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Children and Anxiety

By: Samantha Knowles
Every child has fears or anxieties and this is normal.

I have an 11-year old who is not quite a teenager and not quite ready to embrace his independence. I tried leaving him at home alone to go to the store after he assured me that he would be fine. Twenty minutes into the trip, I got a call from a neighbor I hardly know asking if I was o.k. Apparently, my 11-year old was NOT o.k. staying home alone and had wandered over to a neighbor to ask if they could call me because he was worried. Talk about a bad mommy moment. I should've never left him alone in the first place.

His behavior is normal. He was trying to be tough and was clearly not ready to take on this big step. We have decided that we will wait a few more years before we try that again.

Occasionally though, a child's fears can go too far. Sometimes, fears and anxieties go beyond what is normal and you need to know what to look for.

OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, makes a child unable to stop worrying - no matter how hard they try. It can cause them to develop behaviors that they cannot stop.

Children suffering from OCD feel like they must do particular things often to negate these fears. These are called compulsions or rituals, and the child will likely not understand or be able to explain why they are doing these things. By completing these rituals, it eases their minds for a short time. Unfortunately, this feeling doesn't last long and the child feels they must continue repeating the behavior. Here are some common fears and how to know when those fears may be a sign of OCD.

Fear of Germs - It is normal for children to want to stay clean. Depending on their parents, a child may have had the concept of cleanliness drilled into them from the time they were very young. What crosses the line into OCD is when a child becomes paranoid to the point where he (or she) engages in rituals like washing his hands to the point of causing rawness and pain.

Fear of Harm - A child may have worries about harm coming upon themselves or their family. To a small degree, this is a part of growing up and realizing that the world isn't the perfectly safe place you once imagined. However, OCD can cause a child to fear harm to the point of obsessively checking to make sure, for example, that appliances are off so a fire won't start, or that doors are locked so no one can break in.

Tags : Children ,Anxiety ,child ,fears
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Article Number : 213676
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