Find Out Exactly What You Are Dealing With
Earlier you read about the variety of anxiety conditions that children and teens may have. Understanding which one your child is experiencing can help you and the school to find the best strategies to help.
It’s also important to realize that anxiety is often experienced with other conditions, such as depression or ADHD. ADHD can also appear to have the same symptoms as anxiety. The presence of another condition may make someone more susceptible to anxiety because of the increased stress caused by other conditions. If anxiety is already present then stress from other disorders may make it worse.
Each person will have a unique experience with anxiety. Be sure to check with your child’s care provider if there are any other conditions present.
Here are some specific ways you can support your child or teen who has school anxiety.
Will Cbd Make My Child High
This is the first question most parents ask before deciding to give CBD to their children.
The answer to this question is a resounding no as long as the THC content of the chosen product is below 0.3%.
THC is the primary psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. This is the compound responsible for the high associated with .
CBD is different it doesnt have any psychoactive effects.
Allowing Your Child To Avoid The Situation Which Causes Anxiety Doesn’t Work Either
To keep telling your child to do something they don’t want to do can be distressing for you and your child. It can be easy to give in and let your child avoid the situation. But, avoiding the thing causing anxiety means your child is less likely to overcome their avoidance and cope with their anxiety. It’s better to push your child a bit so that they start to do things that are slightly difficult for them. That way they learn to realise they can cope with their anxiety.
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Signs Of Anxiety In Children
Even happy-go-lucky kids tend to worry more once they hit age 7 or 8, as they gain a greater understanding of the world around them and realize how much isn’t in their control. “At this age, there’s a shift from monster-under-the-bed kind of worries to real-life ones, whether it’s that a natural disaster will strike or that they’ll let the baseball team down,” says Jenn Berman, Psy.D., Parents advisor and author of The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids.
The difference between normal worry and an anxiety disorder is severity. A young child may not realize her worries are unrealistic or exaggerated, and she may only express them through behavior. If he’s anxious that something might happen to a parent, for example, he may have trouble separating or falling asleep. If he can’t stop worrying about getting sick, he might seek constant reassurance or wash his hands obsessively.
Children who have severe anxiety will also avoid triggers. If a child refuses to participate in activities other children enjoy, throws a tantrum before every appointment with the dentist or doctor, gets sick on Sunday nights, or spends a great deal of time in the school nurse’s office, serious anxiety may be the culprit.
Help Them Go From What If To What Is
You may not know this, but humans are capable of time travel. In fact, mentally we spend a lot of time in the future. For someone experiencing anxiety, this type of mental time travel can exacerbate the worry. A typical time traveler asks what-if questions: What if I cant open my locker and I miss class?What if Suzy doesnt talk to me today?
Research shows that coming back to the present can help alleviate this tendency. One effective method of doing this is to practice mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness brings a child from what if to what is. To do this, help your child simply focus on their breath for a few minutes.
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Dont Ask Leading Questions
If any of your kids suffer from anxiety, avoid asking them leading questions, it would only make things worse. They would feel pressure and dont want to open up to you.
However, you can ask them close-ended questions like how are you feeling about the math test tomorrow? I hope you have read your book for the test? Are you going to school with your friends, etc.?
Questions like this would help you to have a great conversation with your anxious child. And after a while, they would gradually open up to you about their anxiety.
These are some of the ways you can use natural methods and supplements for a childs anxiety
What Causes Childhood Anxiety
Your childs anxiety is “just the luck of the genetic draw,” explains psychologist Steven Kurtz, Ph.D., president of Kurtz Psychology Consulting in New York City, who specializes in childhood anxiety. “There’s a sort of smoke detector in your head that’s supposed to go off when the brain perceives danger, and it triggers the fight-or-flight response,” says Dr. Kurtz. “In anxious kids, their smoke detector is set to a much more sensitive level, and they also have a much more dramatic reaction.” In fact, research has shown that differences in stress response can be detected in babies as young as 6 weeks old, proving that nature is at least as important as nurture when it comes to anxiety.
There’s a family connection too: Kids with an anxious parent are up to seven times more likely to have an anxiety disorder compared with kids whose parents are not anxious. The link is both biological and behavioral, explains Golda Ginsburg, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut. “There is an inherited risk, but when parents are overprotective or model their own fears, they increase their child’s risk of anxiety.”
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Help A Child With Anxiety
Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable conditions. If anxiety symptoms are interfering with your child’s normal daily activities, talk to your child’s pediatrician, a child psychologist, and/or a child psychiatrist. For school-age kids, a school guidance counselor can also offer support, advice, and a referral for further evaluation and treatment.
It is also important to note that just as with adult women, girls experience anxiety at about twice the rate as boys. Because anxiety tends to grow worse if left untreated, experts suggest that all girls age 13 and older should be screened for anxiety during routine health exams.
There are also things that parents can do at home to help children learn how to manage their feelings of anxiety. Tactics that may help:
- Don’t avoid what your child fears. While this may offer short-term relief, using avoidance as a coping mechanism reinforces the anxiety and worsens it over time.
- Offer comfort and model positive responses. Listen to your child’s concerns, but be careful not to reinforce these fears. Instead, help your child practice relaxation techniques while modeling appropriate, non-fearful responses to the source of your child’s anxiety.
