Anxiety shows in many different ways. Often it limits the child’s life experiences and restricts family choices. Your child may be:
- Worrying about what might happen.
- Replaying negative past experiences.
- Trying to control their environment including people and routines.
- Dominated by fears – often irrational and lifestyle limiting.
- Withdrawing from social situations and interaction.
- In refusal mode. Often due to an underlying fear of failure.
- Having difficulty with change, transitions and choosing.
- Driven to the comfort received from repetitive behaviours.
- Prone to meltdowns, sometimes in reactive mode, being aggressive or hostile or turned on themselves.
- Feeling different and excluded.
- Confused about reading the intentions and emotions of others and non-literal interpretation.
- Frustrated by their limitations and the many challenges of their environment.
- Withdrawing from social interaction, or physically curling up in a corner or under a table.
Fears of spiders, water, birds may relate to learnt behaviour from situations or the responses of those around them. Many appear irrational and extreme. All are disruptive to a calm life!
More than one infant reflex can contribute to high levels of anxiety and the main one produces cortisol, a stress hormone. If this infant reflex is highly active, the cortisol keeps the child on high alert. Life is highly stressful for the child and all who come in contact. Associated issues with sleep, eating, self-harm and friendships can all be affected and add to the impact on the whole family.