Anxiety is the number one mental health problem facing children and adolescents today, but it is also the most treatable, according to WorryWiseKids.
The six main anxiety disorders in children, as identified by BeyondBlue, are:
- Phobia: Fear and avoidance of objects, situations or events.
- Social phobia: Extreme shyness and avoidance of speaking in public and meeting new people.
- Generalised anxiety disorder: Excessive concerns about a wide range of possibilities and extreme lack of confidence.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: Changes in sleep, irritability and concentration following a traumatic incident.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder: Repeated actions to stop certain thoughts, usually about germs or symmetry.
- Separation anxiety disorder: A fear of being away from parents/guardians.
It can be difficult to know how to identify anxiety in your son as all boys go through different situations and stages, and react differently to them.
Children with anxiety difficulties may:
- Often seem uncertain and seek reassurance from you regularly
- Avoid situations where they feel uncomfortable or frightened and might try to get you or someone else to do what they are worried about on their behalf
- Complain about feeling sick and having physical pains regularly to avoid tasks they are uncomfortable with
- Avoid and dislike trying new things and risk-taking
- Get upset easily and regularly.
There are many resources available if you are concerned that your son might be struggling with anxiety, such as checklists to determine if your child is likely experiencing problems and would benefit from support. There are also many programs online that help children to cope with problems and help parents to effectively support their children, including Smiling Mind, The Brave Program and GoZen.
At Christ Church Grammar School, we place a strong emphasis on mental health and wellbeing through our Pastoral Care Program and understand the importance of confidence and happiness in boys.