This is a quick one because the paperback of LITTLE PANIC comes out tomorrow and I’m juggling a thousand tiny things.
Anxiety in kids manifests in a variety of innovative ways. I want to go over some of them so you know what to look for. Some of these ways don’t register to parents as anxiety because not everyone knows what to look for. So, here is your cheat sheet for some obvious expressions of anxiety in kids. (This is a VERY ABRIDGED list. I’ll add to it in time!)
Your child doesn’t want to leave you
Your child is stuck in a rumination loop, and won’t stop asking you “what if” questions
Your child is always worried
Child complains of headaches and stomachaches on the eve or day of any large or small event
Your child won’t let anyone come for a sleepover
Your child clings to you and cries when one of you has to leave
Somatic symptoms like heart flutters in their chest and stomach, sweaty hands, dry mouth and a sense of being distant or far away.
NOT SO OBVIOUS:
Your child becomes extremely quiet and withdrawn
Your child throws temper tantrums
Your child is profoundly self-critical
Your child has very low self-esteem
Your child doesn’t try if there’s a chance they might fail (also known as a perfectionist)
Self-grooming behaviors (picking at skin, biting fingernails, toe-nails, hair pulling)
They suck their fingers or thumb and have trouble stopping
They have trouble focusing
Your child perseverates under stress
Your child’s voice sounds strangled, choked, more high-pitched than usual or tight.