Anxiety in Young Children – Sources
From time to time, everybody experiences an anxiety. This is a normal emotional state closely related to another necessary and normal emotion, fear. People have to be fearful in some circumstances, since they must protect themselves from danger. When faced with immediate and real danger, it’s beneficial and normal for people to experience fear. However, anxiety is not related to the immediate danger, but anticipated fear, so the person is scared of something happening in the future. Words that describe anxiety are, for example, tense, cautious, nervous, concerned, worried etc. In case a person is faced with a difficult situation, it’s beneficial to be anxious, since this feeling helps to prepare for accomplishing difficult tasks. From the very moment they are born, people experience different states of anxiety and fear. If children are crying or behaving clingy, it’s easy to realize they are anxious or afraid. However, sometimes it’s more complicated to identify anxiety and fear in a child. For some children it’s complicated to express anxiety to their parents, so they might turn it into defiant behaviors and angry tantrums. What causes anxiety in children under 10? It’s hard to tell, since some children (approximately 15%) seem to be fearful and anxious of many situation since they were born. However, most children develop anxiety throughout their childhood, since all of them experience worries and fears and the normal part of their development. It’s normal for a child to be afraid of the dark, animals, strangers, monsters and separation from parents. As a child grows, these fears usually change to some other fears, including the fear about social acceptance, health, family, mortality, sports and academic achievements. Other, also normal, sources of anxiety arise from family and life transitions, since a child goes through many transitions and changes throughout the childhood, for example moving to a new home, starting school, the birth of siblings, peer group acceptance, mastering academic and non-academic tasks etc. Additionally, some traumatic or difficult events can happen to children and that can cause the increase of anxiety feeling. This out of ordinary events include illness of the child or a family member, the unexpected death of a parent or a sibling, community or family violence, parental separation or conflicts etc.