(Photo: Dwayne Bent)
Anxiety in kids one of the most common disorders
Parents naturally comfort their children when they are scared, but new research shows that some reactions may actually reinforce their children’s feelings of anxiety.
A new Arizona State University study shows that parents whose children suffer from anxiety often fall into the “protection trap” that may influence their child’s behavior. The paper, “Variations in the Influence of Parental Socialization of Anxiety among Clinic Referred Children,” was published in the journal, “Child Psychiatry and Human Development,” by ASU graduate student Lindsay Holly, who is earning her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, and Armando A. Pina, ASU associate professor in child developmental psychology. Researchers analyzed self-report questionnaires and clinical interviews that were completed by 70 children aged 6 to 16 who were being treated for anxiety at a university-based program.
“Anxiety in kids is one of the most common disorders in childhood. A certain amount of anxiety is normal and necessary to stay safe. It’s when the problematic levels of anxiety crop up when you can’t go to school or hang out with friends that it becomes a major problem,” Holly said. “That’s when we can really look at what parents are doing and guide them in having a big impact on helping their kids cope with fears.”