Today's children and teenagers are anxious about many things, including family issues, financial instability and pressure to perform in sports and school.

According to the CDC, children between the ages of 3-17 years old are experiencing increased anxiety, and in addition, more than 1 in 3 have behaviour problems and about 1 in 3 of those also have depression. 

"Mental health has had a stigma attached to it because you can't see a mental illness in the same way you can see a broken leg," said clinical social worker, Jean Holthaus. "It's something that people have avoided talking about as a result of that."

With all of today’s stressors, parents need tools to provide hope and healing to their children, and Jean is sharing what she has learned in her new book When Anxiety Roars: Partnering with Your Child to Tame Worry and Anxiety.

"Anxiety disorders can occur in children that are very, very young, four-year-olds, five-year-olds, six-year-olds, and parents oftentimes don't recognize it, so they can go longer before they get treatment," said Holthaus.

When Anxiety Roars helps parents understand how anxiety affects a child's body, mind, behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. Then it offers specific practical steps parents can use to help tame that anxiety, as well as coping skills to help children live more confidently today and into the future.

Jean says that one of the most important steps in helping a child dealing with anxiety is to integrate faith.

"Faith is an intricate part of it because it helps children to know that they are not alone and they don't have to handle all these things on their own," Holthaus explained. "But, we also have to remember that children don't have necessarily a good idea of who God is and how he interacts with us, because again they can't see him, hear him, feel him touch him or taste him. We have to kind of help them figure out how to conceptualize God and how to interact with him, particularly when they're anxious, in ways that are calming."

Today on Connections, Jean shares some tips and advice on how we can handle our children's anxiety and help them to live their lives more peacefully.