What is Child Anxiety


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Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems experienced by young people

child anxiety

What is Child Anxiety?

Shannyn Wilson Psychology is a boutique anxiety clinic in Kew, Melbourne, with a special interest in treating all forms of anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults. Head to our Home Page to find out more about our Clinic, or continue to read below for some helpful signs and symptoms to look out, and ways to seek additional support.

Children and adolescents experience anxiety much the same as adults do.

Child anxiety is like an internal stress and can generally include the following three categories of symptoms:

1. Worry Thoughts & Feelings: having lots of worries or fears, dread and worried anticipation, rumination, worries that are disproportionate to the event or situation
2. Physical Sensations: panic and distress in the body, including sore stomachs, butterflies in the stomach, headaches, racing heart, nausea, shaking, digestive issues such as diarrhea
3. Behaviours: anxious children tend to display strong avoidant behaviours such as resisting and refusing to go somewhere or do something. They seek to stay close to parents and excessive reassurance. They may display anger and protest behaviours. Some children may also appear to be easily startled and are on ‘high alert’ for danger

10 Common Symptoms That May Signal Child Anxiety:

  1. Uncontrollable worry, excessive rumination or worry leading up to certain events, or a tendency to be fearful of lots of things
  2. Resists trying new things or going to new places, difficulties adjusting to change
  3. Complains of reoccurring sore stomachs, headaches, feeling sick, butterflies in stomach, diarrhea without any medical basis for symptoms
  4. Needs a parent present to fall asleep (depending on age)
  5. Difficulties falling to sleep or staying asleep
  6. Refusing to go to school, school camps, or sleepovers
  7. Gets very distressed when separating from parents
  8. Strongly dislikes making mistakes, likes things “just so”
  9. Have consistently high standards for themselves, and expresses distress when faced with failure
  10. Seeks excessive reassurance
Child Psychology 2

When Should I Seek Professional Help?

It is normal for children to feel anxious at certain times in their lives, and many children will manage these situations without any lingering difficulties. However, some tell tale signs that a child may be experiencing more anxiety than is typical for them is when their worry, fear and anxiety:

  • Significantly interferes with, or disrupts their ability to carry out everyday tasks and activities that is typical for a child of that age
  • Has been persisting for more than a couple of weeks
  • Prevents and holds them back from doing the things they want to do
  • Interferes with their ability to eat, sleep, and relax, or their relationships
  • They seem more emotionally reactive than usual, eg, more sensitive, and doesn’t tend to ‘bounce back’ from minor upsets
  • They are becoming withdrawn, sad, or showing more aggressive behaviours

Speaking to an experienced Psychologist can assist parents to better understand their child’s worries and fears, and provide an opportunity to help their child gain knowledge, strategies and support to build resilience, independence, and coping skills for life.

To find out more about how Shannyn Wilson Psychology supports children and their parents with Child Anxiety, contact reception on 0422 868 056.

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