Kids often feel concerned or worried about things in the world around them, from something under the bed to fear of failure or fitting in at school.
“Children experience a wide range of emotions as they grow, interact with and make sense of their world. Typically, children have fears and worries that are considered age-appropriate and ‘normal’,” explains Psychologist Rachael Kelly.
During this uncertain time, it’s ‘normal’ for your child to feel concerned and even anxious. It’s important to acknowledge these emotions as a normal response. If we, as adults, feel uncertain in these times, it’s reasonable for a child or teen to feel uncertain too. But how do you know if your child’s worry is normal or when it needs extra attention?
“If it seems that your child’s worries and fears are out of proportion to the situation, are not improving, or are causing distress that interferes with his learning, play or enjoyment of life, your child may be at risk of an anxiety disorder,” explains Rachael.
SOME SIGNS PARENTS MIGHT LOOK FOR THAT THEIR CHILD MAY BE EXPERIENCING ANXIETY
- Having lots of persistent worries and fears
- Seeking reassurance often
- Avoiding situations that make them feel anxious
- Complaining of physical pains (stomach aches, headaches)
- Fearful of risk-taking and getting upset easily
HOW TO HELP AT HOME
Talk to your child about their concerns. Reassure them and give them the facts about how they can protect themselves and their loved ones. Try and keep a sense of normality in your home. Also, be aware of the media reports and conversations they may overhear.
WHERE TO SEEK FURTHER SUPPORT
“The reassuring news is that anxiety disorders are treatable. There are a range of talking and behavioural therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Exposure Therapy that can help,” tells Rachael.
If you are concerned about your son or daughter, start with a conversation with the school counsellor. Depending on the presentation and severity, may suggest a brief school-based therapy intervention or will direct you to the appropriate service. You could also speak to your GP or mental health professional.