A recent research published in the journal Infant and Child Development reveled the risk of children developing social anxiety disorder by their pre-teen years increases if there were complications during the time of their birth. According to the study, 149 children between the ages of 9 to 12 years were observed for behavioral inhibition which is an inclination to display fearful temperament and withdrawal in unacquainted settings and situations. These children were also investigated for social anxiety symptoms with the use of parent-and child-reports.
The investigation also suggested that behavioral inhibition acted as a corridor between social anxiety symptoms and birth complications. Lead author, Dr. Santiago Morales, from the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland, stated that this study laid the foundation for future work to investigate if childhood personality is a development pathway through which birth complications may give rise to symptoms of social anxiety.
Tips to reduce anxiety in children
Anxiety is fairly common in children with 1 in 8 children suffering from the same. However, it is important to channelize that anxiety so that it doesn’t affect one’s quality of life. Some of the ways through which adults can help their children deal with anxiety are:
Encouraging them to face the fears: When we are anxious, the usual impulse is to avoid a situation. This, however, doesn’t alleviate anxiety, rather it may exacerbate it. Therefore, children must be encouraged to face their fears by avoiding nothing and facing everything. Over time, they will learn to get a hold of their anxiety.
Telling them that it is ok to be imperfect: Parents want to see their children excel at school work, sports, and performance activities. However, it is important to understand that a child is bound to make mistakes. Children should be taught that it is the journey that is important and that there will be many ups and downs along the way. They should be told that it is important to perform and that it is ok to falter and fail.
Focusing on the positives: A lot of times stressed out and anxious children fall prey to negative thinking and self-criticism. They fail to focus on their positive qualities and achievements. Parents must tell their children to break the cycle of negativity, focus on their plus points and work hard to convert their negatives into positives.
Scheduling relaxing activities: It is very important for children to indulge in non-competitive fun activities to unwind and enjoy. They should be encouraged to devote sometime every day to fun activities like painting, playing with kids their age, cycling, yoga, etc.
Being a role model: Children have a habit of following their adults invariably. So, if you face fears, so will your child. If you come out of negative thinking easily, so will your child. Also emphasize on the importance of self-care which is crucial to keeping anxiety at bay.
Rewarding the child: If you reward a child, they will feel motivated and engage in those behaviors again which fetched them a reward. Therefore, whenever a child faces their fears, it is important to reward them by hugging them or simply giving them something like a cookie or a cake.
Ensuring good sleep ritual: Sleep deprivation and disturbed sleeping patterns give rise to anxiety. Thus, ensuring that the child sleeps on the same time every day is important. One must also ensure that the child is away from electronic gadgets at-least 30 minutes before sleeping.
Encouraging the child to express themselves: As a parent, one must welcome their child to express their anxiety. Instead of just brushing it aside, one must acknowledge the child’s anxiety and seek help as and when needed.
Road to recovery
It is important for children to understand at a very young age that anxiety is a part of life and in some ways, it is healthy too for it makes one driven. However, if the anxiety remains untreated and becomes chronic it increases the risk of poor performance in school, missing out on important social experiences, and engaging in substance abuse. Moreover, anxious children grow into anxious adults. Therefore, it is important that if one is diagnosed with anxiety, at any age, it must be addressed immediately with the help of a professional.
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of an anxiety disorder or any other mental disorder, it is advisable to seek help from Anxiety Treatment Centers of Colorado. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 891-2539 to speak with our anxiety treatment advisors. They can help you understand the repercussions of chronic anxiety and help you choose the right anxiety disorder treatment program. You can also chat online to a representative for further assistance.