Parents wish the best their children. When a child has a mental illness like anxiety, this can cause much heartache, conflict and uncertainty for the entire family. Parenting children with anxiety is a huge challenge.
What’s a parent to do?
- Find a balance between over-protection and too much freedom.
- Tell your child what you love about them – but remember to give them helpful, perhaps critical, feedback too.
- Love the unique qualities of your child even if he or she is different than you.
Step 1: Find a balance between overprotection and too much freedom
Parents who are too overprotective have a high likelihood of raising anxious children. Overprotective parents are usually anxious too, and are transferring their own fears to their children.
Yes, there are dangers in our world, this is why striking a balance and giving your child independence when possible can be most effective.
Step 2: Tell your child what you love about them – but remember to give them helpful, perhaps critical, feedback too.
Parents today are so busy and may feel that there is only time to criticize. We may “snap” because we rush through our over-scheduled day.
Do your homework – NOW!
You are so LAZY!
These types of comments may slip out almost automatically as we blast through our day. Perhaps the critical comments are associated with past failures of our own. We try to over-compensate thinking our children won’t have the same challenges if we only guide them.
Have a history of anxiety in your family? Be cautious of how critical comments are shared. They are still needed, but may need a bit of “padding”. Remember to take time to tell your child what you love about them too!
Step 3: Love the unique qualities of your child even if he or she is different than you.
Give your child some freedom to be who they are destined to be.
Have a shy child? If you are out-going, this may be difficult to understand and accept.
- Find out if it’s just shyness or something more and seek help if necessary.
- Learn more about shyness and appreciate this differing quality in your child.
- Don’t force your child into extremely difficult situations without first understanding his/her emotional state.