Anxiety affects all different types of people in the world – different sexes, races, and, of course, ages. This means that adults aren’t the only ones that are affected by anxiety. Although they may feel anxiety in different ways, children are affected just as often and as severe as adults. However, anxiety in children is often downplayed and not taken seriously. Many adults think that children simply don’t worry, or that a child’s problems aren’t anywhere near adults’ problems. This, however, is very untrue. Although us adults may have big problems in our lives, children also have worries, and their worries can be very severe.
Examples Of A Child’s Worries
Children often have worries that seem very realistic to them. Most of their worries include situations that could cause embarrassment to a high degree. Others worry about what other people may think about them. A few even worry about causing trouble to adults. Below are a few examples of worries that children might have if they suffer from anxiety.
Jenny and the School Play
A nine-year-old girl named Jenny has been awarded a part in a school play. The play may not be too big or overly crowded – just the parents of some of the children performing – but Jenny is extremely nervous about it. Jenny feels like she will mess up in the play. She feels that if she makes one wrong move, the whole audience will see it and look at her. She feels like if that happened, all of the children will be angry with her for messing up, and the parents of the children will remember her as “the child that messed up during the school play.” She is extremely nervous about making one wrong action, and she is trying to talk her mother out of making her go.
The above situation may seem silly to an adult, but the feelings are all too real for Jenny, who suffers from anxiety and is a constant worrier. She always feels like she will mess up in some way, or that other people will remember her for one of her mistakes. She is very nervous about the school play, and it is eating her up inside. She gets butterflies whenever someone mentions the play, and she has spent many sleepless nights worrying about messing up during the play. Her worries may seem mediocre to the average adult, but to Jenny, the situation is extremely nerve-racking. This would be in comparison to an adult that is nervous about making a public speech to represent his business or some sort. Although some adults could do this with no struggle or worry at all, other adults may struggle and worry about this quite a bit. This goes for children too: some may worry about it, while others will do fine with it. The ones who worry about the play are usually the people who suffer with anxiety, specifically social anxiety.
Billy Not Having a Ride
Billy, a ten-year-old boy that just got dropped off at his soccer practice, has begun to think that his mother will be late coming to pick him back up. His coach always stays at the game until all of the players have been picked up from the practice. He always worries about him being the last person being picked up from practice. He always feels like he will be of trouble to the coach because of him being picked up last, thus making the coach irritated with him because of him being picked up late. This worry sticks with Billy throughout his whole practice. It even affects his ability to play soccer well. He begins to make mistakes in his soccer workouts, which makes him feel even worse.
The situation about Billy seems quite rare, but this is mostly because children tend to hold their worries in for a long time. Their worries often go unrecognized for an extended period of time. This is simply because many children think that their feelings of worry is of common occurrence among all children. They don’t understand that their thoughts of worry differ from any other child. Children tend to think that it is normal to worry about simply things, and they don’t realize that their thoughts of worry are actually a disorder known as anxiety. Usually, the thoughts of worry in a child tends to go unnoticed unless the child, for some reason, begins seeing a psychologist. Fortunately, many children do go see a psychologist sometime within their childhood years. This is when the psychologist begins to see that they have anxiety. In Billy’s situation, he seems to undergo generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), along with a possibility to have social anxiety.
Anxiety In Children Is All Too Real
Adults tend to think that a child’s worries are pointless. They may also think that their worries are silly, and they may also think that the period of childhood is a lot easier and “carefree” compared to that of adulthood. However, this is not the case. Children do go through hard times, with or without anxiety. However, those children that have anxiety tend to have a harder life, as the constant stress and worry associated with everyday life begins to take a toll on their body. This is very unfortunate, but luckily, most cases of anxiety in children can be controlled with cognitive behavior therapy. In other words, a psychologist will often be able to give children techniques to handle their anxiety. In the most extreme cases of anxiety (when a child’s anxiety is preventing him/her from completing their daily routine, or their anxiety is putting an extreme strain on their everyday life), medication may be prescribed to control their anxiety. However, most psychologists try to help the child handle their anxiety by simply by allowing the child to talk out their feelings and giving them strategies to help them in stressful situations. In short, adults need to realize that children have a hard life, and they need to help their child if they have some form of anxiety. They can’t simply push off their child’s feelings as “pointless,” or tell them how much harder adulthood is than childhood. Adults should understand that children with anxiety suffer greatly from their disorder, and they should always be there to help the child in any and all ways possible – even if that means getting them to a psychologist.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwardez/3980217199