Child Wellness: Kids and anxiety
Between school, studying, parents, and social expectations, kids are often dealing with stress. Marcie Fraser takes a look at how to teach your kids to manage stress.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Anxiety is an all too common problem faced by our children today.
"Early in childhood you generally we do see a lot of fear and trepidation," said Dr. Allen Stefane, a psychiatrist.
As kids grow up, some fear and anxiety is naturally. But for some tykes, the anxiety hangs around and often spikes when something new comes along, like school, and worry sets in.
"What if Mom disappears and doesn't come back to get me? What if something happens to mom when I am at school?" explained Dr. Stefane.
Some anxiety around starting school is a normal part of development.
"Kids will react with tantrums, crying, clinginess," Dr. Stefane said.
Most kids adapt to new schedules, but there are kids who don't.
"When anxiety becomes overwhelming and it last more than four weeks and it interferes with the child’s daily functioning, it becomes an anxiety disorder," said Dr. Stefane.
Signs your child may be developing an anxiety problem may include developing a new nervous habit like nail biting, headaches, clinginess or irrational fear of losing a parent.
"Dreams about their parents dying, all kinds of psychosomatic symptoms," said Dr. Stefane.
The longer a child is out of school, the more difficult it is to get them back.
"Studies have shown that kids who have significant anxiety disorder in the early years of school will have significant issue with English, Math and about forty percent of them, if not more, if not treated will drop out of high school," said Dr. Stefane.
If the anxiety lasts more than a month, therapy should be sought.
"Cognitive behavioral therapy, trying to retrain the thoughts and change the automatic thought and cognitive distortion into something more realistic. If therapy alone isn't helpful, you can consider pharmacology as well," said Dr. Stefane.
And a bit of advice for parents: What may not be stressing you, may be stressing your child. Keep an eye on the little things.
And the little things can be overly packed schedules, self induced pressure with school, friends or even enemies and a not so little thing, bullying. It may be going on and they aren't telling you.