Childhood panic disorder is not uncommon. Many people think that only adults can suffer from anxiety disorders, but that is not true. These feelings of panic and anxiousness can start at a young age. This is why it is important that parents understand what they can do to help their child deal with this serious disorder.
1. Don't Disregard Their Feelings
One of the hard things about a panic disorder is that the fears can be irrational. For instance, your child may be scared about something happening that is completely strange. They might be scared of being swarmed by flies, vomiting, losing all their teeth, or a myriad of other things. Their fears, although strange, are real to them. Telling them that there is nothing to worry about is not necessarily helpful. Instead, it will only make them feel like you don't understand and push them further into isolation.
By validating their fear, you don't have to validate that they are right. For instance, you can express that you understand that they are scared of flies, however, you can brainstorm together the likelihood of this happening, and what they would do in this instance. Simply telling the child that they are being silly, or to "get over it" can make the problem worse.
2. Give The Child Extra Support
Each child has a set of different challenges, which is why it might require the parent to handle each child differently. You can expect some children to go to school by themselves each day without any help. However, a child with an anxiety disorder may need more help and support. You enable the child by teaching them the proper coping skills. This may mean that at first you help them by walking them to school and taking them into their classroom. You may need to even leave a comfort object, like a small toy or something they can carry in their pocket to make them feel like you are with them. Then as the child learns to cope better, you can start to pull away. It may be a process to get the child to have a normal life, but it can be done.
3. Consider Medication
In some cases the child may need medication. If the disorder is serious enough that they are unable to function in everyday life, they may need to see a counselor or therapist about more options. Mental illness is just like a physical illness, and sometimes the best way to combat it is through medication.
By understanding how to handle your child's anxiety disorder you can help them get the relief they need. For assistance, talk to a professional like Clinical Services.