Trouble keeping up. Difficulty socializing. The challenges of having learning and attention issues can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for kids. They can also create specific fears that can affect kids’ self-esteem, social life and ability to work on weaknesses. Here are some common fears you may want to look for and talk about with your child.
Fear #1: Failure
When kids fail at something the first time they attempt it, they may not want to try a second time. If their self-confidence has taken a beating, the fear of failure can also keep them from trying new things. It can be a vicious circle—kids don’t take risks because they don’t want to fail. But without trying, they can’t succeed, either.
Fear #2: Social Situations
Having weak social skills can make kids fearful of social situations. They might have trouble picking up on social cues or following social rules. Or they might struggle with conversation skills. Kids with these issues may be afraid of saying or doing something embarrassing in front of others, especially if they’ve had bad experiences before.
Fear #3: Not Being Able to Keep Up
This fear usually appears in grade school. That tends to be when kids start comparing themselves to their peers and realize that they’re not keeping up. In studies, kids with learning or attention issues often report feeling “stupid” or anxious about being different.
Fear #4: Leaving Home or Parents
Kids with learning and attention issues may be unwilling or reluctant to go to school or to be away from their parents for any length of time. They may avoid overnight trips and sleepovers.
Fear #5: Discovery
Kids—especially tweens and teens—want to be accepted by their peers. But they may fear that their friends will learn about their learning and attention issues and not consider them cool any longer.
Fear #6: The Future
This fear can take many forms. Kids might be afraid of doing poorly on an upcoming test, music recital or sports event. Or that they won’t be able to get into college. They may be overly anxious about the outcome of a family situation, such as a parent’s job loss, or needlessly afraid about their parents dying.
If your child is fearful, there are ways you can help him overcome it. In some cases, it may also be helpful to seek professional help. Just knowing you’re sensitive to his emotions can make your child feel safe—and less afraid.