ISPCC survey highlights key factors for making children less anxious
Children who feel they can communicate openly with their parents are much less likely to be anxious, a major new survey suggests.
Identifying family life as “the factor that affects young people most”, the survey of 14,464 children conducted by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children found that those who felt supported in the home or community were both happier and less fearful.
The proportion of children who said they felt afraid “all the time” dropped from 19 per cent to 3 per cent when they reported having a family member to whom they could talk.
The proportion of children who felt nervous all the time fell from 31 per cent to 11 per cent when they said they had a close friend available.
“This is a startling reminder of the impact of having social supports around you,” said ISPCC services manager Tess Noonan. “What’s interesting is the perception of having social supports helps – even if it’s not backed up by reality. If you feel someone cares about you and is there to help, it gives you a really powerful sense in your head and acts as a buffer against other things.”
However, the report also cites a gap between children’s perception of support and their willingness to talk to parents. It said “some young people spoke about negative feelings such as guilt and additional worry if they shared their concerns” and this “misplaced sense of guilt” needed to be tackled.