Sometimes we ask ourselves the question, “What is wrong with my child? Why does my child seem different than other children?” It may seem like our child is struggling with making friends or with adjusting to new surroundings but we just can’t put our finger on why. There are some questions that you can ask your child that can help you to determine if your child needs to see a professional.
To find out if your child might need help coping with anxiety you can ask the following questions. If the answers to these questions are mostly yes, then you will want to take your child to see a counselor.
1. Do you feel like your heart races sometimes? When? Ask them to pay attention to when this happens and then let you know what they find out.
2. Does your face feel hot and/or get red sometimes? When?
3. Do you hate feeling like something is out of your control? If so tell me about that.
4. Do you have nightmares more than once a week?
5. Do you find it hard to talk to people at school? Do you keep your hand down instead of raising it when you know the answer to a question?
6. Are you afraid of hurting other peoples feelings? If yes, give me an example of a time when you didn’t say something to someone because you were afraid of hurting thier feelings?
7. Are there things that you wish you could do but you don’t do them because you are afraid to? If yes, what are these things?
8. When you get angry at me for asking you to do something is it because you fear that you won’t be able to do it? Or because you fear that it will be too difficult for you to do?
9. Do you get stomach aches and/or headaches? Do they happen more when you think about something specific? If yes, tell me about that.
10. Do kids at school pick on you? If yes, tell me about it?
Just by asking these questions you are opening up the door to conversation between you and your child. When you respond to your child try to use the words, “I understand how you could feel that way, or that makes sense.” Try to avoid statements like, “You should be more _____. or Why don’t you just ______.” Children with anxiety can feel like they are inadequate if they are unable to meet your expectations or follow your advice. Instead of giving advice ask your child what they think would help them. Consider taking your child to see a counselor who can teach your child coping skills to use when their anxiety gets to them. Your child will be more willing to come to you with concerns if they feel like you will listen to them.
Take Care. Vivian