Causes and effects of anxiety in children under the microscope

An article in the Sunday Times, exploring the subject of children and anxiety, states that "South African children as young as three are being treated for anxiety".

Psychiatrist Dr Kedi Motingoe, says that anxiety disorder cuts across all age groups. But it is difficult to detect in children younger than three. Some behaviours are often pegged as simply irritability and bad tempers, she says.

But we can see it even in infants... even infants can have a reaction to anxiety. This is because parents are not coping and are not able to contain children sufficiently.

Dr Kedi Motingoe, Psychiatrist

Symptoms of anxiety in infants

  • High levels of irritability
  • Difficult to console
  • Eating and sleeping disturbances
  • Not responding to stimulation from the mother
  • Developmental delays
  • And lack of engagement

In Pre-school children

  • Do not socialize with other children
  • Withdrawing behaviour
  • Clinging to the teacher

Youngsters with anxiety disorders tend to keep it bottled up. Young children and teenagers are able to articulate their feelings, but can keep going for years at school without saying anything due to other factors, like parents not being available.

Children don't find the right platforms at times because parents are less available due to their own work pressures. Sometimes it goes unrecognised that the child is suffering.

Dr Kedi Motingoe, Psychiatrist

Some children internalise their anxieties and their negative moods state and become frustrated with themselves, have low-self-esteem, while others externalise and end up behaving negatively by not responding positively towards care givers and teachers.

Dr Kedi Motingoe, Psychiatrist

Dr Motingoe says sometimes anxiety is assumed to be a symptom of ADHD but when looked at very closely, they find ADHD is not the cause.

She says it is important to look at the quality of care children are receiving especially in their early years, as this is when they are most emotionally vulnerable. Not all children develop healthy emotional attachments at this crucial stage, and it can lead to anxiety.

Listen to the full conversation below:

Read More
The chilling tale of Marikana told through song

The chilling tale of Marikana told through song

'Marikana - The Musical' Aubrey Sekhabi's adaptation of a novel by journos entitled “We are going to kill each other today".

An expert guide on 'hotwifing' and 'cuckolding' in the bedroom

An expert guide on 'hotwifing' and 'cuckolding' in the bedroom

Clinical sexologist Dr Eve shares insights into sexual fetishes and how partners negotiate them in their bedroom and relationship.

The Naked Scientist reveals how birds are able to find their way around

The Naked Scientist reveals how birds are able to find their way around

Every week The Naked Scientist offers listeners the opportunity to probe his brain on anything weird and quirky.

Jay Naidoo: Organised communities have the power to create change

Jay Naidoo: Organised communities have the power to create change

Social activist Jay Naidoo has written a book which explores the power of human connection and social activism.

Local bee farming company Native Nosi creating a buzz with raw honey

Local bee farming company Native Nosi creating a buzz with raw honey

Native Nosi owner Mokgadi Mabela says over 50% of honey sold in SA is imported and she wants to change the business landscape.

How do we ensure the safety of women in South Africa?

How do we ensure the safety of women in South Africa?

Women's Legal Centre and POWA discuss ways to ensuring the legal system stops failing women of South Africa.

Popular articles
It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

It's not the end of the road... Top tips to improve your matric

"Recognise that it’s not the end, it’s the beginning." Expert advise for school-leavers who want to improve their results.

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

Pamela Nomvete on her downfalls as actress, and 'climbing back'

This week Xolani Gwala's speaks to former Generations actor Pamela Nomvete for #WhatInTheWorldHappenedTo feature.

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

Who is Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi?

The EFF lawyer stole the show during the state capture report court battle.

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Meet the founder of Capitec Bank, named ‘Best Bank on Earth and Cheapest in SA’

Michiel le Roux speaks about the fascinating story behind the little bank that has the Big 4 shaking in their boots.

Best way to get richer (especially if you’re between ages 20 and 45)

Best way to get richer (especially if you’re between ages 20 and 45)

Still young(ish)? Consider the single best thing you can do to increase your wealth by much more than the inflation rate.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

5 ways the NSFAS funding model will change in 2017

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will pilot a new funding model in 2017. NSFAS chairperson Sizwe Nxasana explains.