When Your Child Also Suffers From Anxiety
I have mentioned a few times before about how I suffer from major anxiety problems. It is a daily struggle and it takes all I have each day to try to fight it off as soon as it creeps up. I have found some techniques that help me but they don’t work every time. Although you may have ways to deal with it for yourself, what do you do when your child also suffers from anxiety?
When Your Child Also Suffers From Anxiety
Our 3 nerdlings are great kids. They each have their own unique personalities and quirks and are extremely fun to be around. They are very well behaved in public and we get many comments from friends, family, and even strangers about how well behaved they are. Of course, the same isn’t true when they are at home, but that’s normal…right?? I wish the hubs and I could take all of the credit for their manners but we can’t.
I can tell you now that I know they act this way mainly because they are very shy themselves and will not do anything to bring attention to themselves.
Not Wanting To ‘People’
The teen can be a little shy at first until she feels comfortable with where she’s at or who she’s with. This is pretty much they way it is for anyone. But she doesn’t like to go anywhere alone and she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, just like me.
When she was 8 years old, she met a set of twins and became great friends with them. Their mom was a teacher at their Wednesday night MPACT girls classes at their church. They invited her along and she became a regular MPACT girl for a few years. She loved going, especially since we homeschool so this was as close to a ‘school setting’ as she was going to get. She had a lot of fun and went on camping trips, had sleepovers at the church, and much more.
As much fun as she had, there were days where she would refuse to go because of anxiety. She would have those days where she just did not want to ‘people’. We would tell her that she would miss all of the fun and wouldn’t be able to see her friends for another week if she missed it…it worked about 90% of the time because she knew the people there & had many friends. It’s hard to talk someone into doing something during an anxiety attack when you know exactly how they are feeling and they just want to run away.
Kid Baker is crippling shy in public, exactly how I was as a young kid. If we go out to eat, we make sure to face her away from as many people as we can. If anyone can see her, she will keep her head down, barely move her eyes off of her plate, and hardly eat a bite – she’s like a statue, frozen with fear. It’s best for us to have a booth in a corner so all of us can feel more comfortable. Once she opens up, she is a hilarious child.
ADHD and Anxiety
We found out that our son has ADHD when he was about 8 years old. He’s 11 now, but we had opted out of medications because he can manage it (somewhat). We homeschool, so I am able to teach the way he is able to learn.
Along with ADHD comes the demand of needing to know what is going to happen at the next step. He may seem ‘scatter-brained’, but he needs an itinerary of some sort to keep him balanced. Because of ADHD, if he doesn’t have an itinerary, he falls apart and the anxiety consumes him.
At home, we don’t have an exact schedule – as in having exact times that we do things – but we have a flow of things. He is perfectly happy with the regular days, but days where things get out of whack, it’s not good. If he overhears us talking about something coming up, a visit to someone’s house, someone coming over here, etc., he will come running, saying, “What? What’s going on??” Then he will ask every single day how many days until so-and-so happens. It’s not so much the excitement, but the anxiety of something happening outside of his norm.
He had also joined his sister at church on Wednesday evenings with the boys his age. He loved it, until he started throwing fits and refused to go anymore. We tried our hardest to find out why and, after a few weeks of missing class, he finally confessed. He and a few other boys were running in the hallway and a teacher asked them to sit on the ground against the wall for a few minutes because of it. That was it. He wasn’t yelled at, he wasn’t in trouble really, and we weren’t even talked to about it. Because he NEVER gets into trouble with anyone besides his parents, he freaked and refused to go back. He eventually did and had fun, but would avoid that teacher (who wasn’t even his own).
Last Halloween, we were Trick-or-Treating with my sister and her 2 boys. We get to the last street before ours and 2 big pit bulls came running and tried attacking us. The hubs and another guy charged at them and scared them away by yelling. We found out that these dogs were being trained to fight and was getting out of their backyard to attack people. It traumatized my son so bad that he ran all the way home yelling, “That’s IT! I’m done! I’m NEVER trick-or-treating AGAIN!”. He would not come outside in our front yard (backyard is fenced in) for the longest time, unless it was to get in the car. Eventually the dogs were picked up, moved, or something because we haven’t seen them since.
To this day, almost 1 year later, if he is outside and hears ANY dog barking, he runs back inside terrified. He doesn’t trust ANY dog but our own 9 year old one that he grew up with.
