Advertisement

Childhood Anxiety


When we think of anxiety, we tend to think of the shrinking violet stereotype. The quiet kid with darting eyes, biting their nails in the corner, who you know really just wants to go home.  But anxiety in children can manifest in some very surprising ways. Kids don’t have the tools and coping strategies to handle what they are feeling, so they can resort to acting out their fight or flight feelings of panic.  Many adults may misinterpret these behaviors as anger issues, defiance, or hyperactivity.

Let’s take a look at the hypothetical Johnny. He is a seven-year-old boy in the second grade. Johnny’s grades are not great, and he constantly interrupts the teacher. He does not sit still and wanders the classroom without permission. He lacks confidence in his school work and is resistant to learning new skills. When faced with punishment for his actions, he can be belligerent to the point of screaming at the teacher and attempting to flee school grounds. He ends up in the principal’s office quite often. His teacher believes him to have ADHD and possible anger issues.  Upon having him evaluated, his parents come to find that he scores very high on anxiety.  

Anxiety is essentially an almost-constant state of apprehension. And for some children, that apprehension does manifest in the more expected and typical ways. But for others, it’s constantly activating their fight or flight reflex. So, they fight. Or they flee.

Here are some things you can look for to identify possible anxiety in your own children.  Do they seem to worry frequently? The worry can be about anything from messing up on their homework to making sure you don’t forget the ice cream you promised yesterday. They may ask for constant reassurance that they are doing a good job, or that you haven’t forgotten about them. They may pitch fits frequently or have frequent headaches and stomachaches. Talk to your child about what they are experiencing.

So what can you do if you suspect anxiety in your child? Have them evaluated by a professional. Many of these symptoms can also point to a learning disorder, and the only good way to tell the difference is getting a professional involved. There are several agencies here in Baton Rouge that can assist you with that, such as The Baton Rouge Clinic, Family Services of Greater Baton Rouge, or The Post Trauma Institute.  

Seeking professional treatment can be key to getting kids feeling happy and healthy again. In the meantime, try practicing mindfulness with your child. When they start to get agitated, ask them what they are feeling, or say “You seem really upset/angry/sad right now.” This can spur on a conversation about identifying their feelings. You can also let them know that you aren’t worried. Since it is your job as their parent is to care for them, you would be worried if there were a problem. You can try breathing exercises, yoga, or progressive relaxation techniques together. There are some awesome free resources on YouTube for kids.

Most importantly, remember that there is no shame in seeking help for yourself or your children. We all need a little bit of help sometimes.

Be the first to review this item!


Bookmark this

25 Oct 2017


By April Blackburn LMSW

Recent Articles more articles

Sleepaway for Mama: Leaving My Daughters Overnight for the First Time

in Things To Do, Family Life, Mari Walker

In more than seven and a half years of parenting, I had never left my children overnight until recently. Other than her recent trip to pony camp, the only time I was away from my older daughter was when my younger daughter was born. I stayed in the h

Sure Signs You’re a Mom to School-Aged Children

in Family Life, Amy Delaney, School

It’s August–do you know where your school supply list is?! This school year snuck up on us like no other. We moved in May and our summer was literally turned upside down, and now it’s August and school is upon us. As I entered the scramble to prepare

4 Reasons Why Every Child Should See Inside Out (And 3 Reasons Parents Should Watch It, Too)

in Health and Wellness, Things To Do, Tommie Loftin

In 2015, Disney Pixar released a movie called Inside Out. In the movie, a young girl named Riley has to move across the country because her father gets a new job. When she is uprooted from her simple, Midwestern life and brought into the hustle and b

One-on-One with WWE Champion Kofi Kingston

in Things To Do, Family Life

I recently had the extreme pleasure to speak with WWE Champion Kofi Kingston about his life as a wrestler and dad. To say that I was excited for this interview is an understatement. Add in the fact that he is also my son’s favorite wrestler, it was t

Featured Listings more listings

Louisiana Art & Science Museum

Louisiana Art & Science Museum

in Party Venues

Being a princess for a day, digging for dinosaurs, becoming a pirate...whatever your child is dreaming about for his or her next birthday, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum has it. Our birthday parties feature a variety of well­-loved themes in a un

Cajun Cuties Mobile Petting Zoo & Pony Rides

Cajun Cuties Mobile Petting Zoo & Pony Rides

in Party Entertainment

Using their background with animals and joy for sharing their passion with others, this mobile petting zoo and pony rides services Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. That's right, that means that for each party, they will come straight to your ho

Skate Galaxy

Skate Galaxy

in Party Venues

Five packages to choose from; roller skating; laser tag; rockwall climbing; 2-3 hour private party room; pitchers of soft drinks; pizza: pepperoni, sausage, or cheese; Bluebell Ice Cream cups; skate theme plates, cups, napkins; cake knife; Skate Gala

Advertisement
Newsletter