Anxiety is a very complicated feeling. Everyone has dealt with some level of anxiety throughout their lives but not everyone develops an anxiety disorder. Kids may show signs of many different forms of anxiety, some different than adults and others not so much. As a continuation on my posts about anxiety I wanted to outline what signs and symptoms of anxiety kids may often go through.
Signs of Anxiety in Kids
There are many symptoms and signs that kids are suffering from anxiety. It is important as parents for us to understand some of the symptoms so when or if we see them in our children we can help them through it. This can be hard as parents if we either do not suffer from anxiety ourselves or do not understand our own anxiety. I know of many adults as well as have seen many articles and videos from adults that are explaining how they did not know their own anxiety when they were kids. This specific video is a great one to share ‘Things People With Anxiety Want Their Friends to Know’. I truly believe every one of these statements can be helpful in helping children with anxiety.
- Aches and pains with no medical reason. This most often can be headaches or stomachaches.
- Can become fidgety or hyperactive. This can often be misunderstood as ADD or ADHD.
- Starts to shake or sweat in intimidating situations. May say they just don’t feel well due to the physical signs.
- Constantly tenses muscles. May contribute to the aches and pains too.
- Has trouble sleeping.
- Cries often and can be extremely sensitive
- Becomes angry with no clear reason, also relates to can be extremely sensitive.
- Afraid of even minor mistakes. Perfectionism can be very hard and can cause a lot of anxiety in kids and adults.
- Has panic attacks. Much of the time it can be unclear that it was a panic attack.
- Phobias (dogs, spiders, small spaces)
- Exaggerated fears such as of death or natural disasters
- Worried or afraid about school, avoiding school
- Nightmares of losing a loved one
- Asking “What If?” constantly. Especially when it comes to a fear such as a fear of losing a loved one and questions such as “What if mom died?”
- Avoids participating in school
- Remains silent when asked a question or suppose to be working in a group
- Avoids social situations with peers (birthday parties, after school activities, etc)
- Refuses to speak to strangers in stores or restaurants. I always made my dad order my food for me at restaurants.
- Says “I can’t” without a real reason.
(This list comes from a great article here)
For myself, as a child, I was a shy kid, but really no more then usual. The main instance where my anxiety tended to cause me panic was during school. I was extremely anxious over talking in class, whether it be to raise my hand and answer a question, to be called on randomly, or to actually stand up front and give a speech. Anxiety in kids around school is very important to identify because anxiety can be the cause of many different school related issues, like skipping classes, bad grades, hyperactivity, anger, and so much more.
I will be expanding more on anxiety disorders in kids soon. Check out my previous post on my own anxiety as a mom here. What have you seen in kids or adults that are signs or symptoms of anxiety?