What to Do (And What Not to Do) When your child is Suffering from Anxiety

As an adult, you must have experienced anxiety and stress at several points in time, and what we often tend to forget is that our children too, experience these difficult emotions- sometimes more often than it is for them to handle.

If you suspect your child is experiencing anxiety, don’t be worried- there is actually a lot you can do to help. Keep reading to discover what you should and shouldn’t do when your child is suffering from anxiety.

Detecting Anxiety in Kids

Anxiety

So how exactly do you detect anxiety in your child, and make out the difference between if it is a part of growing up or something serious that needs to be dealt with? Here are a few pointers to get you started and detect anxiety in your little one.

  • Your child has become clingy and too attached to you suddenly- much more than he used to be.
  • You find your child getting irritated quickly – even over little things.
  • Your child has bad dreams.
  • Your child has started bedwetting.
  • Your child has trouble sleeping or gets up frequently in the night.
  • Your child is shy and has low self-esteem and confidence issues.
  • He finds it hard to focus and concentrate at school or at any task given to him.
  • He has started avoiding certain activities and/people.

What to Do

Anxiety

As a parent, there’s actually a lot you can do to help your child if he’s prone to anxiety. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Set positive, but realistic expectations from your child. You might be too worried about how his anxiety would affect his life, but remember to be slow when it comes to expecting progress from him- let him take his time to learn how to deal with stuff that makes him feel anxious and uncomfortable.
  • Remember that you can’t expect your child to get rid of his anxiety just like that- it is a process, and in the end, he can learn how to deal with and manage anxiety.
  • Most importantly, learn to respect your child’s feelings and emotions- the fear, anxiousness he faces may not seem logical to you, but try and be empathetic as much as you can.
  • Be your child’s biggest support- help him learn new ways to tackle his anxiety and appreciate him whenever he handles a situation on his own.

What Not to Do

And here’s what you shouldn’t do to help your child escape from the vicious cycle of anxiety.

  • Don’t try to protect and shield your child too much from the situation that’s triggering his anxiety- this will only make him incapable of understanding how to deal with it. Instead, help him experience such situations occasionally so that he can develop a healthy coping mechanism.
  • Don’t reinforce your child’s fears- if you find him worrying and stressing out about something, don’t join him- it will only increase his fear and anxiousness about the situation. Instead, be calm and supportive and let your child know that there’s nothing to worry about.
If you suspect your child is experiencing anxiety. Keep reading to discover what you should and shouldn’t do when your child is suffering from anxiety.

20 Comments

  • sonia cave

    February 26, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    These are great tips and advice. Our little lady gets worried about things and it is one of the toughest things to stnad by and watch them, even when supporting them. As you wish you coud take away the difficulties, but i agree that action would make it all worse

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 3, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      Parenting is such a huge learning curve isn’t it, sometimes what we instinctively want to do isn’t for the best x

  • Miranda (Anosa)

    February 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    It is so important to help the child deal with the cause of anxiety as shielding them all the time might cause them not to learn how to handle such future anxieties

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 3, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      You are so right x

  • Sonia

    February 27, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Great advice Sabina – I used to have to take medication for anxiety so I understand only too well. We’ve tried to instil into our kids that it’s good to be frightened and sometimes you need to push yourself into doing something and more often than not it is something you will enjoy or something you really shouldn’t have worried about.

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 3, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      I have been attending a course on parenting kids with anxiety and I have to say it has been a real eye-opener x

  • clare minll

    February 27, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Kids nowadays tend not to ooen up with their parents, but ee must always ask, it’s really hard having amxiety

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 17, 2019 at 8:39 pm

      It’s so hard, I have just attended a 6 week course on kids with anxiety and it’s heartbreaking x

  • Heidi Brown

    February 27, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    My son has been referred for ASD/ADHD and I feel a lot of his acting out is caused by his anxiety of situations. Your advice is spot on, while we all want protect our kids, it’s so important to show them how to approach and deal with those feelings rather than avoiding! Althoughs it’s difficult to find the correct balance!

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      I hope you are able to access the right help and support for your son. It takes a lot of time and patience but it can be made easier x

  • Jenni

    February 27, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    This is such a helpful post. My son used to have tummy aches all the time at his old school. In hindsight, we think it may have been anxiety as he was struggling quite a bit there. Luckily he’s super happy at his new school, no tummy aches in sight.

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 17, 2019 at 8:41 pm

      Oh bless him, that’s great news. I hope the tummy aches stay away x

  • stickymudandbellylaughs

    February 27, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Brilliant advice. I think there is so much pressure on little ones nowadays and expectations, especially from schools! My eldest used to be quite anxious but ever since he has been home schooled he is so chilled out and content. x

  • Janet

    February 27, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    It’s hard for parents when something can’t be fixed with a cuddle and a bit of cheering up. We found that distraction is helpful, as well as breathing exercises.

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 17, 2019 at 8:42 pm

      Yes we do a lot of breathing exercises. It can be so hard can’t it, I feel like I am struggling at the moment x

  • Wendy

    March 1, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Really useful post, thank you for sharing your tips. As someone who struggles with anxiety as an adult, I am always conscious of looking out for signs in my kids, especially my eldest who is very sensitive and emotional xx

    1. IamMummyMatters

      March 17, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      It wasn’t until I attended a course recently on anxiety in kids that I realised it is something I suffer with too. It has been quite the eye-opener x

  • IamMummyMatters

    March 17, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    I hear that so much with home schooled kids, I wish I had been brave enough to do it with my children x

  • Marianne

    October 7, 2019 at 6:15 am

    A really interesting post and one parents need more and more. There are too many children out there with anxiety issues, this is just what those mums and dads need.

    1. Sabina Green

      October 8, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Precisely, mental health is being talked about more often but I’ve noticed it tends to be directed more towards adults. Obviously children can be affected just as much x

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