Symptoms of anxiety disorder are experienced by most children. Researchers have found a correlation between age, gender, family history, and indications of anxiety problems. The various disorders a child might be diagnosed with seem to correspond to specific age groupings. In other words, younger children tend to be more susceptible to separation anxiety, while children of middle school age are more likely to show signs of social anxiety.

Girls tend to have cases of anxiety more than boys do, and this pattern continues into adulthood. Anxiety tends to be more prevalent in women. There are also family links to anxiety. Children whose parent or parents suffer from anxiety have a much greater chance of suffering from anxiety themselves.

So what do parents look for to determine if they need to seek medical assistance? Pay careful attention to how your child is doing at school. Do they just need a tutor to help with a subject they do not understand, or do is there an underlying problem causing them to struggle in school. How are things going at home? Does the child cooperate with family members or tend to go off by themselves for long periods of time?

How long do the symptoms last? Are they short-lived or do they seem to go on for hours or days at a time? Dealing with these children can be very trying for parents, but it’s important to remain patient and allow the child to communicate at his own pace. Trying to force a child to talk may cause them to recede even further.

Unfortunately, an additional consequence of one family member going through the difficulties of an anxiety disorder is that all of the family members are affected. It’s not uncommon for another child to act out in order to get some of the attention parents may be directing toward the child with the disorder. This only serves to complicate matters and is another indication that professional help may be required.

One of the most important things a parent can do is to not discredit the child’s complaints. Don’t just sweep them under the rug. Some children do have a need for attention and keep pestering their parents for whatever interaction they can get. Be sure you are not confusing that for a child’s unspoken cry for help. Listen carefully to what your child is saying, or not saying.

Documenting your observations can be very beneficial if you do end up taking your child to a therapist. Anxiety disorders in children are a cause for concern, but parents can make a huge difference in how well their child recovers.

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