These days, it seems there’s so much more for us parents to worry about. Technology has enhanced our lives in many ways, but it also poses a major challenge for our kids. Overexposure and online bullying are two topics that are close to any dad’s heart. But on top of that, teen depression, anxiety, and suicide rates are at an all-time high.
Those of us with teenage girls should be especially concerned with suicide rates because of an alarming spike in this demographic. There’s also a startling correlation between anxiety, depression, and addiction or substance abuse.
So, it’s important to look out for signs that something is not quite right.
Look for the following signs that your daughter is suffering from anxiety.
- Physical symptoms of anxiety
One of the most dangerous things about anxiety is that it often manifests itself physically, so your child may not even be fully aware that anxiety is the root problem. The following signs may indicate that your daughter is dealing with anxiety:
- Constipation without medical reason
- Unexplainable stomach aches
- Rapid heart rate
- Refusing to go to school
If there’s a stark change in your daughter’s attitude towards school, she may be experiencing anxiety. Talk to her about what’s going on there. Conflict with friends, bullying or stress over grades are all things that can cause or worsen a child’s anxiety.
- Emergence of rituals
There’s a subtle difference between ritual and routine. Brushing your teeth before bed is routine. But if you notice that your daughter must brush her teeth in a certain sequence each night, this may be a ritual. Rituals are repetitive behaviors that must be completed in a set order. In this example, if your daughter gets interrupted while brushing her teeth, she may need to start over. If your daughter has a ritual, she will fight to complete the tasks in a very specific way.
If your daughter starts withdrawing from her normal activities, anxiety may be the cause. When kids become anxious about a specific outcome, it’s normal for them to avoid the activity. For example, your daughter who used to enjoy sports suddenly won’t play basketball or softball; anxiety is one possibility. She may have a fear of failure or of getting hurt. There’s only one way to find out what’s going on, and that’s to talk about her behavior.
- Social isolation
Your daughter could have a form of social anxiety if she avoids large groups of people. She may stop wanting to go to large family events or her friend’s big birthday parties. If you notice this behavior, talk to her about the patterns and why she’s feeling the way she is.
Anxiety is more of an issue than many of us realize because it can lead to things like depression and substance abuse. If you notice that your daughter is exhibiting signs of anxiety, talk to her first. You may be able to help her find healthy ways to deal with her stress.
If she doesn’t open up or if you think her problem is severe, try getting her to a counselor.