4 Signs of anxiety in children... what they are, how to recognize them and what to do
Hello everybody, welcome to the, I don't knowJack about parenting podcast and today I'm going to share with you four ways to help your kids overcome anxiety.
Some very startling statistics came up
Hello everybody. Welcome to episode four of the, I don't know Jack about parenting podcast for parents. My name is Ryan Roy and I am the author of "Be The Dad You Wish You Had, 40 power lessons to becoming a powerful dad". You could access that on www.bethedadyouwishyouhad.com and today's episode is about anxiety. I was reading an article recently about the anxiety and children and then I happened to be listening to another podcast and some very startling statistics came up. Um, I will tell you, and I'll talk about a little bit further in this podcast about how I suffered from anxiety and as a child and didn't know that's what it was as I had panic attacks. Uh, but if you go back to my first episode of this podcast, I share with you a story about how my oldest son, uh, had an episode where he gave himself a black eye and frustration.
So obviously recently I've been reading about what could have caused that or this anxiety and I came up with an article and it's the 10 ways to curb anxiety in children. And I'm going to identify four of those. I'll share all 10 with you, but I'm really gonna Focus in on four of them that I've identified that we need to shift and change in our house. Uh, and I think that just makes sense for you, the listener. And I'm just gonna start with number one. Number one way to curb anxiety in children is simply to know the signs, right? So according to physicians, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Symptoms include a racing or pounding of the heart, and I experienced that as a young child, heaviness in the chest, difficulty breathing, body shakes or calm or clammy hands. So this goes back to when it says it's the most common mental illness in the United States.
The pounding of his heart, he's having difficulty breathing
Listen to what I heard. 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety. They say that it is more common than get this the common cold, and when I heard that my eyes lit up and I was like, wow, my my son, my own child, which I am the author of, be the dad you wish you had. He shouldn't have these types of challenges, but it all goes to show that we all don't know everything. And if we're faced with a challenge, what do we need to do? We need to research it, attack it, and not just rely on the medical industry because I'm bringing him to his physician saying he says, he has a heavy chest. He's saying that he has a quickness in, in his, the pounding of his heart, he's having difficulty breathing, so they send them to a breathing specialist to check for asthma, to check for a, some type of, um, uh, asthma or allergies.
And I've never suffered from allergies. My wife never has, neither one of us have asthma. It doesn't, isn't causing the in the, uh, the family. There's no heredity there. Uh, there is no smoking around him. So all the things that lead to that is they're testing the symptom and I want to get to what the problem is. Uh, so then know the definition of what anxiety is, that's number two, right? So check for signs and these are signs of him having anxiety and they have him on inhalers. So number two is, uh, the definition of anxiety is an abnormal or overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked with psychological science or physiological science. Sorry, anxiety occurs occasionally within all children. So it's normal for them to have some type of anxiety such as, you know, a monster under their bed, or I'm scared to take my math tests.
So parents must allow for some autonomy and independence
Those are perfectly normal, but if your child is consistently or constantly afraid, you may want to start taking note as it could overcome them. So then research number three is research some answers. So when your a child, anxiety begins to dictate his or her behavior is time to consult with your physician. See, we immediately went to the physician, right? And they're not even looking at anxiety they're treating it as if it's something other than anxiety or depression, right? So, but in some cases, this anxiety can lead to depression. So you want to start researching in managing this, uh, right away. So I'm going to start with the first one, which is number four, which is do not micro manage. See micromanaging. Every single detail of your child's activities can create anxiety, right? Looking over your shoulder, hey, did you do this? Did you do that?
Uh, and if they seem to be walking on eggshells in your presence, you may be, or I may be or my wife may be right in the household, we may be a little bit more controlling. So parents must allow for some autonomy and independence. So I know in our house I am giving him more choice, more freedoms to do things and we're not overlooking. It's like, Hey, did you get that done? No. And then there's maybe a consequence for the action, but we're not hovering. We're not helicopter helicopter parenting over him and I can admit, right, we have to look in the mirror sometimes. Maybe there was some of that going on, uh, just a few weeks ago. But we're creating an awareness that it's affecting him in a way that we don't want it to affect him. So we're taking away some of that micro management.
Dial down family conflict
So that was number four. Number five is this dial down family conflict. Now I don't know how it is in your household, but we have two careers here. We have a one year old and a seven year old. We have tons of homework as he's learning in both English and Spanish at school and our window of opportunity based on our schedules for my wife and I to have conversation around the house, which, oh, there's a lot of moving parts. There tends to be some disagreements, right? So that tends to happen from the time she gets home, about 5:30 to seven and it's like, hey, did you take care of this bill? Did you call that contractors? Hey, did you call the bad guys? Did you, uh, you know, and it's like, no, I didn't get it. Well you said you were going to do it.
