Having a kid who’s dealing with anxiety can be a stressful thing. It can be difficult trying to understand what they are going through. Anxiety can manifest in different ways that parents may not recognize.
Trying to understand the various ways anxiety can manifest is tedious. Many behaviors might mimic other behavioral problems. If you notice any of these signs, it may be best to find programs dedicated to helping kids with anxiety.
1. Trouble Sleeping
Studies have shown that chronic sleep disruption and anxiety can lead to various health conditions, such as sleep disorders. One of the most common symptoms of anxiety is difficulty falling asleep. For some kids, this is because their anxious thoughts keep them awake at night. They also have anxiety about not being able to fall asleep at night.
2. Anger Issues
Although the exact link between anxiety and anger is not known, it’s widely believed that the former can manifest in children with the condition. One of the main reasons why it’s believed that there is a link between anxiety and anger is due to an overestimation of a potential threat.
Kids become so worried about not having the skills to manage their anxiety that they feel helpless. Anger can then develop as frustration. Both anxiety and anger are activated in the center of your brain, which is responsible for perceiving and reacting to threats. The amygdala, which is a cluster of neurons, produces a flight-or-fight response when it senses a threat, which helps your body fight and become stronger.
Having anxiety is frustrating for a child, as it makes them feel like their life is out of their control. As a way of regaining their composure, they try to take back their actions, usually in unexpected ways. For instance, a kid with anxiety might react angrily when they are given an orange cup instead of the blue one. It’s easy to interpret a child’s defiance as a lack of discipline, instead of an attempt to control their situation.
A kid with anxiety can be “chandeliering.” This is when they suddenly fly off the handle of a chair without any apparent reason. In reality, they have been pushing their anxiety and hurt so deeply that it has caused them to suddenly go through the light.
A child with anxiety is often incapable of talking about their condition, as they will often go from being calm to exhibiting tantrums without any apparent reason. After a few days or weeks, they will start to feel like they have no control over their feelings.
5. Lack of Focus
For kids, anxiety, and ADHD often go hand in hand. However, the two conditions have distinct symptoms. One of these is a lack of focus, which is often caused by anxiety. This is especially problematic at school, as kids with anxiety are often incapable of paying attention to what’s happening around them.
We tend to avoid certain situations that are uncomfortable or stressful. For instance, if you are avoiding getting sick, washing your hands several times a day may be considered avoidance. On the other hand, if you are avoiding people who make you feel uncomfortable, you may not attend a meeting or party.
Unfortunately, avoidance can also lead to various problems. If their anxiety is caused by school, they will try to avoid everything that’s happening in the school. Those who are avoiding certain activities and tasks due to anxiety will likely spend a lot of time and energy doing so, which can result in more anxiety.
People with anxiety tend to have more negative thoughts than positive ones, which makes them feel like they are always on the verge of experiencing a negative experience. This is because they have a hard time recognizing and turning around negative thoughts, and they are more likely to engage in negative self-talk. Getting a therapist may help decrease negative thought patterns that your child faces.
The combination of over-planning and defiant behavior can also go hand in hand. For instance, some kids with anxiety will try to control their feelings by avoiding certain activities. However, this can lead to them over-planning for situations that are not necessary. Kids with anxiety will want to be prepared for any possibility during uncontrolled situations.
Anxiety can be difficult for kids to deal with. However, by recognizing the signs early on, parents can get their kids the help they need. There are many ways to overcome and deal with anxiety.