This continues our new series, all about homeschooling a child with anxiety. Today, we discuss the physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of anxiety in our children, as well as how we can help.
Last week, we talked about the difference between stress, anxiety, and perfectionism, how they all feed into each other, and what we can do to recognize which one we’re dealing with in our children, or even ourselves.
Today, we’re going to focus on the various symptoms you may be noticing in your child.
The Emotional Symptoms Of Anxiety in Children
Let’s begin with the emotional symptoms of anxiety.
Many anxious kiddos are extremely sensitive. As young kids, they cry easily, are often in tune with others’ emotions, and they’re sensitive towards others. You hear the term ‘highly sensitive person’. It’s not an actual diagnosis. It’s simply a descriptive term for someone who is tuned to other’s emotions. My own child, who struggles with a generalized anxiety disorder, is extremely sensitive. She’s very intuitive.
Anxious kids can also be easily angered.
Sometimes, anger is a way of controlling the situation, because if we can burst out emotionally, we have some control over the situation and can possibly drive reactions down a path that we are expecting. When we lash out, we don’t have to deal with the uncertainty of it. Kids react with anger because they know they can push certain reactions in people around them by being angry.
It’s more of a control thing brought on by the uncertainties of the world.
Related Post: When Anxiety Looks Like Anger
Emotional symptoms of anxiety can look like extreme perfectionism. Perfectionism is also a way of controlling a situation. It’s a compulsive need to be perfect and do everything exactly right. It’s also the measuring of your own worth vs. the ideal.
Extreme perfectionism can be a sign of anxiety because it’s another way of controlling what’s happening in an uncertain world.
Kids who are anxious can also have a test anxiety. They can struggle with panic attacks and phobias. They can have exaggerated fears.
An example of an exaggerated fear is a child worried at night because they are concerned their parents won’t be there when they wake up. Exaggerated fears are emotional signs that your child may be struggling with anxiety.
Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety In Children
Physical symptoms of anxiety can bring headaches and stomach aches. These are the kids who, if they were in school, would be at the nurse’s office all the time.
Some kids who have some physical symptoms of anxiety may refuse to eat, or they may struggle with excessive eating. Anxiety may also show itself as restlessness, trouble sleeping or staying asleep, distractibility or hyperactivity. Sweating and shaking sensations or tense muscles, are also signs. Some children also have bathroom difficulties when they’re anxious.
Physical manifestations of anxiety:
- Stomach aches
- Refusal to eat or excessive eating
- Trouble sleeping
- Tense muscles
- Bathroom difficulties
If you are seeing any of these signs, you may consider consulting a doctor and/or therapist for help, and to rule out any other biological causes.
Behavioral Symptoms Of Anxiety In Children
Behavioral symptoms of anxiety can be difficult to discern in our children.
One example is a child who constantly asks anxious questions. What if our car breaks down? What if we get into an accident? What if dad goes off on a business trip and never comes back? What if mom goes out for a night with the girls and doesn’t come back? What if, what if, what if – these are kids who are always thinking about the worst case scenario.
Behavioral symptoms of kids with anxiety may also look like avoiding group activities. Conversely, it can look like seeking out group activities because it’s easier to get lost in a crowd and not stand out.
Often times our anxious kids can look silent and preoccupied, like they’re in their own little world. They may avoid social situations or have emotional outbursts or angry when separating from their parents.
Anxiety is a shape-shifting deceptive cloud that can masquerade as many, many different things. Anxiety is just as different in one person as it is manifesting itself in another.
Talking To Our Children About Their Anxiety
This set of dynamic worksheets will help you work with your child, as they learn more about themselves, their stressors, and the symptoms of anxiety.
Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast #159: Physical, Emotional, and Behavioral Symptoms Of Anxiety
In this episode of the Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast, Colleen continues a new series, all about anxiety and our atypical kids. This discussion includes information about the physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of anxiety in our children and how we can help.
Links And Resources From Today’s Show:
- SPONSOR: CTCMath
- Anxiety vs. Stress vs. Perfectionism: Helping Our Children Cope
- Great Gifts for Children with Anxiety
- RLL #55: Helping Your Child Manage Perfectionism
- RLL #52: Overcoming Perfectionism and Finding Joy in Homeschooling
- The Best Advice I Can Give You: Become A Student Of Your Child
- The Anxious Parent of the Anxious Child | Your Anxiety is Not Identical
- RLL #86: All About Anxiety with Dr. Dan Peters
- Anxiety Toolkit Resources
Leave a Rating or Review
Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!
- Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
- Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
- Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.
Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!