If you’re like most parents, your day has been busy, as usual. Maybe you come home from work focused on getting dinner ready and ensuring that your child completed their homework.
However, you’ve been worried lately that your child doesn’t seem like their typical, happy-go-lucky self. One red flag is the stomachaches that come on suddenly and for no apparent reason. They might beg and plead for you not to make them go to school or a social event. To make matters worse, last night, there was that flash of anger that caught you by surprise.
Take heart, concerned parent; there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these examples. It may be that your child has anxiety. That said, here are seven anxiety symptoms that parents might miss.
1. Unexplained Stomachaches
One way that anxiety manifests itself, regardless of age, is through physical symptoms. For example, adults often complain of piercing headaches that are caused by anxiety. With children, having a stomachache is a common anxiety symptom. If your child says they have stomachaches a lot and you’ve ruled out other possible causes, then it might be because they are feeling anxious.
2. They Get Emotional Quickly
Has your child been experiencing mood swings? That’s another anxiety symptom to keep an eye on. One minute they are happy and content, but almost instantly, they switch to inconsolable sadness. Why?
When children struggle with anxiety, other things that might typically be an annoyance or inconvenience often trigger a much stronger reaction.
3. Begging You Not to Leave
Being excessively clingy is also something to watch out for. Clinginess is the term to describe when your child is afraid either for you to leave them or vice versa. Take going to school, for example. Of course, there are always going to be those first-day jitters that can feel overwhelming. But what if your child is refusing to go to school day after day? If that’s the case, then there may be more going on than you realize.
4. Not Being Able to Stay on Task
This symptom is a tricky one because a lack of focus can also be attributed to other conditions, such as ADHD. However, a lack of focus is undoubtedly an issue when it comes to anxiety. The brain deals with so much information, thoughts, and feelings that your child struggles to maintain their attention on anything else.
5. Wanting to Be Reassured All the Time
This sign can easily be confused with lacking confidence or not having any self-esteem. You might believe that your child merely needs to “get over it” and move on. However, seeking reassurance is less about confidence and more about soothing worry and anxiety. They might ask you over and over if they will do well on a test. Yet, you know they have studied and are ready. That’s your child trying to calm the anxious thoughts that they are experiencing.
6. Sleeping Issues
If you notice that your child can’t fall asleep or stay asleep, watch out. This issue is not unheard of for kids with anxiety. They have so much worry and fear that those thoughts and emotions prevent them from falling asleep. It might be well after midnight before they can nod off.
7. Anger and Anxiety
It’s not easy to see your child get angry or express that anger. Anger can bring up emotions for you, too, such as fear. However, if your child gets angry a lot, try to look past the surface and go deeper. Ask yourself why they are getting mad in the first place.
Anger is often a cover for much more basic emotions such as fear, sadness, or worry. It’s hard for children to express those emotions productively, so they lash out in anger.
You might not think that your child is an anxious child. Yet, if you are noticing these signs in your child’s behavior, it might be that they have anxiety. Reflect on how they have been behaving lately. Try to separate your feelings and judgments, and focus on the behavior.
If you suspect your child is anxious, please contact me to find out how anxiety treatment can help both you and your child.