Children And Their New-fangled Anxieties

In an era where the Generation Alpha is constantly bombarded with superfluous information which may be misleading, this new-fangled situation can be successfully exited with the support of parents, friends, teachers, as well as the child’s own inner power

Pandemic was a phase of challenges for everyone. In the horrifying period that has just passed us by, we saw how even the healthiest of people succumbed to the lethal pandemic. This scenario was made uglier by natural adversities, economic slowdown and overall disturbances in our life patterns and has not only reinforced the belief of life unpredictability but has also given rise to some new-fangled anxieties. Anxiety is a common emotion while confronting daily issues and stresses. But when these emotions are persistent, excessive & irrational and affect a person’s ability to function, then they result in a disorder. It is a vague feeling of apprehension, confusion and edginess, a sense of helplessness, pessimism, muscle tension, palpitations and difficulty in breathing.

An emotionally, mentally and physically growing child tends to worry more about every conceivable circumstance and faces anxiety when they think they cannot achieve their academic or non-academic purposes. Nevertheless, sometimes anxiety may encourage students to think more critically about how to achieve their goals. Students cope with anxiety in different ways, but some may struggle. Researchers have hypothesised that academic pressure, the use of electronic devices and social media may be contributing to the rise in anxiety and depression as we saw these forces becoming stronger during the pandemic.

Children sometimes fail to interpret their feelings. When their life is not organised or they are not disciplined and the situation demands great efforts, management and modifications to face the challenges, they fail to stretch their limits leading to hassles, strain and sometimes stress. If stress is prolonged, it leads to anxiety. They need acceptance, understanding and coping strategies to deal with it; instead they panic and do not want to face the situation. They look for solutions outside when the problem is inside and stop working on themselves. They describe their feelings inappropriately and sometimes interchangeably as they lack the psychological vocabulary to name their feeling and emotion.

There is a difference between fear, strain, stress, anxiety and depression etc. Sage Open Medicine undertook a total of 35 surveys with over 65,000 participants as a part of their study which included individuals aged between 4 and 19. As per the result of this 2022 review, the most prevalent reported mental health conditions were anxiety (28 per cent), depression (23 per cent), loneliness (5 per cent), stress (5 per cent), fear (5 per cent), tension (3 per cent), anger (3 per cent), exhaustion (3 per cent), confusion (3 per cent) and concern (3 per cent).

How to help, support and treat children’s anxieties?

The following ways can be helpful in slowly making children face their anxieties and eventually overcoming them:

General health evaluation: The first step should be getting an evaluation from a healthcare professional, such as your child's general care physician or a mental health expert.

Behaviour therapy: This treatment of the child may or may not include family. This strategy may as well take the school’s help.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy: This is one type of treatment that addresses sadness or anxiety, especially in older kids. It assists the child in transforming negative thoughts into more constructive, productive thoughts, resulting in more helpful behavior.

Eat healthy: A diet high in proteins, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts can be quite effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Be busy: Participating in sports, action hobbies, aerobics, yoga and other physical, meditative, and recreational activities is essential. One of the main sources of mental wellness is physical fitness. Parents and guardians should limit children's screen time to no more than two hours a day, even though downtime for studying is acceptable. The key is – reducing sedentary time and being more active.

Sleep: A routine is often underappreciated and neglected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a pre-schooler, a schooler, and a teen should have 10-13, 9-12 and 8-10 hours of sleep per 24 hours, respectively. So kids, please sleep.

Open communication: Communication is the engine for social relationships and it involves listening, availability, understanding, mutual respect and emotion. Focusing on areas of communication between the parents and their wards will enable addressing of pressing issues.

Psychotherapy and medication: Simple strategies such as relaxation techniques and regular exercise are effective in reducing anxiety and contributing to emotional well-being. Psychotherapy can help and is sometimes used together with medication to reduce and eliminate signs and symptoms. 

In an era where the Generation Alpha is constantly bombarded with superfluous information which may be misleading, this new-fangled situation can be successfully exited with the support of parents, friends, teachers, as well as the child’s own inner power. There is a need to develop sustainability, persistence and consistency using positivity and adaptability.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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children Anxieties fear stress

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