Millions of children are suffering with anxiety – with symptoms starting on average at just seven years old. We carried out a study of 2,000 parents of youngsters aged 3 to 18, and found that more than 6 in 10 exhibit either mild or severe symptoms of worry, unease or fear.
Our psychologist in residence Emma Kenny says…
“Children today are possibly the most stressed generation ever as there is so much pressure piled onto them. From feeling they need to succeed academically, to social media, to heightened awareness of their body image, there is round-the-clock comparison with others from a very young age. Anxiety can be a difficult to identify, as many symptoms are common in childhood and not always serious. However parents are often the best judge of whether a symptom is serious as they are in tune with their child and know when their behaviour changes. If a child’s behaviour seems particularly unusual, or is worsening without apparent reason, it’s a wise idea to seek professional help.”
She has helped us develop our Children’s Anxiety Course, a 7-part (completely free) video course which will guide you through helping your child with their anxious or worried thoughts. We also have a kid’s worry journal that you can fill out with your little ones each day, to help open up those all-important lines of communication.
What are the top symptoms of anxiety in children?
Our study revealed that of the children reported to be exhibiting symptoms of anxiety…
- 47% quickly get unusually angry or irritable
- 29% can easily get out of control during outbursts
- Around one fifth of parents report their child as scratching at their own skin
- 3 in 10 say they complain of unexplained tummy aches
Having to use the toilet more often, not eating properly and pulling on hair are also among the behaviours exhibited by those children suffering with anxiety. In more extreme cases…
- 14 per cent of parents say their child has talked about suicide
- 13 per cent are aware of their child watching self-harm content online
What are the top causes of anxiety in children?
Just six per cent of parents don’t know why their child is anxious – while 37 per cent have identified their child as getting more worried when they have to try new things and four in 10 say they appear to fear school. If this sounds like your child, you can take a look at our School Anxiety episode right here.
Other known things children are anxious about include…
- Sleepovers for 16 per cent
- Doing anything outside of the normal routine for three in 10
- Failing for 31 per cent
- More than one fifth of parents who say their child suffers with anxiety believes bullying is the cause.
What is a parent to do?
Two thirds of parents polled go out of their way to avoid things they know their child is anxious about. A further seven in ten say ‘don’t worry’ when discussing the issue, despite experts advising parents should calmly acknowledge discuss their child’s fears.
Understandably, many parents feel they need help in managing their child’s anxiety. Going to the GP has been a help for 21 per cent of parents, but one fifth are avoiding going in case they are judged negatively. While 35 per cent don’t feel their situation is bad enough to see a doctor, 18 per cent of parents polled by OnePoll admit they are at their ‘wits end’.
On the plus side, 22 per cent of parents would welcome taking an online course if it would help them reduce their child’s negative feelings, which is where our Children’s Anxiety Course comes in. Here you can learn techniques for helping your child to deal with their negative emotions, as well as getting personalised advice from our psychologist Emma Kenny.
TOP 10 CAUSES OF ANXIETY IN CHILDREN
- School in general
- Trying new things
- Anything out of their regular routine
- Their friendships
- Their appearance
- Going into the classroom
- Going anywhere without their parents
Taking part in this video:
Production music by: