Anxiety in Children and Teens: A Parent’s Guide

posted on Help Guide

Understanding anxiety in children and teens

As parents, we always desire the best for our children. We want them to be healthy, happy, and resilient when faced with life’s challenges. This is often easier said than done with the daily demands and parenting responsibilities. Anxiety is a common issue in children, adolescents, and teens, often experienced at different phases of development. Anxiety disorders can be first diagnosed in children between the ages of four and eight, while a recent survey found that about 32% of adolescents in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder, a number that has substantially increased over the years. The study also revealed that one in four to five adolescents has a severe disability related to their anxiety disorder.

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened anxiety in children and teens, with the disruptions in their normal routines in school, family life, and relationships with peers. It’s not always easy to recognize the difference between normal worries and anxiety disorders in children and teens, particularly in these stressful times. For example, young people often worry about their schoolwork or taking exams, but this is usually temporary once the immediate stressor has passed. However, if worrying becomes constant and interferes with a child’s daily functioning, it can negatively affect their overall quality of life.

While coping with your child’s anxiety can be a difficult situation for you as a parent, the good news is that anxiety is a highly treatable condition. There is also a great deal you can do to help your child. Rather than assume that your child will outgrow their anxiety, it’s better to start taking steps as soon as possible to help your child deal with their symptoms and regain control of how they view the world around them.