Anxiety in young people | Focus on the Family Australia
Anxiety in young people
By Brett Ryan
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On a recent speaking engagement, I was asked to speak on the topic of "Anxiety in Young People".

Though anxiety is not a new modern day idea, having it appear in 5 and 6 year olds is more of a sign of the times of the way children are interacting with our social media and society in general.

At the place I spoke, three times the number of people that were expected, turned up to hear what I had to say about anxiety in young children. It was obviously a topic that parents were having to deal with.

Though fearful and anxious behaviour is common in children, it is the scale of this epidemic which is alarming to their parents. Most children growing up learn to cope with a range of normal set of fears and worries. But anxiety can stop them participating in activities at school or socially. It can interfere with their ability to do things that other children their age can do easily.

With the use of smart phones now being used at an earlier age and with access to the internet and computers, younger children are now being inundated with stimuli which can make them fearful or worried about the future. Topics such as global warming, droughts, fire-storms, terrorist attacks, home invasions, and even some conspiracy theories all fuel the levels of anxiety young children worry about; will the world still be here in 50 years time? What is my life going to be like in 20 or 30 years time?

It is in times of fear and anxiety that we should turn to God's word and encourage our children to do the same.

Philippians 4: 6-7 reminds us "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Many times we are asked to "Fear not, do not be afraid" Isaiah 41,10 & Joshua 1:9. In John 16:33 Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus knows there will be things that make us fearful and concerned and young kids are looking for that assurance from their parents that they are protected and that most of what they fear will not happen to them.

By standing on God's word, His peace can infiltrate the hearts of young people giving them the quiet assurance that he is in control and to encourage them not to be anxious but to rest in him.

As we spend time in God's word, God will speak to us and help us calm our fears.

© 2019 Focus on the Family Australia

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