Child Anxiety

Child anxiety, can present as refusal or reluctance to go to school which so easily arises from a child’s anxiety manifesting as extreme shyness or nervousness. They could have difficulty or fear interacting with their peers so develop a strong need to stay at home with family members. Their anguish may be expressed in the form of frequent temper tantrums, crying bouts, broken sleep and/or nightmares. Bedwetting is not unusual. The anxious child who does attend school may also have difficulty in concentrating and so their academic performance tends to drops off, neither is it unusual for children to present with physical complaints such as headaches, stomach-ache, muscle aches and general tiredness.

Tackling child anxiety successfully is of paramount importance for the sanity and well-being of both parent and child. We need to therefore consider a number of strategies.

Firstly, we need to question how effective we are as Primary carers/parents in creating a stable, predictable environment at home. What this means, is that we need to develop routines at home so our children know what is coming up next. The bedtime routine for instance, has the same format each evening i.e. the evening meal is followed by play time then having a wash/bath and leading to getting dressed into pyjamas prior to a cuddle and read before bed. Likewise there would be a set routine in the morning which might be getting dressed after getting up, eating breakfast and only playing with toys/watching TV when they are completely ready for school. These examples do sound quite ‘picture perfect’ especially when these two periods of the day are the very times that our children are likely to play up and become difficult to manage. So how might we manage this situation positively, how might we make it happen?

As parents we need to buy into the concept of being consistent and therefore being predictable. No matter how much our children play up, we need to resist giving in and consistently stick to the set of home rules that we have already put in place. These prominently placed home rules of which there should be no more than five, are placed somewhere visible (in picture form for younger children). House rule examples could be something like ‘Always use a quiet voice indoors’, ‘Always knock and wait, before entering someone’s bedroom’, ‘Always be polite to each other’, ‘Balls are for the outdoors only’.

We make our house rules to suit the smooth running of our own family unit, so they may vary from family to family. Needless to say, small rewards (other than food, sweets and money) need to be given to incentivise your children to keep to the rules, but do remember to keep the rewards varied and very affordable. As the new habits are established, start easing off the rewards replacing them with more praise. Children love positive attention and are therefore more likely to repeat the behaviour for which they are praised.

All these strategies require a lot of personal effort on the parent’s side but it is well worth the investment. By creating a safe positive home environment that is predictable and stable, your children will find home life comforting, nurturing and stabilising to the extent that a solid foundation of safety has been created at home. In this way our children are being equipped to deal with anything that life throws at them, outside the home. They have a home that is safe and predictable providing a safe secure haven in which they can flourish and recover from the day’s ills. Naturally when children feel valued, listened to and praised for when they do well and loved unconditionally, they will also learn there are sensible repercussions for when they misbehave. They therefore grow up with confidence, self-esteem as well as a sense of personal responsibility for any actions they take. Anxiety has little room in their lives when they grow up safely and securely with a ‘Can Do’ attitude.

Sometimes, despite putting these very effective measures in place, a few children may still present with some anxiety concerns. We now need to look at the fact that children learn by copying. They so easily copy the behaviour of those around them.  Be mindful of members in the family that are presenting with anxiety concerns, in which case it is important that the adult or family member is treated for their anxiety as indeed is the anxious child.

The preferred treatment, Bach flower therapy, which is a natural treatment, free of side effects, is totally safe for babies to take and does not interfere with any other medication, is highly effective yet gentle. There are thirty eight plant based Bach flower remedies (one for every possible emotion that needs balancing). Mimulus is likely to be the remedy of choice here to balance general known fears and anxiety. (However other emotions could be involved that require balancing. Advice can be given on request}.

Mimulus is taken over a 3 week period in drinks or directly to the mouth via a pipette as droplets. If the emotion has been longstanding then the remedy may need to be repeated two or three times with the understanding that the fears and anxiety will progressively diminish. For more information read Preparing your Bach Flower Remedies and Bach Flower Remedies

Bach flower remedies are one of nature’s greatest stress busters and I would strongly recommend these remedies find their way into everyone’s medicine cabinet. Each 30 ml stock bottle contains 80 drops and as only 2 drops are needed to take you through a 3 week treatment, each stock bottle is a very economical form of treatment. Despite ‘use by dates’ the stock bottles remain robust to the last drop for however long. Licensing laws require ‘use by dates’ so never throw out your stock bottles of Bach Flower remedies.

