All children feel anxiousness from time to time. The kind of anxieties they face in their childhood change with age. However, if they cannot outgrow these fears or if they go on for longer periods they will develop an anxiety disorder. Children suffering from anxiety disorders will act angry or irritable and will have difficulty in sleeping. They experience various physical issues such as stomach aches or headaches. These children face significant social issues such as difficulty in social interaction at home and in social life. Childhood worry is strongly influenced by the way parenting responds to various emotions in children.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The most effective treatment for children suffering from childhood anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It teaches the parents various healthy ways of coping up with the children’s worries and emotions. However, some children do not adapt to the therapy or do not follow it properly. Sometimes the children that complete the therapy respond only in half measures.
Involvement of Parents
Studies indicate that the involvement of parents in the treatment of a child can also help in the reduction of apprehension. As we know, parents are in a unique position to help their kids. Children tend to rely on them naturally for protection and reassurance. But some ways of accommodating the fears of children at the time they occur might lessen the nervousness pangs at the time they occur. This will also prevent the child from learning to deal with them on their own as they are growing. For instance one of the parents may wish to sleep with a child suffering from separation worry. Or they may avoid having the guests over when the child is suffering from a social phobia.
Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE)
There was a study called SPACE (Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions) that was performed for deciding whether educating parents various strategies to respond to the anxiety in children’s works as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The team conducting the study was led by Dr. Eli Lebowitz at the Yale Child Study Center. SPACE aids the parents in identifying the accommodating behavior they can decrease and teach the children new ways of responding to the situations. This research was aided by NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) and NCATS. The results were published on the internet in 2019.
Parents who took part in the SPACE program learned various methods of responding to the child’s anxieties and communicate with them to instill confidence in their capability to cope with the emotions. These parents worked with the counselors to identify the methods to reduce the apprehension in a child and create a plan for doing it. Parents were also provided various problem-solving strategies to respond to the children’s reactions to changes. The kids that were assigned to the CBT received a standard treatment from expert counselors to learn about anxieties and various strategies that can be used for coping with the worries. Parents were provided information about the CBT the child was getting.
SPACE and CBT
Both these treatments decrease the level of concern in children and the related emotional disorders to a degree. Parents taking part in both groups experienced a drop in the stress related to parenting. The findings of the search indicate that both approaches work well for reducing unease in children.
There are two evidence-based treatments available for treating anxiety in children – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication. But it is also a fact that just half the children respond to these lines of treatment and as a result, there is a great need for alternative lines of treatment. Teaching parents various ways of responding to child apprehension can decrease the symptoms along with the standard therapy treatments for child fretfulness. Parent based treatment will provide an effective strategy for the treatment. You can get in touch with The TMS Advantage for more information.
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