There are three main ways your child or teenager will manifest anxiety. All three may be seen. However, in some instances, only one or two ways may manifest. Here are some symptoms that show your child is experiencing anxiety:
- Constant worry
- Sudden and frequent panic attacks
- Avoiding social situations and excessive shyness
- Crying, clinging and throwing tantrums when you separate
- Complaints of frequent headaches and stomachaches
Pay attention to your child closely to detect these patterns:
Physical symptoms include what is felt in the body. Many times, children do not know how to identify anxiety. They may claim to feel ill and some may describe it as a tummy upset.
Teenagers may describe it as chest pain, headaches, or painful shoulder muscles. Other symptoms include, feeling detached, increased heart rate, fast breathing, or finding it hard to breathe, nausea, sweating, shaking, dizziness, numbness, or a choking sensation.
When these feelings are intense and sudden, a panic attack may be fast approaching.
Mental symptoms include things that go through the mind, such as worrisome thoughts. Worrisome thoughts may be about an event occurring in the future or presently.
Behavioral symptoms include what is expressed in actions, such as avoiding or seeking for reassurance.
Avoidance may be helpful in fight or flight situations, however, in anxious children and teenagers, it prevents them from having new experiences and learning to cope in the world. These patterns may vary from one child to another and depending on the situation.
As a parent, your children need to see your consistent and patient effort to calm their fears. Anxious children and teenagers need a lot of constant reassurance. Sometimes, helping your child or teenager involves being there as your child comes face to face with the fear. You should also help your child know that anxiety is normal, adaptive and not dangerous.