Most of us are aware of the feeling of anxiety. Thanks to all the books and online resources, it is easier to deal with it. However, the case is different for kids. They are still too young to understand what’s going on. They just feel extremely afraid and alone.
According to experts, anxiety affects around eight percent of children under 18 years old. Anxiety, according to Dr. Arthur Lavin, is a complicated phenomenon. This is part of one’s life. It’s not brought by events or experiences but these can, of course, affect anxiety. Simply put, different people have different levels of anxiety.
To date, there is a large number of kids who are affected. However, only 6 out of 10 are diagnosed. We understand that there are different reasons why some children with anxiety are not treated. It can be because of financial challenges, lack of access to medical help, or parents not knowing about the condition.
Alternative treatment for kids with anxiety
But we should not lose hope. At Yale University, there is an experimental program that might help kids suffering from anxiety. Instead of providing them with conventional treatment, the parents will be guided so that they can help their child the best possible way. This program is called SPACE or what they call Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions.
What was the approach before?
Years ago, what experts would do is to involve parents in such a way that they can treat their kids similar to a professional therapist. This includes breathing exercises and exposing children to their fears. However, this technique does not provide a significant impact on kids.
What is the proposed approach?
The focus now is to change the behavior of the parents. The objective is for the parents to show validation and acceptance of the kid’s condition. They need to strongly believe that their children can cope up with their anxiety.
You see, most of the initial responses that parents do is sending a message that their kids cannot cope or tolerate the situation. And that’s not the message that we would want to send across.
What are the signs of anxiety in children?
As parents, you have to watch out for these early signs so you can take immediate action.
- Worries about things far in future
- Nightmares about losing loved ones
- Having meltdowns
- Lack of appetite in school
- Panic attacks
- Refuses to use restrooms except at home
- Afraid of making mistakes
- Restless and hyperactive
- Easily gets mad
- Sweats in certain situations
- Too sensitive
- Trouble sleeping
- Often cries
- Asks a lot of ‘what ifs’
- Avoids social activities in school
How is it being diagnosed?
Anxiety can be diagnosed by a professional. While you can already see clear symptoms, never jump into a conclusion as your kid might be experiencing a different medical condition. Also, remember that there are different types of anxiety and only experts can provide you with a clearer understanding.
If you believe that a professional is needed to further understand your child’s condition, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment right away.