Take Positive Action to Prevent Permanent Damage
Children face stress every day just by growing up. Their bodies are changing, they’re learning tons of information and facing new social challenges and peer pressures, and they’re putting pressure on themselves to succeed in the classroom and in after-school activities. While recent studies have shed light on over-scheduling as a major cause of anxiety for children, Dr. Yip says parents whose children don’t have full calendars but are still showing signs of anxiety could do well to look in the mirror.
“Parents feel pressure to make sure their kid is the most successful kid in school,” Dr. Yip says. “These kids feel their parents’ pressure, and then they feel the need to get (their parents’) approval…and that becomes a very distressing situation.”
While stress can help our children achieve in a competitive world, resulting anxiety can develop into other mental health issues very quickly if left untreated. Dr. Yip suggests that parents intervene first to re-establish a secure home life for children, cutting out excess activities if necessary, and allowing time for children to decompress without the performance pressure that’s been dogging them. If you recognize that your child isn’t responding to your efforts to help them reduce anxiety, it may be time to seek the help of a professional. Use the Renewed Freedom Center’s quick online test to determine if your child could use some intervention to avoid the permanent effects of anxiety-related disorders.
Dr. Yip is a nationally recognized OCD and anxiety expert. She is a Licensed Psychologist, and is Board Certified in Cognitive & Behavioral Psychology. She is Executive Director of the Renewed Freedom Center in Los Angeles, and is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the USC Keck School of Medicine.