Understanding Anxiety


This module is designed to guide you through a series of articles to help you understand anxiety and the role that anxiety plays in your child’s life.

What you are going to discover:

  • how to recognise the signs and symptoms of your child’s worry, fear and anxiety
  • the impact worry, fear and anxiety might be having on your child’s life
  • the key factors in causing or maintaining your child’s anxiety
  • the relationship between events, thoughts and feelings
  • if your child’s anxiety is a problem



What is anxiety? >


Common types of anxiety in children >


How anxiety affects children >


How anxiety impacts a child’s life. The cost of anxiety >


How a child’s anxiety develops. The contributing factors  >


What’s normal, What’s Not > 


How common are anxiety problems? >


When does anxiety become a problem? >


How thoughts, feelings and behaviour interact >

Parent Exercise:


  • Anxiety involves feelings of worry, fear, panic, nervousness, uneasiness, apprehension, shyness and tension.
  • Anxiety can affect your thoughts, your feelings, your body and your behaviour.
  • Common types of anxiety in children are separation anxiety, specific phobias and fears, social anxiety, generalised anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder.
  • The cost of anxiety in children’s lives includes, affecting friendships and social confidence, performance at school, undermining their enjoyment and happiness, experiencing physical symptoms, and inhibiting them reaching their potential.  Not to mention the demands and emotional stress it can place on the family. Not all of these factors will apply to every child, although avoidance is usually a prevalent part of most anxiety problems.
  • The key factors in causing or maintaining anxiety include genetics, unhelpful patterns of thinking, avoidance behaviours, parent reaction, parent modelling and stressors.
  • Beliefs about a situation or event determines how a person will feel about that situation or event.  The event might act as a trigger, but the feelings and emotions that the trigger prompts are the direct result of the way we think about, or interpret, events and situations.
  • Worries and anxiety start to become a problem when it interferes with normal activities or things children need or want to do.