Is Your Child Worrying Too Much?

You can bet your bottom dollar that nearly everyone in this day and age dreams of hours spent simply lazing on a lounge chair with a tall, cold and slightly alcoholic drink in hand.  As for me, it’s either that or speeding along the freeway in a hot pink convertible.  Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a worry-free day!

Much as we hate to admit it, worry and stress have inevitably become part and parcel of our daily adult lives.  We can’t seem to shake off those petty preoccupations no matter how hard we try.

That’s what sets children apart from us.  They live in the present moment and play with nary a care in the world.  Save for the occasional fear of the monster behind the closet or that he might fail at a math exam, kids are pretty much worry-free.

There are some kids though, who seem to worry a bit more than usual.  How can you tell if your child has turned into a compulsive worrywart?  According to psychologist Christopher McCurry, these are the four things we parents must look for:

Intensity.  Is your child’s anxious reaction a little way out of proportion to certain events or situations?

Frequency.  Does your kid have an anxious episode everyday?

Duration.  How long does his fearful episode last?   How long before he recovers?

Interference.   Are his fears starting to interfere with his daily life?  Is he starting to avoid going to school or to a friend’s house?

Also, look out for physical signs of fear, such as stomach pains, a fast heartbeat, sweaty palms, and trouble breathing.

If your child appears to have transformed into a worrywart extraordinaire, then it’s time to take action.  As a parent, you can help your child cope by gradually preparing your child for upcoming stressful situations.   If he’s going to a new school, for instance, you can visit the school a couple of times before school actually starts, and explain the changes that will happen.  Try to really listen to your child and show empathy.  Show your child that his fears are irrational.

Children do look up to their parents, so be sure that you are modeling good behavior.  If you are an overly anxious person yourself, your kid will most probably turn out the same.  Come up with effective stress-coping and worry-banishing strategies, and your child will follow suit.