- Help your child learn to tolerate their fear. Allowing your child to be gradually exposed to the source of their fear while using relaxation techniques to calm their fear response can help them learn to tolerate distress and eventually learn that there is nothing to fear.
Causes Of Childhood Anxiety Disorder
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health , both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Research shows that biology, biochemistry, life situations, and learned behaviors all play a role. Many anxious kids have anxious family members, says Alvord. Children model behaviors on what they see, she adds.
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What Types Of Anxiety Are Common In Children
- Very anxious and upset when parted from parents and caregivers refusal to attend camp, sleepovers, or play dates worry that bad things will happen to self or loved ones while separated.
- Social anxiety: Strong fear of social situations very anxious and self-conscious around others worry about being judged or humiliated.
- Specific phobia: Severe, irrational fear set off by a situation or thing, such as thunderstorms, worry about vomiting, or insects.
Getting Help For Your Child
Its a good idea to seek professional support if self-help strategies are not making the situation better and anxiety is affecting your childs life – for example if they are feeling persistently anxious, often having distressing thoughts, or avoiding things like going outside or speaking to others.
There are different places where you can find help for your child. Your GP, your child’s school and considering whether counselling or therapy might help are good places to start.
You can find out more about speaking to GPs, finding a counsellor or therapist, accessing Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services , getting help from your childs school and finding local services on our guide to getting help for your child.
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Using Medication To Treat Anxiety
Prescription medications can be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. They are also often used in conjunction with CBT. In fact, research studies show that a combination of CBT and medication work better for children ages 7-17 than either treatment alone.
However, when teens have mild to moderate functional impairments, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends deferring the use of medication.
As with all medications, prescriptions used to treat anxiety have risks. They are prescribed, however, when a physician or psychiatrist thinks the benefits outweigh those risks.
When Should I Seek Professional Help For My Anxious Child
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and our experts, you should consult a psychologist or psychiatrist with experience treating children with an anxiety disorder when the childs behavior or anxiety:
- Disrupts the household and interferes with family activities and life
- When the child gets upset multiple times a day or week
- When the frequency and intensity of the fears escalate .
- When the anxiety leads to significant avoidance behavior. The child continually and consistently makes excuses to avoid school or other situations that may provoke anxiety.
- When the disorder is making it difficult for the child to interact with, make or keep friends.
- When sleep habits are disrupted
- When you begin to see compulsive behaviors and rituals such as repeated hand washing, counting, checking things and when the child refuses or is unable to leave the house without performing these rituals.
- When your child shows a pattern of physical symptoms that are disruptive and detrimental to the child
- When your child experiences panic attacks characterized by heart palpitations, sweating, nausea, hyperventilation.
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There Are Effective Treatments For Anxiety
Treatment is tailored to the diagnosis. Effective options include:
- Lifestyle changes, such as skipping caffeine, exercising regularly, and avoiding medicines or substances that might cause anxiety symptoms.
- Mind-body approaches, such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and techniques to ease muscle tension and promote calm.
- Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. CBT teaches people to challenge and reframe distorted or unhelpful anxious thinking, because thoughts influence feelings and actions. Exposure therapy helps people tolerate and calm anxiety by gradually exposing a person to feared situations or objects under guidance from a therapist.
- Medicines, such as short-acting drugs called benzodiazepines, which are taken as needed when anxiety spikes. Low doses of some antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , help relieve anxiety when taken daily.
Often, a combination of approaches is best. Relieving anxiety with medicine while using CBT or exposure therapy to strengthen coping skills and help retrain the brain can do much to make anxiety manageable.
Giving Your Child Encouragement
You can help your child face and confront what theyre afraid of . You can also support them in taking small, positive steps forward with your support and guidance.
backs this up while too much or too little encouragement has been found to cause anxious toddlers to withdraw, moderate encouragement helped reduce some separation anxiety.
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Is It Legal To Give Cbd To Children
Recreational cannabis products containing more than 0.3 percent THC are not acceptable for children. In fact, its completely illegal to give products high in THC to children.
However, as weve discussed, CBD doesnt have any intoxicating effects. Its treated as a nutritional supplement in the United States. Most countries around the world consider CBD to the same degree.
Modern extraction techniques allow manufacturers to remove the THC from their final products allowing them to be given safely and legally to children.
With that said, its wise to consult with your childs doctor before giving them any supplements of any kind.
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Books For Children With Anxiety
Books are a part of every gift-giving situation for us. Birthdays, holidays, whatever we love sharing good books with friends and family alike.
What to do When You Worry Too Much This is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalized anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. It includes a note to parents by psychologist and author Dawn Huebner, PhD.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety. For those worries that are not in anyones control a worry hat is introduced. A fun read for Wilmas of all ages!
What to do When Youre Scared and Worried From a dread of spiders to panic attacks, kids have worries and fears, just like adults. This is a book kids can turn to when they need advice, reassurance, and ideas. Theyll find out where fears and worries come from, practice Fear Chasers and Worry Erasers, and learn to seek help for hard-to-handle fears they cant manage on their own.
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How To Help Your Child Get Over Test Anxiety
Every day. Focus on the positive. Start noticing the many things your child is already doing well and tell them.