• My Child Is Anxious…What Should I Do?

    Posted on July 6, 2012 by brightideas in Blog

    Whether it is trouble sleeping, fears and phobias, social anxiety or separation anxiety, anxiety is one of the primary mental health concerns of children today. In most cases, fears in childhood are fairly transient and short-lived, and can manifest in different ways at different stages of development. For example, babies and toddlers might fear loud noises, heights, strangers and separation, preschoolers might start to show fears of being on their own and of the dark, whilst school-age children might be afraid of supernatural things (like ghosts), social situations, failure, and criticism or tests.

    When to be concerned

    Most children have fears or worries of some kind. If you’re concerned about your child, the following tips might help you decide whether you need to seek professional help.

    • Ask yourself the following question: Is my child’s anxiety stopping them from doing things they want to do? Is it interfering with friendships, schoolwork or family life? If the answer is ‘yes’, consider seeking professional help.
    • Compare your child’s behaviour with other children of the same age. For example, it’s common for most children to experience separation fears when going to preschool or school for the first time, but far less common over the age of eight. If your child’s behaviour is very different from that of other children, consider professional help.
    • Consider how severe your child’s reaction is. If they are extremely distressed and hard to settle when you leave them, for example, think seriously about professional help.

    Severe anxiety can impact on children’s health and happiness. Some anxious children will grow out of their fears, but others will continue to have trouble with anxiety unless they receive professional help.

    Ways to support your child

    • If your child displays signs of anxiety, you can support him or her in several ways:
    • acknowledge your child’s fear – don’t dismiss or ignore it
    • gently encourage your child to do things they are anxious about
    • wait until your child actually gets anxious before you step in to help
    • praise your child for doing something they are anxious about, rather than criticising them for being afraid
    • avoid labelling your child as ‘shy’ or ‘anxious’

    Bright Ideas Psychology specialises in working with children who are suffering with anxiety to help them cope more effectively with their fears. Trained by Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health, Bright Ideas provides anxiety treatment for children and adolescents as well as counselling for issues that might be occurring at school such as bullying. Our Child Psychologist will also work with you as the parent to help manage your child’s anxiety so they can lead a life without being at the mercy of anxious thoughts.

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