Whether you were raised by supportive parental figures, absent parents, or overly controlling parents, there are probably a few things you’d change the way you were raised.
For many people expecting or currently parenting children, these reflections can bring about a thoughtful, intentional approach to parenting that yields happy, well-adjusted children. For others, however, anxiety over their child’s wellbeing can manifest into a serious mental health condition called parental anxiety.
First-time parents, expectant couples, and even parents of teenagers or adults can experience parental anxiety. If you’re living under the weight of parental anxiety, try these 4 tips to break free and experience the joy of parenting again.
What Is Parental Anxiety?
Every parent experiences occasional doubts about their competency as a parent. When’s the last time you felt guilty you forgot to brush your infant’s teeth before bed? Worrying comes with the territory, but it’s defined as parental anxiety when it impacts you or your child’s quality of life.
Some signs of parental anxiety include:
Anxiety about placing a child in a known safe situation that you misperceive as dangerous
Persistently worrying that your child may be harmed
Experiencing stomach aches when you place your child in a new situation
Difficulty sleeping due to thoughts about your child
If you’re living with persistent parental anxiety, putting your fears into perspective can help you take charge of your symptoms and regain your quality of life.
4 Tips To Help You Break Free From Parental Anxiety
Studies show children of parents with anxiety are more likely to develop anxiety themselves. This means if you’re experiencing parental anxiety, it doesn’t just negatively impact you—it can negatively impact your family as well. Start taking charge of your parental anxiety with these 4 tips.
Tip #1: Find coping mechanisms that work for you. Chances are, you have a few stress management tools up your sleeve—exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, and journaling are some common techniques. Make your chosen stress management method a part of your daily routine during seasons of parental anxiety.
Tip #2: Avoid situations that trigger your anxiety. When possible, avoid entering into situations that make you feel anxious. Do you worry excessively your teenager might get into a car accident, for example? Enlist your partner or a trusted friend to teach your child to drive instead of putting yourself in a situation that will induce your anxiety.
Tip #3: Find a confidant. Many people keep their worries to themselves, but sharing your anxious feelings with others can help reduce the symptoms of parental anxiety.
Tip # 4: Get professional support. Parental anxiety isn’t all in your head—it’s a serious mental health condition that requires medical intervention in some cases. Talk to a doctor or therapist about scheduling therapy, starting medication, or joining a parenting support group to help reduce your symptoms.
Therapy Can Help Lift the Weight of Parental Anxiety
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenthood, therapy can help you put parenting into perspective. To schedule your first private online therapy session, click here.