Everyone, right from a toddler to an adult
experiences anxiety at one time or the other in their life and it is closely
related to fear which is another normal and necessary emotion that everyone
experiences. Anxiety is often associated with an anticipated fear of something
happening in future and is very common among children between ages 2 to 6
years. There are various kinds of anxieties in children and their nature keeps
changing with the child’s growth.
- Just born kids experience
“Stranger Anxiety” when confronted by people they don’t recognise and are often
seen clinging to parents/people they see on a regular basis.
- At toddler
stage, a child experiences “Separation Anxiety” when one or both the parents
leave the child in the environment he is not used to.
- Children in the
age group of 4 to 7 have anxiety for things that don’t exist in reality but
terrifies them like ghosts, monsters and zombies.
- “Social anxiety” is seen in
many children as young as 2 years and they often have the fear of meeting and
interacting with people and often have few friends outside the family.
What causes anxiety/phobia/fear?
makeup of a child:
many other traits that a child picks up from his/her parents, anxiety is also
one such trait that genetically gets transmitted to a child and are born with
anxious temperament and seem to be anxious of many situations without any
Transitions in the family:
the child grows up, he goes through a lot of transitions in the family that
could range from addition of a new member in the family to the loss of an
existing one. Anxiety can develop through transition from staying at home to
going to school and making new friends and mastering new tasks.
Disturbing incidents in the past -
family goes through multiple phases of life and there; will be instances where
parents might separate leaving the child in a confused and a traumatised state.
In many of the cases a child gets disturbed both mentally and physically when
two families (staying together as an extended family) gets separated after a
long time of staying together. Extended separation from the family members can
also add to the levels of anxiety.
incidents in the past - External:
are various external factors that can mentally affect the child especially when
he/she is growing up in a place where there is a probability of community
violence, natural disasters etc.
from the above mentioned broader categories, there may be various other reasons
that can make a child anxious, but not in a healthier way. Recurrence of such
behaviour can help a parent identify them and take necessary steps to overcome