If you have always described your child as "high-strung," then they may simply worry a bit more than other children. While this may be true, your son or daughter may also have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are not particularly common in children, but they can be extremely devastating to your child's academic and social progress, so it is best to have your child evaluated for issues as soon as you notice a potential problem. Keep reading to learn about two anxiety disorder your child may develop.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
It is normal for children to develop some degree of social anxiety when they first start school. Preschool and kindergarten children will often cry or become nervous when starting school and your son or daughter may ask a variety of "what if" questions. While this is true, your child may also have something called separation anxiety disorder. This disorder presents with much more extreme symptoms than what you would see with general anxiety. Also, the disorder is more likely to develop in children who are between the ages of seven and nine, when you would expect your child to be more independent.
Some signs of the disorder include a complete unwillingness to go to school. If your child is forced, they will talk about fears and worries that are illogical and extreme for the situation. Your child may speak about worries that something bad will happen to caregivers while they are away. Also, your son or daughter may feel as though something terrible is going to happen.
Not only will your child have a hard time going to school, but they may not want to sleep over at someone else's home. This includes grandparents and close friends. When your child does go to bed, he or she may beg you to stay with them until they fall asleep.
Selective silence or mutism disorder is when your son or daughter decides not to speak or interact when in a social situation. This typically happens when your child is at school and chooses to stay completely quiet throughout the day. It is most noticeable in situations where your child should speak when it is appropriate. For instance, when they are asked their name, when a teacher calls on them for an answer, or when another child tries to interact with them.
Selective silence may be a condition of its own or it may be something that occurs in addition to a general anxiety or social anxiety disorder. Children typically speak normally at home and when out with parents. This is one reason why parents are often surprised when teachers inform them that children will not talk when at school. Contact a counselor, such as at Commonweath Affiliates PC, for more help.