Children

Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Here are things you can do at home to help your child manage his or her anxiety disorder:

Test Anxiety

Your child went to class, completed homework, and studied. He or she arrived at the exam confident about the material. But if he or she has test anxiety, a type of performance anxiety, taking the test is the most difficult part of the equation.

School Refusal

School refusal describes the disorder of a child who refuses to go to school on a regular basis or has problems staying in school.

Symptoms

Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school or repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse. If the child is allowed to stay home, the symptoms quickly disappear, only to reappear the next morning. In some cases a child may refuse to leave the house.

Childhood Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

If your child has generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, he or she will worry excessively about a variety of things such as grades, family issues, relationships with peers, and performance in sports.  Learn more about GAD.

Children with GAD tend to be very hard on themselves and strive for perfection. They may also seek constant approval or reassurance from others.

Anxiety Disorders at School

Your child’s anxiety disorder may affect success at school. If an anxiety disorder is causing your child to struggle at school academically or socially, the first step is to talk to the teacher, principal, or counselor about your concerns.

School personnel will likely recognize some symptoms or manifestations of your child’s anxiety at school, but they may not realize they are caused by an anxiety disorder, or how they can help. Use your child’s diagnosis to open lines of communication. 

Children and Teens

Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. A phase is temporary and usually harmless. But children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they start to avoid places and activities.

Children

Taking your child to a doctor for a mental health problem is as important as visiting a doctor for an ear infection or broken arm. Finding a health professional that you and your child can work with—and who makes you both feel comfortable—is critical.

Treating Children With CBT and Medication

Scott Compton, PhD

Assistant Clinical Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Program in Child Affective and Anxiety Disorders
Duke University Medical Center

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ADAA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, OCD, PTSD, depression, and related disorders and to improving the lives of all people who suffer from them.