Childline counsellors regularly speak to children and young people under a lot of pressure and stress, which has resulted in them experiencing anxiety.
For the last two years, the world has been forced to adapt to pandemic conditions and face a lot of uncertainty that has felt overwhelming to children at times.
We're all different, and everyone experiences feelings differently. Feelings such as excitement or anger are largely universal, but the symptoms of stress or anxiety are different for everyone and can be harder to understand.
What feels fine one day might not the next. Stress can start as a simple worry and grow into a panic, and leave you feeling shaky or nervous, tired, frustrated or upset.
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If you are worried your child may be experiencing stress or anxiety, it’s important to reassure them that everyone feels this way from time to time.
Encourage them to talk about their feelings, and try to examine the root of the problem – what is making them feel stressed?
Perhaps there’s an issue with schoolwork they’re worried about, maybe it’s something to do with a relationship.
They might be worried about a loved one, feeling overwhelmed by the news and world events, or their future.
Whatever their concern is, it’s important to be understanding. It’s not as simple as saying "you shouldn’t worry about that”. That’s not helpful.
What can be helpful, is exploring ways for children to manage their stress.
Some children find it helpful to write or draw about their thoughts and feelings, while others find exercise or sports can help relax them.
Most importantly, encouraging young people to talk about how they feel is a great way to help them to feel better.
Whether they talk to you, a teacher or friend, or one of our Childline counsellors, remind them they don’t have to face things alone.
There is a lot of information on the Childline website – www.childline.org.uk – and other tools which can help children who are feeling stressed or anxious.