Anxiety is becoming increasingly more prevalent in societies across the world. In the United States alone, it is estimated to affect 18.1 percent of adults (roughly 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54) (National Institute of Mental Health). Anxious parents can often, unintentionally, create anxiety in their children and it can present in a variety of ways. These may be children who tend to struggle to detach from their parents in new social environments, they may be children who struggle to sleep on their own, who avoid academics for fear of failure or who struggle to perform academically because of the interfering anxiety. These children may also be unwilling to try new things and may even socially isolate to avoid the anxiety.
Parents, to assist their children, will often be overprotective and try to shield them from anxiety-provoking situations. However, this can be counterproductive and perpetuate the anxiety cycle. Children need to know they can do it on their own and they look to adults to support them in their exploration. As a parent there are empowering messages that you can give your child that communicate to them that they are indeed capable and able individuals.
As the parent of an anxious child, begin by exploring your own anxiety. Psychcentral (http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/anxiety.htm) offers an anxiety screening quiz. Please note that this is NOT sufficient for a diagnosis but may give you some indication of which anxiety symptoms you may have. You can always explore this further with a professional. Understanding any anxiety you may have is likely to help you understand if you are possibly creating any anxiety in your child and also when this might be occurring. Once you understand this, there are many things that you can do improve your child’s situation and help them to develop into a more confident child, adolescent and adult.
Email me if you would like a list of suggestions for alleviating anxiety in your child. Also check out my Pinterest site (my Parenting board) for more information.