Anxiety in children and young people; how does it develop?


Anxiety in children – and adults – is often caused by a multitude of factors in combination, rather than one single factor. These can include someone’s own personality, some difficult life experiences and their physical health. Five common underlying reasons that can cause anxiety conditions to flare up include; a family history of mental health conditions, personality, a learned response to situations, ongoing stressful situations and physical health issues.

Family history; Children experiencing anxiety may have a genetic disposition towards the condition, if it runs in the family. It’s important to remember, however, that having someone in the family experiencing anxiety or other mental health conditions doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll develop anxiety as well.

Personality; According to research, certain personality traits are more likely to experience anxiety. The studies have shown that children who exhibit personality traits such as perfectionism, being easily flustered, timidness, inhibition, a lack of self-esteem or wanting to control everything, can sometimes go on to develop anxiety.

Learned response; Children and young people may mistakenly learn anxiety as a response to stressful situations. As anxiousness develops, they may learn that the world is a dangerous place, compounding their anxiety, and they may not learn any positive ways to deal with or cope with the situations that caused them anxiety.

Ongoing stress; Stressful or traumatic events can trigger anxiety in children. These can include; changing schools or living arrangements, family relationship problems, stressful or traumatic events, bullying, loss of a loved one.

Physical health issues; Chronic illnesses can contribute to feelings of anxiety in children and young people, and they can also impact on the treatment of either the anxiety or the physical illness itself. Studies show that there can be a medical cause for feelings of anxiety, and the common chronic conditions associated with anxiety include diabetes, asthma and hypertension and heart disease.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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