Anxiety Makes You Physically Sick
Kid Baker doesn’t have the anxiety attacks like the other 2 do so easily. It takes a lot for her and, thankfully, it doesn’t happen that often. When it does, it has to do with medical issues, such as taking meds (HATES it & literally gags & throws them up so avoids them at all costs!), going to the doctor, getting sick, etc.
According to statistics from a research company with https://thefitnessequation.com/tfestore/ativan-lorazepam/, Ativan belongs to the benzodiazepine class. Ativan affects the unbalanced chemicals in the brain that can cause anxiety, insomnia and seizures.
She had a toothache recently and panicked thinking that the dentist was going to pull it out. She started panicking so bad that she asked if I could go sit outside with her for fresh air. We did, and she started to feel better. When we came in, she started asking more questions about it and got scared and made herself eventually throw up. Afterwards, she felt better but ended up sleeping in our room just to make sure that’s all it was. She slept fine all night & was fine the next day.
Anxiety can tear your body apart and is so much more than just the panicky feeling, rapid heart rate & breathing.
Helping Them Through An Attack
Be it just a worrying feeling or full blown attack, there are ways we try to help children through it. Because I deal with it, it’s easier for me to help them than it is my hubs. He’s had 1 or 2 attacks in his life, but he doesn’t live it like I do.
Take a look at these tips for getting through an anxiety attack. These are what help me, as well as our kids.
Most importantly, let them know that they WILL get through them.
Do you, or someone you know, suffer from anxiety & panic attacks? What are some of your strategies for getting through them?
46 thoughts on “When Your Child Also Suffers From Anxiety”
Such valuable information. Thanks so much for sharing with us! This is a daily struggle for us as well but we are in the fight to win 💕
It’s definitely a struggle but we can fight this!
I’ve learned how to cope with them myself but my kids don’t suffer from them. I’ve done the deep breathing but what really works is me leaving the situation entirely.
Yes, the good ol’ ‘fight or flight’. I know that one all too well. I’m so glad to hear that your babies don’t suffer from anxiety.
Thank you for this extremely important and informative post! I too have a child that suffers from anxiety and these are great tips for sure. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
You are very welcome, Melissa. Being a teen is hard enough without anxiety. Please let me know if there is anything you need or just to talk. 🙂
This is such an important post, I know I suffer but I also have to see my oldest grandson and one of my youngest granddaughters go through, I don’t know if they feel that have to do more than the others or what , sometimes they don’t want to talk about it..
I’m sorry to hear that, Dotty. There are times when my anxiety level causes me to shut everyone out & want to just be left alone. I hope they are able to find techniques to help them through the attacks.
You need to evaluate the ‘triggers’ then formulate a list of possible ‘methods. Once you have those, recite them with your kid each day, or before going into a situation that is a ‘trigger’. Ask them what worked, what didn’t work, what thoughts combated an episode, and update the ‘mantra’ or list of methods that you recite each day. Start the day off with relaxation methods. Positive voicing outloud of how ‘God’ is in control and that they can ‘decide’ how they want to process what happened and give them ways or methods for doing so. This worked wonders with my youngest son that now his ‘episodes’ would be considered normal as they are triggered when he is just being a regular kid that doesn’t get his own way.
Thanks so much for sharing this tip with us. I can definitely try it out. I’m so glad that you were able to find something that works for you & your son!
Yes, I am so glad to read this. One of my children can get physically ill because of anxiety. I feel so helpless to do anything, especially when the activities that make him sick are things he has to do (go to school, etc.) Thank you for sharing your story.
I’m so sorry, Nicole. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world when you can’t help your child. I was this way in high school & had to keep stomach meds in the nurses office. I hope you are able to find techniques that work for him. Please let me know if you need anything.
Oh wow. That’s definitely something to think about as my son grows up.
I really hope you never need this advice, Ashley. Thanks for stopping by.
Such Great Tips I Really Should Use For Myself As WEll. I Bet It Can Be Very Trying Thank You For Sharing Your Story!!
It’s a struggle but we can definitely get through this! Thanks so much for reading.
Oh my gosh, that is so sad. I’ve had a few anxiety attacks in my day, and they were awful. I cannot imagine having anxiety on a regular basis, especially when you’re a child!
