Mamã, dói-me a barriga! - Catita illustrations

Mummy, my tummy hurts!

Increase in anxiety among young children; importance of educating to "feel" and deal with frustration; when is it necessary to seek specialized help?
Coco and Lemon Easter Eggs Reading Mummy, my tummy hurts! 3 minutes Next Empty Days

Sometimes (often!) I find myself looking back and returning to childhood... In recent years, I have been dealing with a significant increase in young children who present symptoms of anxiety. This is in the 1st cycle of school. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they are mostly cases of situations where it is "normal" to feel nervous (it is only considered a problem when there are a series of identified symptoms and when it causes harm to the child's life).

Tom Percival Illustration

In these situations where it is "normal" to feel nervous, I notice the need to educate and support our children to be more independent and to react better to frustration.

Hence, I remember the past.

I believe this was the big difference. Not that there was no anxiety in childhood, that's not what I mean, but children "in my time" had more freedom, were more "free", with fewer curricular activities and more opportunities to learn to be happy with the simple things in life.

Tom Percival Illustration

In other situations, the situations where there is a real diagnosis for Anxiety Disorder, it is very important to seek specialized help; never devalue what the child is feeling and transmitting; show that it is normal to FEEL and not be ashamed of it; explain to the child what is happening (depending on age) and we can do meditation or breathing exercises, for example:

Sit the child on your lap and place a lit candle on a table, at a distance that is safe and prevents the child from being able to grab it. Ask the child to fill their lungs with air and blow hard to try to blow out the candle.

After a few breaths, "give some help" so that they can blow out the candle.

Tom Percival Illustration

IMPORTANT NOTE - as a parent, you are doing your best. Parenthood is a learning process that never ends. Not even when our children are 50 years old. So, let's just simplify things. Let's also try as adults to learn to deal with our own emotional/psychological health issues.

An interesting fact is that most parents who seek help to deal with their children's anxiety always say:

"I also suffer a lot from anxiety!" Curious, isn't it?


Ana Oliveira

CEO of The Psychological Effect clinic, Clinical Psychologist with 18 years of professional experience, and my friend ♥

Illustrations from here (click on the image to buy):

Tom Percival Illustrations

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