Anxiety in Children & Youth

In an ideal world, childhood is fun, full of adventures and discoveries, and stress free.  Unfortunately, anxiety preoccupies many children the same way it plagues their parents.  Going back to school can intensifies the anxiety many children experience.

It is easy to blame the anxiety solely on external causes such as separation from loved ones, school bullying, and/or academic performance.  Parents, educators, students, and therapists should certainly take steps to remove sources of stress and reassure the children in your care.  However, many child developmental psychologist are beginning to wonder if over pampering, over protecting, and offering too many choices to young children is the cause of long term anxiety.  We are not talking about letting children cry it out when they are in distress, minimizing/ ignoring a problem that does exist, or ruling with authoritarian iron fist.

Instead rushing to the aid of your child at the first sign of trouble, watch from a safe distance and give him time to come to terms with it.  See if she can come up with a solution uniquely her own.  Allow your him to make a few mistakes, take some risks, and learn the natural consequences.  Pain and suffering is part of what matures us and make us compassionate human beings.   Don’t give your child too many choices before she is developmentally ready.  You can teach your young children decision making skills by showing them your own ability to make a decision and stick to it. Hold on to Your Kids by G. Mate and G. Neufeld is one of many books on this topic.

Anxiety, like depression, tends to run in families.  It may be genetics and brain chemistry, or it may be learned behaviour through watching parents with their own struggles.  Ultimately, the best way to help your sons or daughters with anxiety is by working on ourselves.

As a Naturopath, I can help you and your child improve your biology using herbs, nutritional support, gene therapy, and homeopathic remedies. But a good psychotherapist or psychologist is also important to correcting unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

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