Anxiety in Youth

Anxiety in Youth

It seems that today’s children are experiencing problems with anxiety much more than children in the past. Anxiety can zap the joy from childhood and set children up for continued emotional difficulty in the future. Signs of anxiety in children can include:

  • Insistence on perfection
  • Avoidance of feared situations
  • Seeking Excessive Reassurance
  • Repetitive Behaviors
  • Excessive Checking
  • Difficulty with Decisions
  • Frequent Somatic Complaints
  • Easily Overwhelmed
  • Sensitive to Criticism
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrollable fears, worry, or “what if’s”
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty focusing in high-stress situations (mind “going blank”)
  • Shutting down or melting down in the face of perceived pressure

Children can experience the same anxiety disorders as adults, but they may not always recognize the feeling of being worried or anxious. Some children may deny these feelings when they do recognize them. Children can, however, still benefit from therapeutic interventions.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the preferred treatment for anxiety in children. CBT techniques that may be used include:

  • Learning relaxation skills
  • Positive self-talk
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Compartmentalizing worry
  • Re-evaluating thoughts



Protecting children from their fears and continually reassuring them will only serve to strengthen their anxiety, but they should not be forced into feared situations without the proper tools. With help learning the right skills, children can learn to manage anxiety and enjoy their youth!