Undoubtedly, parenting is one of the most challenging tasks in life. Parenting is not only limited to providing basic needs and showing love. Proper parenting involves observing a child’s strengths and weaknesses at every stage of development. One difficulty that parents may experience is handling children with mental disorders. You have to understand the drawbacks of a particular mental illness and assist a child in managing the situation. Anxiety is a mental disorder that affects many children, especially those aged between 5 and 17. During the early stages of childhood, it is difficult to tell if a child has an anxiety disorder, but as they grow, they begin to portray particular signs and symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anxiety affects approximately 8% of American children. As a parent, what is the right way to help an anxious child?
Identify the Symptoms
While anxiety is a mental disorder, a child will show physical signs. One of the most common signs is clenching of the fist. A child with anxiety may also grind their teeth. Behavioral signs include aggression, temper tantrums, and frequent crying in toddlers. Children with an anxiety disorder also experience loss of appetite, struggle to socialize, and have difficulty concentrating. These are a few of the signs associated with anxiety. It is therefore vital to be keen and observe any unusual behavior. Identification is the first step towards helping an anxious child.
Help Them Relax
Reassure the child that they are safe and protected by helping them relax. There are several ways to achieve it. Ask the child to think of a place that makes them relax. It may be in the house or a different environment outside the house. Accompany the child and hold their hands or hug them. A child will feel more relaxed if they know that they have positive support. Another way to do this is to offer their favorite food or snack.
It is challenging to know the source of anxiety for toddlers because they cannot communicate. You may want to consult a pediatrician. For other young children and teenagers, it is essential to communicate with them in a calm tone to know the source of their anxiety. This way, you can decide whether it is best to handle the situation alone or seek professional help. Keep in mind that there is normal anxiety and anxiety disorder—it is significant to know the difference between them.
Seek Medical Help
If self-help does not work, seeking professional help is the best decision. A child may need a psychologist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one effective treatment for anxiety. Also, there may be a need for treatment if the child has an underlying medical condition.
Parenting an anxious child is not as easy as it may seem, but parents can learn strategies to help their child. Proper identification of the type of anxiety that the child has will guide you in taking the right measures.
Do you have more questions about keeping your child’s mental health in Salem Oregon? Contact our friendly staff at WFMC Health or become a new patient today!