What Comes Back to Haunt You: Anxiety

 By: John Smi
Children all tend to show signs of anxiety. This is understandable since as children have a lot of things to adjust to that adults have already allowed their minds to get used to. All those new experiences can be a little overwhelming for a child whose mind has yet to fully adapt to his own situation, let alone being thrust into an entirely unfamiliar environment. To a certain degree, a little child anxiety is actually perfectly normal and, to a degree, perhaps even expected. However, if your child does not outgrow his anxiety, it can lead to some psychological disorders later in life. If that occurs, a little social anxiety might turn out to be the least of your worries.

Child anxiety, contrary to what some might believe, can lead to problems later on in life. The obvious evolution would be social anxiety, particularly if the child just can't seem to adapt himself to the social situations he finds himself in. Since being sociable and being able to adapt to changing social situations is an integral part of a professional development, being seen by one's superiors to be unable to work well within a team or organization can result in a stunted career. Social anxiety can also cause the child to lose confidence in other facets of his life, which can then result in an inferiority complex.

There are very few concrete studies that show how child anxiety can develop into any other mental disorder, though there is ample evidence to suggest that this is happening. The question, in reality, is just what this anxiety can develop into when a person reaches adulthood, as well as when the critical time for dealing with the problem would be. Another concern is how to tell when the child's behavior is perfectly natural and when the child is starting to show signs of a problem that needs to be fixed. All too often, it is considered a highly subjective thing and it can be difficult for even medical professionals to tell the difference between the two.

Among the more common disorders that require moderate therapy include social anxiety and separation anxiety disorder. Children generally have difficulty with the concept of "letting go" of the people that they feel safe with. This inability to let go can easily develop into separation anxiety if allowed to develop into adulthood. While the targets of the problem changes, the nature of it remains essentially the same. The inability to adapt to situations socially has already been mentioned, though this can also potentially lead to performance anxiety if the adult is capable of recognizing his own skills but is incapable of utilizing them to full effect.

A problem here is the lack of concrete information on the development of this problem, as well as the lack of attention it is receiving. There are only a few studies that are dedicated to this particular facet of psychology, mainly because anxiety disorders in adults tend to be the more prominent focus. Another problem lies in the number of environmental factors to be considered, as well as the various differences in children's personalities. However, the core problem in diagnosing this problem lies in the perception of the parents themselves. One parent's child anxiety can be interpreted as nothing more than ordinary shyness by another parent.
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