Anxiety is a normal part of growing up, but it is a cause for concern when it becomes extreme or interferes with a child's daily ability to function.
Counselling psychologist Nikole Seele says it is important to differentiate between healthy and developmental anxiety with debilitating anxiety.
Seele explains that parents should take note of when anxiety becomes pervasive in multiple contexts for young children or causes impairment.
She says children manifest the symptoms of severe anxiety in a more physical manner than adults.
Here are some signs of anxiety in young children:
- stomach aches
- feeling sick in the morning
- wanting urinate or defecate frequently
- chest pains
- shortness of breath
- difficultly swallowing
- soar throat and heightened gag reflex
- extreme tension
- insomnia and sleep troubles
- dramatic change in eating
- social withdrawal
- the excessive need for reassurance
- a change in school performance
- avoidness to talk about symptoms
When children experience anxiety, their bodies are constantly perceiving a threat, Seele advises.
Anxiety is a functional attribute that we need to be able to survive. A certain level is normal, acceptable and necessary.— Nikole Seele, counselling psychologist
The problem [with anxiety] comes around with severity and impairment.— Nikole Seele, counselling psychologist
Children and adults with anxiety are not able to come down from the 'flight or fight'. They constantly exist in a state of perceiving threat.— Nikole Seele, counselling psychologist
She spoke about school-related anxiety, when to seek professional help and how parents can help children cope better.
Take a listen to the insightful discussion: