Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, a little anxiety helps kids get their homework done on time, helps adults get to work on time, and remember to pay their cell phone bill. Too much anxiety can prevent kids from going to school, joining a club, or asking to be included in a game at recess. Later in life, it can prevent teenagers from applying for a part time job, venturing away from home for college or asking for an extension from a professor for an assignment.
How do you know when anxiety is a problem? When anxiety is persistent, impacts multiple areas of a child’s life, and interferes significantly with the child reaching age appropriate goals, anxiety may need to be treated by a professional. If the anxiety gets worse over time, rather than better, it may also be time to seek advice. Finally when a child is not able to do the things most kids do at a specific age, seek help. While it is normal for a 5 year old child to need a parent to walk them into school in the first day, a 15 year old would not be expected to need that support (or want it!).
Parents should look for treatment providers who use evidence based interventions, meaning those that have been proven to be effective by scientific studies comparing different treatments. Getting treatment early can help avoid anxiety later in life.
To learn more about receiving help for your child's anxiety, clickhere.
Dr. Diane Franz is a Pediatric Psychologist at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. Dr. Franz completed graduate training at the University of Mississippi, her internship at Georgetown University Medical School and went on to receive her postdoctoral training at University of Massachusetts Medical Center. With over 21 years of experience, Dr. Franz has made it her life mission to help children and families navigate the interface between medical and psychological issues. She says that throughout her tenure, she continues to learn something new from her patients and enjoys contributing to the positive change that happens in their lives.