chapter  21
10 Pages

Wringing My Hands!

Children who are consumed with anxiety spend their time feeling upset and overwhelmed over everyday tasks that are usually eff ortless for other children. Anxieties take many forms. Fears about everyday experiences or events such as bugs, dogs, thunderstorms, or a circus clown may distress a child. Some children worry about performing tasks, obsessing about how they have done, to the point that quick tasks end up taking a very long time. Some children have performance anxiety and panic during test-taking or when speaking or performing in front of a group. Th en there are children who anxiously do not want to leave their parents to go to school or visit a friend; such youngsters might refuse to speak or develop a phobia about going to school. Oft en these anxieties aff ect a youngster’s ability to concentrate on tasks and to tolerate being alone. Sleep disturbances oft en develop as worries become magnifi ed by the darkening night. Nightmares or recurring “bad dreams” about fears can dominate and disrupt sleep.