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Signs & Causes of Anxiety In Children

You can feel the nervousness settling in. It feels like there are butterflies in your stomach. Your palms feel clammy, and your hands are shaking.

You know this is a normal feeling. You've felt it before, and you'll feel it again. It's anxiety again. You're very familiar with it. It comes and goes whenever you have something stressful going on in your life.

You've noticed that your kids are starting to show some of these same signs, but you're not exactly sure what they would be stressed or anxious about. Your anxiety usually comes due to adult things like work, finances, or relationships.

Let's learn more about some of the signs and causes of anxiety in children.

The Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of anxiety are caused by the body's response to stress. The body and brain will work to go into fight or flight mode as a way to protect itself from any perceived threats.

These are some of the most common signs and symptoms of anxiety in children:

  • Anger

  • Avoidance

  • Changes in appetite

  • Clammy hands

  • Difficulty in school

  • Digestive issues

  • Dry mouth

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Racing heart

  • Restlessness

  • Shaking or trembling

  • Shortness of breath

  • Wetting the bed

  • Withdrawing from social activities

The Causes

Just like anxiety in adults, there isn't a specific cause for anxiety. That being said, there are several known factors that can contribute to anxiety. These are some of the most common factors or causes of anxiety in children.

Brain Chemistry

If the chemicals in the brain aren't functioning properly, it can cause disorders like anxiety or even depression.


Just like an adult, a child's environment or life experiences can be a huge cause or risk factor in developing anxiety. While an adult's stressors may include things like work, finances, or family matters, stressful situations for children can include things like:

  • Abuse

  • Death of a loved one

  • Divorce

  • Illness

  • Loss

  • Violence


While boys are girls can both show signs and symptoms of anxiety, girls are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder when compared to boys. Girls are twice as likely to develop anxiety compared to boys.


Genetics can play a big role in a child developing anxiety. Unfortunately, if you or someone in your family struggles with anxiety, your child is more likely to struggle with anxiety as well. Children may actually inherit genes that may make them more prone to having anxiety.

Learned Behaviors

In addition to genetics playing a factor in the development of anxiety in children, learned behaviors can also play a role. If there are members within a family who are often anxious or fearful of stressful situations, a child will learn to be stressed or afraid of similar situations. A child picks up on a lot from members of a family. They can pick up on anxious traits as well.


Personality can also be a factor in the development of anxiety. If your child tends to be naturally shy or cautious of certain people, places, or situations, they are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

How to Help Your Child

If you have a child who is experiencing signs and symptoms of anxiety, you're not alone. Anxiety is a treatable condition. There are even things that you can do at home on your own end to help your child cope with their anxious feelings. If you're in need of some additional support, a licensed and trained mental health professional will be able to help you and your child work through their anxiety. Reach out to us today if you're interested in learning more about treatment options for child therapy.

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1 Comment

love lucio
love lucio
Sep 09, 2023

Here, dismissive avoidance. I literally cannot stay with someone and would prefer to go before I am left It's difficult for me to build and maintain true friendships, not just with love partners. I want everyone to stay outside of this invisible emotional bubble that surrounds me. Fortunately, I am working on my relationship with my therapist at

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