems of bullying, building up friendships can cause much tension

Symptoms of Anxiety

  1. Feeling panicky or fearful
  2. Feeling sweaty, breathlessness, ‘butterflies’ in the stomach
  3. Feeling fidgety, going to the bathroom too often, tense

Causes of Anxiety

  1. Children feel insecure when parents squabble. They are unable to understand what the argument is all about
  2. Divorce as well as separation can affect a child. He or she likes parents to be together. The child needs both the parents for healthy growth. They find it difficult to cope up with divided loyalty
  3. Death of a parent or close relative can also cause anxiety in a child
  4. Strict discipline, harsh punishment can generate anxiety
  5. Problems at school can also cause worry and anxiety. The child may have to deal with a bully, or may not have friends, or finds it difficult to cope up with work at school
  6. Children who experience an accident, or face a fire often suffer from anxiety after a period of time

The effect of childhood anxiety at times lasts in adulthood. Fears continue and many adults lack friends and suffer from low self-confidence. Parents need to ensure that their child is physically and emotionally secure. A happy home means a happy child.

A study conducted by Norwegian Institute of Public Health also highlights the fact that children who have a mother who is under psychological distress tend to develop anxiety and depressive symptoms in their adolescence. Many single mothers are under emotional stress. They have the added responsibility of bringing up the child alone. Many hurdles have to be overcome by them in bringing up the child

Parents have a major responsibility in bringing up the child in an environment where he or she can grow mentally and physically. If the home environment is secure, the child will grow up to be a confident person. He or she will not experience too many fears and phobias. Socially, the child will have much to contribute.

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