Are You Parenting an Anxious Child?

Child psychologist with a little girl

Similar to adults, children can feel worried and anxious.  In fact, feeling anxious about certain things at different stages of their growth is normal.  However, if anxiety and worry are chronic, there is a chance that a serious problem is developing.

Early on, younger children may have separation anxiety from their parents. They may become clingy, have difficulty sleeping, wake during the night, start wetting the bed or have nightmares.  These behaviors are typically temporary and should begin to subside around age two or three.  If they persist as your child gets older, you may want to monitor their behavior for signs that are indicative of an anxiety disorder.

Some signs to look out for are:

  • lack the confidence to try new things or seem unable to face simple, everyday challenges
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • have problems with sleeping or eating
  • are prone to angry outbursts
  • have negative thoughts going round and round their head, or keep thinking that bad things are going to happen
  • start avoiding everyday activities, such as seeing friends, going out in public or attending school

There are many ways to help your child through these worrisome times.  Work with your child to recognize what “triggers” their anxiety and urge them to ask for help when the feel unsure. Try sticking to a regular routine and suggest reading books on the topic with your children.  Additionally, if you know a change is coming such as a new home, talk to your child and be clear on what they should expect.

Most importantly, don’t try to shield your child from situations, rather encourage your child to find ways to manage their anxiety.  Using simple relaxation techniques such as taking slow breaths can really help them navigate an episode.

If you have tried these methods and your child is still anxious, you can make an appointment with a trained mental health professional at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center‘s Mental Health Center.  Call 718-206-7071 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.