What Truly is Anxiety and is My Child Going Through a Phase?
Anxiety has become a hot topic for us to talk about but the truth is we can all experience it on some level. We think of anxiety as worrying about a certain situation and outcome to the point that it is disrupting our daily lives. Anxiety is also our body’s response in heighten situation to prepare ourselves to run way from danger, freeze in place, or fight what we are facing. It can also be a motivator to encourage our minds to get things done when we have been avoiding. Knowing when anxiety is providing the extra adrenaline and motivation or causing disruption is the factor of knowing if the anxiety is a phase or not.
Determining if your child’s behavior and anxiety is a phase involves looking at the big picture of your child’s health. Here are a few guidelines to watch. First, are your child’s worries sensible and reasonable to the situation? This also means that the anxiety is not being exaggerated but is a legitimate concern in context. For example, is your child concerned that they might not do well on a test or are they worried that if they don’t do well then they will fail the whole class and not pass their grade because of one test. Second, your child is open to help when their worry increases. When your child becomes concerned, yourself or a trusted adult easily comfort them. Third, the anxious symptoms are limited to a specific situation or event. For example, your child is only concerned with certain worry, such as the weather, friends, or something with school versus having their worry being concerned with everything they think about. Lastly, the anxious symptoms will lessen over a fair amount of time. This can mean the worries will decrease after the specific event or after your child has been comforted.
It is important to remember we all can go through phases of experiencing anxiety or worrying about certain events. If the symptoms persist past the specific events and cannot be comforted, the anxiety is no longer a phase but can become problematic behavior that may need to seek further counsel.