Every parent should be equipped to see the signs of childhood anxiety. Everyone agrees that the present way of life in the United States is not only severely stress producing for adults, but is particularly problematic for children. The breakdown of the nuclear family, violence in everyday life and entertainment, terrorism, and economic and professional pressures on parent figures combine to create a fertile ground for severe anxiety in children. Even kind and loving parents sometimes find that their child suffers from some of the symptoms listed below: In fact the statistics are overwhelming with over 40 millions people suffering from anxiety and children and teens are caught in the crossfire.
- Refuses to go to school.
- Does not want to attend summer camps or school events with friends.
- Frequently feels ill.
- Needs constant reassurance.
- Avoids eye contact.
- Is irritable.
- Avoids performance situation or any new experience.
Any of these symptoms that endure over time is a signal that more than good parenting is needed. One reason why childhood anxiety conditions go unrecognized and untreated is that there are normal fears that all children experience. The normal newborn exhibits fear when feeling a loss of physical support or hearing loud noises. From age one on until school age, children fear separation from parenting figures. Most people remember being afraid of the dark or monsters in the closet or under the bed. Children are commonly afraid of thunder, lightening, and “bad people”. The list goes on and on. Adolescence brings with it more fears: fear of rejection, fear of failure — socially, academically, economically — fear of natural and political cataclysms. The empathic parent recognizes these fears as normal, and learning to deal with them as necessary to maturation.
But sometimes, particularly if a child or adolescent has a genetic endowment that makes them sensitive, or if their life experience has included more than average disruption and uncertainty, anxiety symptoms appear that go beyond the routine, normal childhood fears, and professional help is needed in order to prevent the child from growing into an adult crippled by severe anxiety.
Are you aware that 55% of adults who suffer from agoraphobia and other severe anxiety conditions experienced childhood anxiety conditions. Thirty-one percent of these began before age 10. Fortunately, there is help with the LifeSkills© program.