Why are children experiencing stress and anxiety in record numbers? And what can be done?


10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

Mental Health Foundation (Children’s Society, 2008)

The startling facts above show the need for much more early intervention. Here at Honey and Ryan Counselling Services, we are now reaching out to all the local schools and parents to try and provide this. Through our private work and work with charities for young children and adolescents, we have seen the difference early intervention can make.

Children are becoming more and more overwhelmed with the stress and anxiety of living in this modern world. All parents want is the best for their children but sometimes they get caught up in the pressures of the modern world.

Somewhere over the last 10 years parenting has become a type of competition. The hidden stress this places on growing children causes many other issues that delay healthy development on all levels emotionally, socially, mentally and cognitively. – See more at: http://www.confident-woman.com.au/managing-anxiety-children/2010/1/21/the-causes-of-stress-and-anxiety-in-children.html#sthash.3urnBaWQ.dpuf

There are many reasons for the stressed child. Too busy; too pre occupied; high expectation; absence of unconditional love and attention; personality traits; pressure to perform; no boundaries; too many boundaries; mental and physical abuse. These are all factors plus many more that contribute to a child’s wellbeing.

How do we spot when our child is anxious or stressed? Notice their change of behaviour; do they have anxiety related illnesses; are they withdrawing from their normal social events; are they showing repetitive behaviours; are they more sensitive and tearful; do they have over exaggerated tantrums? So what can a parent do to help their child return to an emotional balance? Offer your child praise and encouragement; take time out to listen to your child; give them the space to express how they feel; do not try to criticise them but instead try to encourage a more positive outlook. Children can become depressed if they are flooded with self-directed messages of inadequacy and doubt. If a child doesn’t feel heard they can feel inadequate, their self-esteem can be affected.

Children are perceptive, instinctively knowing when there is a problem but are immature to work out what the problem is. In many cases children blame themselves, so try to be open and honest keeping the explanation and wording child appropriate. You may find in doing so the anxiety is taken away from their young shoulders helping them regulate their emotions in a balanced way.

For further help and advice contact:- Ellen Umhoefer: 07968206742 Honey & Ryan Counselling Services

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