Thank you, Myrah. It really is but we can get through this. 🙂
Anxiety is tough and I’m glad you’re helping your kids deal with it. It’s great that you’re caring so much 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post at Together on Tuesdays!
Thanks so much, Lisa.
I used to throw up every day before school; that transition from the car to getting to class and seeing those familiar faces was just too much for me. Changes in routine were torture and I missed many field trips and friend’s parties because of anxiety and now I see all those same signs in my oldest son. So now when I am out and about and we’re heading somewhere new where my anxiety is ratcheting up I try to verbalize what I am doing to help myself calm down and get my anxiety under control in the hopes that he’ll see how I use coping mechanisms.
Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to hear how horrible it was for you. 🙁 It helps tremendously when you see how others deal with their anxiety. I really hope it helps your son realize that you do, in fact, get through them. Thanks so much for sharing your story.
Thank you for this.
As a mom with my own anxiety parenting a teen who also has anxiety I always feel alone. This post let’s me know there are others out there.
We’ve opted to go the homeschool/online study route with my teen because the school setting became too much. The alleviated a lot of the anxiety attacks for him. Anxiety can be brutal for an adult but I feel like it’s more frustrating for the young suffers who just want to be able to do ‘normal’ kid stuff and can’t explain why they can’t.
Your are very welcome and you are definitely not alone. We have homeschooled from the beginning but I wished so bad that I could have been homeschooled as a teen. It was horrible to the fact that I had to keep stomach meds in the nurses office & she knew me by name from all the times I was having an anxiety attack in her office.
I’m so glad that homeschooling is helping your teen so much. I wish you both all the best in that. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need anything.
I am being 100% U just printed this article for my sister. Her son suffers from forms of anxiety and I think she’ll find it useful and helpful. Thank you so much!
You are very welcome & thank you, Jenna. I’m sorry he is going through this & I really hope he is able to find some techniques that work.
Very informative and helpful.Thanks for sharing this it helps to understand this.
Thank you, Nancy
Anxiety runs in my family…4 generations, including my teen. I breathe when I’m anxious…deep breath for 4, hold for 7 and release slowly for 8. I do this 3 times. therapy helps a lot too.
That’s really great advice..concentrating on breathing helps to focus on something besides anxiety. Thanks for sharing your technique with us.
Thank for sharing this great article. My son was ADHD and had so many fears. We lucked out and found the perfect school for him and he went on to graduate college and is doing very well.
I am so happy to hear that he was able to find ways to overcome it. Thanks so much for sharing that with us!
This is valuable information. We have a 2 year old living with us. His mom screams at him all day and spanks him numerous times for the same things. He has a learning disability and gets so frustrated because he can’t communicate. Because of his screaming and crying all the time I am on anxiety meds.
🙁 Sounds like the mom is also dealing with some anxiety in her own way. I hope all of you are able to find the help that is needed. ❤️
My grandson definitely has some of these traits. Thanks for the suggestions!
You’re welcome, Jeanna. I hope some of these techniques work him.
I loved reading this. It will help my granddaughter to
Thank you so much, Gail. I truly hope it helps her.
I suffered anxiety as a child and still do as an adult. I learned walking away to calm down is the best option for me.
Yes, that definitely works sometimes, too.
Yvonne, WOW..thank you sososo much for sharing all of this great advise with us! I will have to look into KavaKava because I have never heard of it. I have always been interested in hypnosis but never did anything about it. I never thought of looking on YouTube for any of that! I will definitely look those videos up. I love the Grounding/Shielding methods. I will need to keep those in mind for our next ‘episodes’. Thank you so much again!
You’re so very welcome.
I beyond empathize, I assure you!
I hope one or more of these things are helpful
to your and yours.
I see you got your space bar back! 😉 *hugs back*
Such a great post. Wish I had this to read years ago. My child was diagnosed with ADHS (she’s 19 now). Back then there was really not much information on it nor support either. In time she developed issues with anxiety which eventually turned into full blown attacks. I hope moms’ reading this with ADHD children will take notice of the possibility of anxiety and be prepared for it. I had no clue that it went hand in hand with ADHD.
Thanks for sharing! Most people feel anxious or scared sometimes, but if it’s affecting your life I’d really suggest therapy.