How to Spot Anxiety in Your Child

The Checklist

The following check list can help you observe your child or teen and recognize anxiety. If you recognize with certainty at least five of those traits, you need to help your child/teen:

  • Pessimism and negative thinking patterns such as imagining the worst
    (Someone is going to break in, no one likes me
  • Constant worry about things that might happen or have happened
  • Over-exaggerating the negatives
    (This ALWAYS happens to me)
  • Rigidity and inflexibility, self-criticism, guilty thoughts, etc.
    (I will never be able to learn that, I will never know how to…)
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness, irritability, tantrums
  • Opposition and defiance
  • Crying
  • Physical complaints such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  • Avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding things or places or refusing to do things or go places
  • Sleeping difficulties, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, nightmares, or night terror
  • Perfectionism
    (redoing this, feeling very rigid)
  • Excessive clinginess and separation anxiety(can show in acting out to force the parent to cancel an appointment to stay home)
  • Procrastination
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Withdrawal from activities and family interactions
  • Eating disturbances

Anxious children and teen can be very demanding and will often become emotional when things don’t go the way they want. Parents can find it difficult to be firm and know what the right limits are, this often leads to giving in to the demands.