Overcoming persistent parental anxiety

Overcoming persistent parental anxiety


  Parents tend to want to protect their child from hardship. The brain imagines the worst that could happen. Ironically, we tend to think that by worrying about a situation, we keep it under control. But worrying about the future actualises fears. Until we learn to cope with it, it will only build up and move endlessly in circles.

When we fall into the trap of parental anxiety, we spend a lot of energy lecturing, coaxing and nagging instead of staying in touch with the child. We look at the child through the lens of our anxiety and often transfer our own fears and complexes onto the child.

Until we learn to distinguish our fears from the real facts about the child, we cannot give them what they need. We worry about the child instead of helping it. In order to see a child for who they really are, rather than who we want them to be, we must first deal with our anxiety. Calmness is contagious - calm parents raise calm children.

Here are some tips on how to cope with anxiety and become calmer.

Tip 1. Decide what you can control and what you can't. You can control many things in your child's life: their social circle, their performance at school and even their nutrition. Can you make sure your child eats a healthy meal at home? Yes, you can, and you take responsibility for it. But can you force your child to eat healthily? Probably, but think about what it will cost you and how it will affect your relationship with them. Worrying about your baby's health puts you in control of many things, and this in turn can lead to conflict. You need to give up complete control over your baby's life. This will make you calmer and teach your child to be responsible for their choices.

Tip 2. Distinguish between your fears and the real facts. The best way to do this is to constantly check whether your fears have real evidence. Of course, you worry when your child looks unhappy. Write down on paper what facts give you reason to think so (for example, he cries a lot or is withdrawn although he used to be outgoing). If your fears are borne out, consider what you can do about it.

Tip 3. Ask yourself: What are you really worried about? One of the ways that adults deal with anxiety about relationships that are important to them is to shift their attention to their children. For example, when problems arise between spouses, they focus their attention on the child. Parents tend to exaggerate the barely noticeable problems of their son or daughter. This gives them an opportunity to show the emotions they feel about problems in their own marriage. In such situations, it is easier to project their emotions onto the child and try to fix non-existent problems. However, it is much more effective to pay attention to the real reasons for the anxiety - this will help to keep the peace of mind.

Tip 4. Focus on yourself. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of your children, your home and your work. Taking care of yourself helps you realise that you and the child are two different people. And you should develop your relationship and achieve your life goals. It helps you to live your own life and not just react to what is going on in the child's life. You are not responsible for everything that happens to him. And if he sees that you are responsible for your own life, he learns that from you.

We worry about our children because we love them and want to protect them from life's difficulties. But trying to do the impossible only makes you more anxious. It's better to think about what you can realistically do for yourself and your family. A realistic view of the situation will help you to calm down and develop a healthier response.