Anxiety In Kids: Natural Anxiety Relief Using Holistic Pediatrics
Anxiety can really take a toll on your child or teen. You may have tried supplements, talk therapy, fidgets, an herbal tincture or two, therapy, or increased exercise. But nothing seems to work. Your kid still expresses frequent fears. They are nervous to go to school or to sleep, and have nightmares. They may freeze, have violent outbursts, scream, act withdrawn or cry easily. What I’m getting at here is that not every anxious kid or teen behaves the same way! And that is where the beauty of the Ecosystem Method comes into play. Your kid’s anxiety doesn’t need to fit into a box, present a certain way, or even have a mental health diagnosis in order to be effectively and safely addressed using this holistic pediatric strategy.
Why The Smorgasbord Approach To Anxiety In Kids Doesn’t Work
It breaks my heart when a parent is looking for help with their anxious child or teen and all the while is telling themselves, “We’ve tried everything. Nothing works.” When this happens in conversation with me I inevitably ask, “What have you tried?” Common answers include:
- Magnesium gummies
- “Micronutrient” supplements
- “Herbs” (“Which ones?” I ask, “Where did they come from?” Oh, from the coop or “online”...)
- Anti-anxiety meds for kids
- This book or that book
As a parent you are trying everything to find relief for your kid. You try this and that and the next thing and don’t see a difference. You pick one up, start another, forget about the third, spinning your wheels and feeling more and more discouraged as you go. Sometimes there’s a change, but there are still issues with sleep, focus, learning, socializing, or simply participating with ease in everyday life. Why isn’t anything working? Here’s why.
The answer is pretty intuitive. Not every kid is the same! The root cause for one kid’s anxiety is not the same as the next kid’s. This is where Western medicine tends to fail kids with anxiety. There are a handful of anti-anxiety meds that are used for kids and if your kid’s anxiety doesn’t fit into one of those boxes, well, it’s not going to work. Most pediatricians don’t consider any other factors, and therefore don’t address the root cause of your kid’s anxiety.
Chinese Medicine pediatrics understands that there are dozens of different underlying root causes for anxiety in kids. Pairing this medicine with evidence-based approaches means your child gets the best of ancient and cutting-edge medical knowledge to relieve their anxiety for good. By understanding the root cause of your child or teen's anxiety we can construct an individualized, holistic plan to heal your child’s anxiety for the long-term.
With Anxiety In Kids, Consider Holistic Pediatric Approaches
Considering the big picture for kids with anxiety is critical to effective treatment. That's what holistic pediatrics is all about. It's about finding the root cause for anxiety, which is different for each child. Think of your anxious child or teen as an ecosystem. There are factors in their anxiety that occur on a cellular level all the way up to the social context in which they operate. A small change in one part of their ecosystem impacts the whole. To get a better understanding of the holistic pediatric approaches and what changes you can make to relieve your child's anxiety, ask yourself (or your child or teen directly) these 10 questions:
- What do they eat and when? Is their blood sugar well-regulated throughout the day?
- What kinds of physical outlets does your child have access to?
- Has your child or teen learned techniques to self-soothe and regulate their nervous systems?
- What other physical symptoms co-occur with anxiety flares? Digestive? Sleep issues? Trouble focusing? Anger outbursts?
- Are there any (big) transitions happening in the home or in the close family unit?
- What’s going on at school? What academic or social stressors are they experiencing?
- Does your child have creative outlets for their thoughts and feelings?
- How are you, the parents or caregivers, modeling response to stress at home?
- Is there an urgency to daily life that you could work to decrease? How urgent is this or that, really? Are the stakes as high as they may seem in the moment?
- Is your child or teen getting the restorative, brain-repairing sleep that they need in order to feel calm, grounded, and motivated?
The empowering thing about using holistic pediatrics for your child's anxiety is that you, their parent, can make a lot of headway yourself. But it does require time, care, and attention. And with older children or teens, it can lay the foundation for a teamwork approach that brings you closer together.
The truth is, so many factors contribute to anxiety in children, and each kid’s anxiety ecosystem is unique. And not every kid's anxiety is going to go away with at-home remedies, or even with the help of a trained child psychologist. There are other puzzle pieces to work out.