Signs of Anxiety in Kids & Teens

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Gone are those days when talking about mental health challenges were like stigma. These days, discussions like these are now being held openly – gradually becoming normal. Even at that, most people are of the idea that only adults have issues like that, but talks about prioritizing the mental health of our children are on the rise. This has prompted many parents to be on the lookout for signs so they can be addressed quickly.

One sign of mental stress on kids is anxiety. How anxiety presents itself in adults is significantly different from how it looks in young children and teens. This signifies that even cautious parents can overlook their kid’s signs and count them as minor behavior. So in order for parents to be able to identify anxiety in their kids, they should know the signs to look out for in their children. 

So if perhaps you are noticing some changes in your child’s behavior, here are some signs of anxiety in kids, in regards to their age.

Image Credit: Verywell Family

Signs of Anxiety in Nursery School Children

It is common for kids within this age group to always have an emotional reaction to everything, which is just a normal part of their development. Unfortunately, that’s also what makes it so difficult for parents to notice when something larger is going on with their child. Some common anxiety signs include:

  • Crying easily
  • Sudden clinginess
  • Irritability.
  • Complaints of headaches
  • Stomach issues
  • Nail-biting
  • Hair plucking/twirling

Sign of Anxiety in Primary School Children

Younger primary school kids often share the same signs as those in nursery classes. However, as they continue to grow, the signs start to show a little more. The signs include:

  • Increased fears
  • Panic/Anxiety episodes
  • Complaints of stomach issues
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Fidgeting
  • Clinginess
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Crying easily
  • Irritability
  • Sweating

Signs of Anxiety in High School Children

By the time kids reach high school, their symptoms may start presenting a little more similar to adults. However, many of them are easy to pass off as something circumstantial like poor teaching or a rift with friends at school. Some signs of anxiety in high school kids include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Drop in grades
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Panic or anxiety attacks; racing heart, sweating, trembling, tight chest, shortness of breath
  • Difficulties sleeping; either falling or staying asleep
  • Change in eating habits; overeating or not eating as much
  • Crying
  • Irritable mood

What to Do

What you should note is that most of these signs listed can also pass as symptoms for other conditions. What should be done first is to identify what might be triggering your child’s anxiety. Spend time talking or playing with your child, be supportive, and try to figure out triggers which could be, fights in school or with siblings

Lastly, if you are not able to help, there is no harm in requesting the help of professionals. Let your child speak to someone about their concerns.

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