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Here are descriptions of common problems experienced by children during the different phases from:

The rest of this article describes the common on-going problems of childhood.

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Anxiety is the feeling of fear we all get when faced with threatening or difficult situations. It can be very useful in helping us to avoid danger or make us more alert to deal with situations. It is normal for all of us to be anxious some of the time but for all kinds of reasons a child may not be able to manage their anxiety and it can therefore be present most of the time. This can affect your child’s emotional well being.

You may notice your child:

  • Cannot sleep
  • Seems irritable
  • Has difficulty in concentrating
  • Does not want be separated from you

To manage anxiety, CBT and Mindfulness can help.


We can all get obsessive about certain things at certain times, but sometimes a young person may have recurring negative thoughts “obsessions”. Some examples include:

  • Worrying about germs and disease
  • Worrying about being tidy

These thoughts make the young person do things repeatedly “compulsions”. Some examples include:

  • Washing their hands frequently
  • Checking constantly or counting
  • Repeatedly checking that the light is switched off.

Many young people have mild obsessions that can occur after a stressful event and this is normal. A diagnosis of OCD is only indicated when the symptoms interfere with all aspects of life.

A combination of CBT and exposure therapy can help.

Depression and Low Mood

We all use the word “depressed” to describe when we feel low, but depression is very different from having periods of feeling low. Many young people suffer from depression. You may notice you child:

  • Isolates themselves
  • Appears moody and flat
  • Appetite has decreased
  • Has started to lose weight
  • Has no motivation to do anything
  • Sleeps a lot
  • Withdraws from friends
  • Abuses alcohol or drugs

NICE Guidelines recommend the psychological therapies such as CBT or Psychotherapy to help manger symptoms.

Self Harm

This refers to different ways young people harm themselves. It can include, scratching, cutting, hair pulling or taking an overdose. Young people do this to stop feeling stressed. It is often a sign that they cannot cope with worries or problems. It helps them to talk to someone and find better ways of coping and managing their stress.

Eating Problems

Many young people want to be thinner. They often try to lose weight by dieting and exercising. For some, these worries can lead into an obsession. This can lead into Anorexia Nervosa.

Symptoms of Anorexia include:

  • Constant worries about being fat
  • Stress at meal times
  • No longer eating certain “Fatty Foods”
  • Constantly exercising
  • Appearing low

Bulimia is different. They will eat food and then try to get rid of it by making themselves sick or by taking laxatives. It is important to get help QUICKLY for these disorders. Family therapy and Individual therapy can help.


Trauma is caused by the result of a stressful event that can shatter any young person’s security, making them feel helpless and vulnerable. Any event can cause trauma.

In children, some examples of trauma include:

  • Serious illness
  •  Bullying
  • Divorce
  • Bereavement
  • Domestic violence
  • Abuse

In most cases, just talking though an event will help but sometimes, the stress can develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


This is a distressing but common experience. Even though children may not understand the meaning of death until they are three or four, they feel sense of loss in the same way as adults. Children may sometimes feel responsible for the death of a relative and may need to have more reassurance than normal. Adolescents often do not want approach an adult for the fear of burdening them further. It is important to talk about death to children whatever the age.

Make a choice today to do one action that will help you to be the parent you want to be and help your child feel safe, secure and loved.


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