If you've noticed that your child's worries have begun to grow, or that your child's reaction to normal, everyday things is fear-based, you may be wondering whether your child is dealing with normal, childhood worries or battling with anxiety. Below is a breakdown of the difference between worry and anxiety and what you can do to help your child cope.

How Worry And Anxiety Differ

As your child grows, they will face a number of situations that cause them to worry. While worry is a normal reaction to new or uncertain situations and environments, anxiety is a severe form of worry that's difficult to control and can interfere with your child's day-to-day life.

When your child is entering a new school, performing in front of an audience, or sleeping away at a friend's house for the first time, it's normal—and even healthy—for your child to feel worried. However, if your child's worries are preventing them from doing the above-mentioned activities, or if your child is unable to cope with the worry and is becoming physically ill or showing other signs of outward distress (hair pulling, nail biting, skin picking, etc.), then you may want to consider the possibility that your child is struggling with anxiety.

How You Can Help Your Child

If your child is dealing with anxiety, there are a number of ways you can help your child cope with their fears without reinforcing them.

For example, if your child becomes anxious at the thought of being in or around a large crowd, it's important that you acknowledge your child's feelings. It's equally important, however, to not avoid large crowds just because your child is anxious about them. If you avoid your child's fears and anxieties, it reinforces your child's worst fears. Provide your child with the tools they need to tolerate their anxieties, such as thinking through all possible scenarios and their realistic outcomes, and teaching them to breathe deeply, count to 10, and express their feelings if their anxiety begins to overwhelm them.

When To Seek Professional Help

There may come a time when your child's anxiety cannot be managed without the help of a professional, and that's okay. But at what point should professional help be sought after?

If your child is avoiding necessary daily activities due to an irrational fear, or if your child is having trouble sticking with different coping mechanisms, then a mental health counselor can help. It's important to remember that anxiety is a mental health issue and that your child is not just being difficult. With the help of a mental health counselor, your child can learn to deal with their anxieties in a healthy and effective way, and can learn to face their fears and live the happy and full life they deserve.

If you're considered that your child's worries have crossed over into anxiety, consult with your child's pediatrician and consider making an appointment with a pediatric counselor. Companies like Hey Sigmund may be able to help.