Parental Anxiety Tips
Tips to manage your anxiety about your kids
Hi everyone, I have been asked by a few amazing moms to discuss parental anxiety and experiencing recurrent thoughts of worry about something bad happening to your kids.
Worrying about our children is definitely a natural feeling. We start worrying about them even before they are born and it is a very overwhelming feeling that tends to consume most of our thoughts. Quite often however, this natural worry can turn into much more severe negative thoughts which lead to the experience of various anxiety symptoms.
This anxiety can have a huge effect on both parents and their children as we can unwillingly worry our children, help them develop fears of their own and at times, limit their curiosity and development due to those unrealistic, irrational yet uncontrollable negative thoughts. Moms, you are definitely not alone and parental anxiety is very prevalent nowadays.
Here are a few tips to help you cope with this:
1. Acknowledge that you are experiencing parental anxiety
2. Understand how the symptoms of anxiety are affecting you (each person reacts differently). Here’s a small checklist of symptoms to look out for (excessive anxiety and worry, very challenging to control the worry, anxiety and worry is associated to physical symptoms such as muscle aches or soreness, fatigue, restlessness, impaired concentration, difficulty sleeping, excessive sweating, fast heartbeat…).
3. Be vigilant and aware of the risks of certain daily activities and take appropriate measures if necessary
4. Pinpoint what triggers the anxiety and what is it that you are really afraid about… what is the most recurrent thought that you are experiencing? Challenge that thought and try to look at that thought from a different perspective. You can do so by asking yourself this question “What would I tell a friend that is going through similar negative thoughts” – try it out it works!
5. Try coping mechanisms to help reduce your anxiety: mindfulness, yoga, breathing techniques, exercise… again coping mechanisms are personal and differ from one person to another.
6. Teach your children coping techniques too!
7. If you are experiencing specific fears about your children: try to find ways to reduce your anxiety by seeking help from a professional in the field surrounding your fear.
8. Get support from the community of moms and talk to someone about your fear!
9. Avoid “what if” scenarios. When these negative “what if” thoughts come by, drift back to the present and focus on the reality of the situation. Try dissecting this “what if” scenario and eliminate fears from actual facts.
10. If you feel like your anxiety and negative thoughts are affecting your daily life and refraining you from engaging in daily activities: seek help from a professional… don’t just get by!
Hope this helps,