Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns for children and youth. And while not all anxiety is ‘bad’ or cause for concern, ongoing feelings of stress and anxiety that begin to affect your child’s engagement in daily activities may be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Stress is a normal part of life and is always present when children are trying something new, doing something hard or taking on a challenge. But when normal stress begins to turn to anxious thoughts that impede performance, it is time to support that child to learn coping skills. When children are young, it is the prime time to help them learn to rewire their thoughts to help embrace new things. It is in this process of overcoming anxiety where resilience is created.
Anxiety can come in many forms. The main forms of anxiety include:
- Generalized anxiety
- Separation anxiety
- Social anxiety
- Selective mutism
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Specific phobias
Left untreated, these forms of anxiety can grow. Children begin to avoid situations that are uncomfortable. When avoidance becomes the preferred alternative, kids begin to miss out on experiences, activities, and fun. The goal is for children to acknowledge their fear or nerves when trying something new or taking on a challenge, but to have the skills to overcome that discomfort. Overcoming that fear is what shrinks the anxious pattern of thoughts, and the outcome is resilience.