Some children are born with an anxious temperament and seem to be anxious of many situations. Most young children experience fears of the dark, monsters, separation from parents, animals, and strangers. Other sources of anxiety for children arise from normal life and family transitions. Children go through many changes and transitions as they and their families grow and mature. In addition, difficult or even traumatic events that are out of the ordinary can happen to a child with the likelihood that anxiety will increase for that child.
How to Identify Children Who May Be Struggling With Anxiety
Children struggling with excessive anxiety may show the following:
- Pessimism and negative thinking patterns such as imagining the worst, over-exaggerating the negatives, rigidity and inflexibility, self-criticism, guilty thoughts, etc.
- Anger, aggression, restlessness, irritability, tantrums, opposition and defiance
- Constant worry about things that might happen or have happened
- Excessive clinginess and separation anxiety
- Poor memory and concentration
- Withdrawal from activities and family interactions
- Eating disturbances
- Sleeping difficulties, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, nightmares, or night terror
- Physical complaints such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.