Is My Child or Teen Anxious?
written by Dr. Liz Matheis, posted on Psychology Today
Does my child have a gastrointestinal issue? Is he an insomniac? Why is she struggling to get to school each day?
It’s not always easy to understand or identify when your child is struggling with anxiety. Sometimes it looks like a crabby kid, a kid who is melting down because he didn’t get “his way,” or a teen who is being disrespectful.
Sometimes, it’s even easy to mistake anxiety for a learning disability or an attention deficit disorder. For example, your child may think that he’s not good at math. Each day when it’s time for the math lesson, your child may complain of a stomachache in anticipation. He may ask to go to the school nurse. He is then missing the lesson and will struggle to complete the worksheet that is now being sent home for homework. Sometimes anxiety can look like your child is struggling with that particular subject but it is the thought that he can’t do math that leads to losing out on instruction rather than a true learning disability.
Being preoccupied with thoughts can also look like a focus issue because anxiety draws our kid’s attention inward. That is, your child or teen may be internally distracted because she is worrying about her safety or your safety. He may be nervous about being called on in class and not having the right answer or not being able to produce an answer quickly enough. Your child may also be worrying about another child who excludes him or makes fun of his hair or sneakers.