While we view childhood as the carefree days of our lives, it is important to realise that children also worry and that they may need support to overcome certain obstacles.
These anxieties come in many different forms and must not be shrugged off as “they’ll get over it”. In the case of the family relocating, some children may struggle to adjust to new surroundings like school and making new friends. Overcoming shyness about being the new kid on the block can be difficult for them and without support, they can become withdrawn.
In todays’ stressful society, they often pickup on parents anxieties and one needs to ensure them that it is no worry of theirs. In the case of divorce, they need to be assured that it was no fault of theirs and that both parents still love them.
Safety for our children is another issue and while we need to set them strict boundaries such as not talking to stranger etcetera, we must ensure that our protectiveness of them does not cause safety anxiety. This can result in clingy children who will cry easily when separated from their parent. Some may have an intense fear of the dark and visit your bed regularly at night. While this is annoying for you, your child is suffering fear and needs to be helped through this different period.
An anxious child will often follow the lead of others as they lack confidence to make their own decisions and therefore rely on someone else making a better judgement. They underestimate themselves and panic when confronted with a new situation.
However with parental support, perseverance and often much patience, these anxieties can be overcome but recognizing child anxiety can also be tricky. Children of different ages display different symptoms but here are a few tell-tale signs.
- Overly clingy
- Nightmares or fear of the dark
- Panic at routine change
- Being overly shy and difficulty making friends
- Lack of confidence and low self-esteem
- Recurring tummy aches
In older children, they may still exhibit some of the above signs as well as:
- Worrying about future events
- Fear of making mistakes
- Fear of embarrassing themselves
- Compulsive behavior
- Resist to any form of change