CHILDREN CAN LEARN THE COURAGE TO CONQUER THEIR FEARS
Fears or anxiety is a common normal part of development. Newborns can be seen to display a little “startle reflex” when they experience a sudden unpredictable change in their bodies or environment. Young children often have fears of the dark, monsters, strangers, etc. However, when fears and worries are ongoing and restricts daily activities, routines, and relationships it may be time to seek additional support. It is estimated that 10% of children suffer today from some form of anxiety. Currently there are a number of well researched forms of interventions (e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy, ‘CBT’) for the treatment of anxiety disorders in the mental health field.
The Signs + Symptoms -What Anxiety Might Look Like
- Difficulty sleeping – falling asleep and staying asleep
- Avoidance of common tasks, situations, or people
- Excessive worrying about a wide range of things, everything is concerning
- Striving for control over life and an unsatisfying pursuit for perfection
- Emotional distress when away from a parent or caregiver often due to a fear that something bad will happen to them or the loved one (clinging).
- An intense fear of a specific object, person, or (place, animal, familiar objects, etc.)
- A stifling apprehension in new or unfamiliar social situations
- Frequent complaints about physical symptoms – difficulty breathing, headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, etc. These symptoms are not related to any diagnosed medical conditions.
- Racing, and intrusive thoughts – ”what if…?“, ” You should…“, “why didn’t you …?”
- Nightmares or scary dreams
- Reliving past traumatic experiences as if they are happening again in the present (see post traumatic stress disorder, as of child abuse, domestic violence, etc.)
Living With a Child with An Anxiety Disorder
Parents, in fact, all members of a family, share in the torture of chronic anxiety attacks with their child.
Many family members have told me in therapy sessions of their experiences with one, or a few of, the following (Can you relate?):
- Helpless – you observe your child struggling and feeling swept away by the flood of powerful emotions and you are unable to stop it, you are unable to rescue them
- Hopeless – you have tried a number of tips, tricks, and techniques but no progress is made. You secretly wonder in fear yourself …”Will this ever end?“
- Defensive and Irritated – Weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your child plus the unending demand for your comfort and assurance occasionally provokes an anger within you. You may feel trapped by their powerlessness. You might react with impatience
- Guilty – you question if you have somehow damaged your child and caused him/her to become so fearful and insecure. You search in your mind through your parenting history for clues of your misdeed.
Hold on to HOPE
While living with anxiety can feel very imprisoning, I have hope for your mastery and healing. At Help For Families Canada we are here to support both your child and your family to gain success and tools that fosters a happy, confident, peaceful life. With our patient guidance and systematic interventions children have become:
more emotionally stable,
more tolerant of frustration and the unknown,
experience more joy.
Life is to be lived with passion and confidence, not avoided.
SCHEDULE an appointment online now for a free consultation over the phone to discuss how to start the journey to recovery
Read More About Raising A Child with Chronic Worries in Our Blog
Recommended Resources for Caregivers for Kids
Picture Books for Elementary School Aged Kids About Worries (Age 5-12 years)
Scaredy Squirrel Series
David and the Worried Beast
When My Worries Get Too Big
Whilma Jean and the Worry Machine
Additional Resources for Mothers & Fathers About Anxiety
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Brochures for Dowload