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On Parenting Anxious Kids

by, Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC, CEDS

If you are the parent or caregiver of an anxious child, you know what it feels to be emotionally exhausted! So does your child. Anxiety can be draining and get on the way of positive, healthy relationships and self-esteem.

Children who worry too much can be held hostage by their anxious thoughts, overthinking, and fears. They ask many questions or sometimes isolate and go to great lengths to avoid anxiety provoking situations that many times may seem normal to parents or impossible to happen. Nevertheless, the struggle is real.

The first step towards helping your child is understanding their anxiety. Nobody chooses to have anxiety but everybody can learn techniques to challenge anxious thoughts, regulate their emotions, and make choices on how to deal with it. Some of the major triggers for anxiety in kids can be changing schools, starting classes after a long period of not being in school, and feeling pressured to perform in a certain way socially and academically. Anxiety is also triggered when there are changes at home or they are having conflict with friends, parents are separating, going through financial struggle, or they have lost a family member. Kids who struggle with anxiety also have a busy mind, often overthinking and worrying. It is important to help them question their thoughts and diffuse from them, which means just seeing them as thoughts and not as facts.

Here is a list of symptom and early warning signs of anxiety that can help you better understand it and make the decision to get counseling for your child. Early intervention can help prevent symptoms to escalate:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense

  • Being on edge and having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom

  • Having an increased heart rate

  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak, lazy or tired

  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry

  • Problems with memory or logical thought and speech that is difficult to explain

  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems such as nausea, diarrhea, fullness, sudden hunger

  • Dramatic changes in appetite by not eating or eating too much

  • Having difficulty controlling worry and constantly seeking reassurance

  • Having the urge to avoid situations that might trigger anxiety

  • Increased sensitivity — heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations and feeling easily overwhelmed

  • Feeling disconnected and as if they are “weird” — a vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality, like “if it was a movie”

  • Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about fear situations

  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior

  • Irritability or angry outbursts

  • Panic attacks

  • Fear of being alone or family/friends abandoning them or dying

  • Anxiety can affect self-perception and self-esteem

Increased separation anxiety, tantrums, and defiance can be very difficult to deal with. Parents feel frustrated, overwhelmed, powerless, and lost on how to support their child. Some of the things you can do is being there to listen, validate that anxiety can be difficult to deal with, stay involve in their life and encourage them to use coping strategies. Taking their anxiety and worries seriously can help them feel validated and supported. You can also suggest getting help. At Home For Balance, our team of experts can help your child and you learn tools to effectively manage anxiety and help your child thrive!


CAROLINA GAVIRIA, LMHC, NCC, CEDS Eating Disorder, Substance Abuse and Trauma Expert

​Please give me a call today for a FREE 30 minute phone consult at 561.305.2497, I’d be happy to provide more information about my services and discuss setting up a session! For more information about my services, you can also visit my website at or email me at I look forward to speaking with you!


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