Parent & Child
Does any of this sound like your child or teen?
- Clinging, crying and/or tantrums when you separate
- Excessive shyness, avoiding social situations
- Constant worry
- Avoiding situations or places because of fears
- Complaints of frequent stomachaches or headaches
- Experiencing sudden and frequent panic attacks
If you answered yes to any of these statements your child may be experiencing anxiety.
The good news is that this website is designed to help parents and their anxious children. Here, you will find practical strategies and tools to help you manage your child's anxiety, whether your child is just beginning to show symptoms, or has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. The first step is to find out more about anxiety -- how it looks, how it works, and how to recognize if it is problematic. If your child has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you may prefer to go directly to the disorder menu and click on the relevant disorder.
As a parent of an anxious child, you are not alone.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns for children and adults, affecting upwards of 20% of children and adolescents over the lifespan. Anxious youth are often quiet and well behaved, and thus frequently go unnoticed by their parents, teachers, and coaches. Alternatively others can be disruptive and act out, being labeled as having attention deficit disorder or being a “bad” kid. Both scenarios result in youth failing to receive the help they desperately need. Sadly, untreated anxiety can lead to depression, missed opportunities in career and relationships, increased substance use, and a decreased quality of life.
Parents often say that from a very young age, they knew there was something different about their child, but did not immediately recognize it as an anxiety problem. Some waited for their child to "grow out of it", never expecting their child to become even more debilitated over time. Other parents viewed the anxious behaviours as normal as, they, too behaved in a similar way. As a result, parents of anxious children and teens are often confused about what to do, as well as frustrated, and overwhelmed.
The good news: Anxiety can be successfully managed!
Parents play an essential role in helping their child or teen manage anxiety. When coping skills and brave behavior is rewarded and practiced in the home, children and teens can learn to face their fears, take reasonable risks, and ultimately gain confidence. Review the following sections and take the first step towards becoming an anxiety expert.
- Anxiety 101: What you (and your child!) need to know about anxiety
- The ABC's of anxiety: Understanding how anxiety works
- When anxiety becomes a problem: What's normal and what's not