Anxiety can show up differently in children than adults. That’s why it’s often mistaken for other things like defiance, laziness, overreaction or lying. Children and teens sometimes lack the language to describe what’s really going on and sometimes they’re just as puzzled by their behaviors. Anxiety is awful and the earlier it is dealt with, the better off the child will be later in life.
Ten signs that your child might have anxiety.
1. They are clingy and have a hard time separating from you or another caregiver.
2. They avoid doing certain things that others do easily—refuse to go in a store alone, afraid to ask a question in class, won’t spend time with peers.
3. Has unusual reactions to things such as riding in an elevator, going over a bridge, being in a room with the door closed.
4. Is moody and at times irritable. Difficult to console. Has trouble explaining why.
5. The child has a difficult time with change. It might take them a long time to adjust to minor changes in schedules or other things.
6. Refuses to go to school. The child might complain of headaches, stomach problems or other vague concerns.
7. Difficulty sleeping—they might wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep.
8. The child feels the need to engage in the same behavior over and over and becomes upset when unable to. An example of this is they need to check their homework several times to make sure it’s done correctly even when assured the homework has been done right.
9. Overly concerned with physical things. Might be worried that something is wrong with their heart or other parts of the body even though they are in good health.
10. Your child won’t take any risks. They play it safe. Example, while skilled in sports, they refuse to play.
One of these signs doesn’t necessarily mean your child has anxiety, but it could. The only way to accurately diagnose is to see a professional who will get a history of the problem and complete an assessment. If you’re worried about your child or teen, we can help. It’s hard having a child go through something and feel like you aren’t able to figure it out or help. We’re here for you and your child. Call our office at 302-292-1334 x 101 to get started.