For advice on how to chunk down the above strategies into a meaningful do-able plan feel free to discuss how this can be done to ensure your child’s life chances to maximise life opportunities are put in place.

Preparing your Bach Flower Remedies

Preparation

Take two drops from your stock remedy bottle and add it to a 30 ml treatment bottle.

If for example you have 4 prescribed stock remedy bottles, you would use 2 drops from each totalling 8 drops that need to be added to your treatment bottle

Now add spring water to the treatment bottle filling it up to the neck of the bottle

Finally add 1 teaspoon of brandy or any good quality alcohol. This acts as a preservative ensuring the treatment bottle water and drops do not become tainted over the three week period that you will be taking them. Cider vinegar can replace the alcohol if you wish.

Administering

Take 4 drops, four times a day. First thing in the morning, last thing at night and twice in between during the day. The drops can be taken in any drinks, hot or cold, even in soup or they can be taken directly in the mouth via the pipette, but do take care in avoiding contact with parts of the mouth or tongue so as not to contaminate the pipette. Children take half dose i.e. 2 drops four times a day with a mixing bottle containing two or more stock remedies whilst babies take one drop four times a day with a mixing bottle containing two or more stock remedies.

Pets may also be treated with Bach Flower Therapy.

For convenience the drops can be put in a bottle of spring water (8 drops from your treatment bottle) which can be sipped throughout the day and so covering you for two of the four doses taken daily.

Those emotions that have been imbalanced for a substantial amount of time may require a second 3 week treatment or even longer .Recently presenting imbalanced emotions usually become balanced after the initial 3 week treatment period. Children take half dose, babies a quarter.

The remedies are totally safe, can be taken alongside other medication and have no known side effects. Licensing laws require a sell by date to be issued on each bottle but in fact the Bach flower remedies will last untainted so do resist from throwing away partly used stock bottles past their sell by date.

Research conducted by bodies using Bach flower remedies correctly, have shown that Rescue remedy – a collection of five remedies has shown a positive impact on balancing those in high emotional stress situations. Currently pilot studies are in progress to further show the impact of other Bach flower remedies.

Bach Flower Remedies

Bach Flower Remedies are made from flower and plant essences. There are 38 remedies to match every possible mood we may possibly experience.

Dr Bach, a Harley St Doctor, discovered and applied these remedies to treat a range of physical and emotional ills. He believed patients were to be treated according to their personality type rather than their physical complaint. He did this by recognising their moods and educating patients to treat themselves by matching remedy to mood. In this way the emotions became balanced and their positive attitude helped them recover far more quickly from their physical ailments.

Bach flower essences are non-toxic. If the wrong remedy type were to be taken it would have no effect at all. On the other hand the correct well matched remedy has the effect of balancing the emotions allowing the body to heal more effectively.

As existing emotions become balanced it is not unusual to experience a new emotion. This is perfectly normal. The body is like an onion with many layers that need peeling away. As one layer is peeled away another layer of emotion becomes exposed until the central core is reached. By this time you will have discovered and learned so much about yourself on this personal journey recognising any imbalances that can soon be corrected.

The remedy dosage is 4 drops, 4 times a day for a mix comprising of two or more stock remedies. First thing in the morning, last thing at night and two times during the day. If a single remedy is taken then the dosage is only two drops, 4 times a day.

The remedies may be taken in a variety of ways.

Via the pipette directly in your mouth – avoid touching the pipette with your mouth to avoid contamination. The drops may be put in a hot or cold drink or may be applied externally by rubbing onto the lips, behind the ears or on the temples.

When a new emotion is experienced as part of the learning and healing process, it can be helpful to take 4 drops of rescue remedy in addition to the existing remedies. Rescue Remedy need only be taken if the new mood/emotion is perhaps a little more uncomfortable than you would like.

Each treatment bottle will last about three weeks. During this time it is a good idea to keep a simple journal jotting down your feelings using key words. You may attach a scale of 1 -10 to quantify the range of emotion experienced. In this way you will be able to see the changes in your journal over the three week period. The changes can be so subtle and easily missed if not recorded in some way.

Please feel free to ring me about any concerns you may have regarding the treatment. I can be reached by email;liz@minds-on-high.co.uk or mob 07859920107 0r 01256 322007