And even though it's not really conflict, it's just us having a discussion. It says, studies show that children who regularly here their parents arguing and fighting can develop high levels of anxiety. Now we're not arguing or fighting, but there is and it says what might be a, there'd be a benign disagreement, can sound like the end of the world, the end of the world to young years. So it's just like, Hey, I didn't get to take care of it. Well, what are you going to take care of it? And the simple things of us not being on the same page and it's us trying to get on the same page can seem huge to him.
Respond in a calm manner
And if that's the only dialogue he is hearing between his parents, because we usually get our time away from that once the kids go to bed, but if that's the only dialogue they're hearing that can cause anxiety and we don't want that, so we together have curbed that dialog at that point during the day and we'll have more of a loving how is your day? Um, hugs, kisses, togetherness in that time, and then we can take care of the bills and the appointments and things of that nature, um, later in the evening as the kids go down in. That has been our solution there. Number six is react calmly, right? When your son or daughter comes to an overly excited, comes to you overly excited or upset, respond in a calm manner.
And I think we're pretty good at this. Um, I think it's easier for dads, honestly, as we are not emotional creatures, right? We're more physical beings. Moms can be a little bit more, a dramatic or overly concerned, right? So acting or reacting with excessive concern or anger will only heightened whatever stress you're child is coming to with. So it's not necessarily something I've seen, but it's something that my wife has agreed, could be something she could work on a. So basically react calmly or keep your cool in ease that potential tension. So if there, if you're not concerned, you're a child, won't be as concerned. So number seven is this. So those are the ones that I believe that, um, my wife and I could work on, don't micromanage, dial down family conflict, react calmly, um, and, and, and then I'll hit a couple of the other ones.
It will lead to confusion and stress
It says, set clear boundaries. Uh, as stated earlier, parents can be controlling, however, they can also be too permissive if parents makes no attempt to control, it will lead to confusion and stress. Set clear boundaries and household rules for expectations and behavior. Those things I believe in our household are pretty clear, uh, provide security. You're the protector. So make sure that your job, dad, there's a spider in my bed, a dad, if there's a, someone breaking into what if someone breaks into our house? What if you and Mommy break up? Always be there comforting when called for children. Crave security. So I don't know about you, I know whenever my son at this point, or even my little one as he's just saying that, that, that the, um, I always respond with what is it, what do you need? Do you need it in this moment?
Can you wait one second or do you need it now? And if they need it now, even if I don't agree with them needing it, now that's what they need. So I tend to respond, um, so because they're looking for us for security into a number nine, which is be strong, so nine be strong and this goes back to, um, you know, going back to not micromanaging and dialing down conflict and reacting calmly. It's important to set limits on your own anxiety and worries, right? Children pick up on it and become stressed as well. So be strong in your own. How do you respond to certain things, not them responding and you responding calmly. But if they see you responding, and I talk about this in my book, at one point, children don't do what we tell them to do. They mimic what we're actually doing.
She told me later on that she was really scared
So if you're being strong in certain circumstances, they'll be strong. If you have a fear of spiders, guess what? Guarantee it your kids. If you are fearful of it, they'll end up being fearful of one of the best gifts I think my mother ever gave me. She told me she used to be scared of thunderstorms and when I remember being with some of my earliest memories, there was a thunderstorm going on outside of my. My. My mother was like, Ryan, come here. Let's come watch the storm. Isn't it awesome? Isn't it amazing what nature does what God can do for you and how God makes the cycles in the weather? Isn't this amazing? But she told me later on that she was really scared, but she didn't want to put those same anxieties or fears onto me. So I've always been fascinated with storm simply because my mother was fascinated by them, but she wasn't. She actually had a fear around them, but she overcame the fear not to pass that on. To me, that's what I call wisdom. So there's. You can make some wise choices if you have a fear of heights. Don't pass that onto your children. Go up the statue of liberty and looked down with them and amazement and overcome your own fear potentially.
So, uh, I'll, I'll read what it says here and be strong. It's important to limit signs of your own anxiety and worries. Your children will pick up, pick up on it, and become stressed as well. Discuss your issues in private with your spouse. And that's what we just discussed. That's what my wife and I do. At the same time, it's okay for you to occasionally share concern with your kids and also ask them to pray for you. Model how appropriately to handle anxiety in the last one is number 10, and it could be number one depending on your faith. If you have. Faith is emphasized. Faith studies have shown that faith and prayer generally lead to reduce levels of anxiety. Knowing that God is always in control, helps take a lot of the families a weight off their shoulders. Whenever someone gets a little anxiety or freaked out about something, uh, encourage him or her to pray about it. Thank you so much for listening to episode three, four ways that our family has dealt with the anxiety and our child, and if you missed that episode, episode one, it was kind of the impetus for this entire podcast. Please go back and listen so you can understand why we've taken these steps towards less anxiety and stress in our household.