Are you concerned that your child is being impacted by increasing anxiety
- Does your child get nervous easily or worry about things that may or may not happen?
- Is your child really hard on his/her self and worry about what others think
- Does your child find it hard to adjust to changes in routine or schedule?
- Does it seem like your child cannot relax and worries about things outside of their control?
- Does your child become worried or fearful when separated from you or away from you for extended periods of time, like at school, sleepovers, or when you are at work?
How Do I Know if My Child’s Anxiety is Normal or Not?
While it is impossible to avoid stress altogether, there are signs to know if your child is dealing with the typical stress of school or sports, or anxiety that is negatively impacting their daily life and keeping them from being able to just be a kid. Your child might be suffering from anxiety if they are obsessed with being perfect in their school work, on their sports team, or at home. This may look like extreme disappointment of getting a bad grade or being overly critical of self when making a simple mistake during a soccer game. Your child may also avoid situations that trigger anxiety or procrastinate to avoid facing something that makes them anxious. Sometimes a child with anxiety will appear very successful or determined by overly emphasizing being a perfectionist or obsessing over accomplishments. If your child only shows heightened anxiety when leaving you or being away from you for long periods, it is likely they are struggling with separation anxiety, which can also be addressed with a therapist.
What if therapy makes my child more anxious or is scary for him/her/them?
Some people believe that therapy is only for adult issues and concerns, however, our therapists will use age-appropriate interventions and skills to help your child feel safe and secure. We know that talking to a stranger about personal feelings and behaviors can be overwhelming, which is why our therapists move at your child’s pace and facilitate sessions in a way that helps your child feel comfortable. Much like learning math at school, or teamwork in sports, a therapist can teach your child life long skills to manage difficult emotions with healthy coping mechanisms such as relaxation techniques, problem solving and confidence building. Working with a therapist can help your child identify triggers of anxiety and how to manage his or her response. Your therapist can also teach you skills for how to respond to and support your child when they are experiencing heightened anxiety.
What if my child’s anxiety is due to a recent life change or transition? Maybe their anxiety will pass without therapy.
It is normal to experience anxiety and stress when going through a transition, change, or phase of life. The following are major changes that can trigger anxiety in a child:
- Moving to a new location with a new school and unfamiliar environment
- Loss of a parent or other important family member
- Change in health or medical diagnosis (self or family member)
- Impacted by a traumatic event (e.g., parent divorce, house fire, car accident, etc.)
If your child is experiencing any of the above changes, it is possible that their anxiety is triggered by this event. While it may feel like your child will adjust to the change or event over time, it can be helpful to work with a therapist to give your child space to process the change and how it is impacting him or her. A therapist can help your child adjust to this change or challenge in a way that is meaningful and contributes to your child’s overall mental health and resiliency that will aid them in future challenges. Additionally, your therapist can help you better understand your child and how to support them during this difficult time.