Many parents/carers are unsure if their child's behaviour is something to be worried about or if it is normal behaviour for a child their age.
Anxiety is a normal emotion felt by everybody and there are times when it is to be expected, e.g. around exam time or when transitioning between teachers or schools.
Normal worries might also include concern over going to a party alone or the ability to form new friendships and fit in.
Remember, worrying is normal! Everybody worries and feels anxious at certain times in their lives.
Some people may feel panicky or experience symptoms that leave them feeling like they might be sick. Other examples could include: angry outbursts, low confidence, thinking bad things are going to happen, avoidance of situations, difficulty concentrating, clinging to parents/carers, seeking reassurance, poor sleep, feeling shaky, legs turning to jelly, stomach aches, breathing fast, tearfulness, or having headaches.
Anxiety can also affect learning at school, motivation and personal relationships.
Normalise the anxiety. Explain that everyone worries and feels anxious at times. Listen to your child; try to understand what they are feeling anxious about and whether it is causing problems in their daily life. Praise their ability to talk about their worries to you. This can be difficult to carry out but it is a very important first step in overcoming anxiety.
Did you know?
- 3 pupils in every classroom suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition, rising to 1 in 4 when you include emotional distress.
- 90% of school leaders have reported an increase in the number of students experiencing anxiety or stress over the last five years.
- 80% of young people say that exam pressure has significantly impacted their mental health.
- 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 (Hagell 2015)
- 1 in 6 young people are affected by an anxiety problem at some point in their lives (Childline).
Young Minds - Wise Up campaign April 2017 – Prioritising Wellbeing in Schools
Overcoming your child's fears and worries - by Cathy Creswell & Lucy Willetts
Starving the Anxiety Gremlin - by Kate Collins-Donnelly
Huge bag of Worries – Virginia Ironside & Frank Rodgers
What to do when you worry too much – Dawn Huebner & Bonnie Matthews