DOES MY CHILD HAVE ANXIETY?
Sometimes, anxiety can be disguised as difficult oppositional behaviours. Just as every child is unique, the way they manage anxiety can range from:
- meltdowns and tantrums
- anger and lashing out
- oppositional behaviours
- constantly needing reassurance
- refusing to take part or try things
- withdrawing or being overly cautious
Anxiety can take many forms. Children can be persistent worriers, who seem to worry about everything, be excessively shy, avoid new challenges, be socially withdrawn and have trouble making friends. Children may have trouble concentrating, have difficulty getting to sleep at night, or try hard to be perfect.
For those parents with children trying hard to be perfect, there can be lots of emotional meltdowns at home, with a glowing report card and a puzzled look from teachers when parents try to explain that home life is challenging.
For others, coping day to day is managed by the child avoiding activities - or asking the rest of the family to act in different ways, or join them in missing activities so that the child can cope.
For many parents, it simply becomes exhausting, especially when there are siblings. Or when the child's anxiety means they also struggle to sleep. And the exhaustion leads to conflict and disruption to family relationships.