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Signs of Insecurities in a Child

by Hillary Marshall, studioD

Children who are secure are sure they have someone who cares about them and they are confident they belong. This security helps them develop normally. Children who are insecure often feel unloved or unwanted, and those insecure feelings manifest in a variety of behaviors. Knowing the symptoms of insecurity in children can help you identify a problem in your child and seek appropriate help.


According to the book "Understanding Children: A Parent's Guide to Child Psychology," children who are insecure might revert to previous behaviors. For instance, some might start wetting the bed or their pants. This can occur years after they have been potty-trained. Some might resume old habits such as thumb-sucking. When behavior regression occurs, don't scold your child. Instead, reassure your child he is safe and loved. Spend time giving him extra attention and affection.


Children who are insecure often show signs of jealousy. This often occurs around other children, or when a new baby becomes part of the family. Jealous children might bite and hit. According to "Understanding Children: A Parent's Guide to Child Psychology," they might steal toys from other children. Jealous children can also become demanding of attention and they might mope when they don’t get what they want. Sibling rivalry is a common form of jealousy and insecurity in children.


Children who are insecure might become timid and withdrawn. It's difficult to persuade them to participate in activities, and you might see them standing on the sidelines during a game or at recess instead of playing with other children. They often become fearful of experiences they once enjoyed.

Separation Anxiety

It is not uncommon for children who are insecure to develop an unusual attachment to their parent or caregiver. They might fuss when their parent leaves for work or not want to go to school or go out to play. Children with separation anxiety will avoid being away from their “security” person as much as possible. They might even throw a temper tantrum or act out when that person leaves.

Physical Illness

According to the book "How to Be a Good Parent," physical illness is another way that insecurity can manifest itself in children. A variety of physical ailments can plague a child who is insecure. The two most common physical symptoms of insecurity are headache and stomachache. These symptoms are most likely to occur when a child is put in a circumstance that is anxiety-provoking.


  • Understanding Children: A Parent's Guide to Child Psychology; Frances Spencer
  • How to Be a Good Parent; Don H. Fontenelle

About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.

Photo Credits

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