Parents are not immune to the feelings and emotions that are experienced by everyone else. While it is completely natural for parents to experience periods of anxiety, some may find themselves concerned about how their anxiety may be impacting their child, especially when this anxiety is experienced frequently or for a long period of time. In this blog I will be sharing three tips on how to address this concern.
1. Breaking the cycle
Anxiety often pushes us into repetitive vicious cycles, which continue to create and fuel further anxiety. For example, when we feel anxious, we may find ourselves engaging more in overthinking. This is where we notice the negative experiences and are highly alert to risks or being more aware of our failures and limitations than our resources. When we engage with such thoughts, we often do not find ourselves feeling relieved from our anxiety, but instead, they fuel our anxiety even further.
Why am I saying all of this? Your anxiety may be fueled by this same thought, the thought of how your anxiety is affecting your children. While fearing that you may be negatively impacting your children, or perhaps feeling that you are not a good enough parent are very real and heavy thoughts. I invite you to use this energy to act. Doing something to address your anxiety, whatever it is (if it is a healthy coping strategy) is already a step closer to breaking the pattern of anxiety.
2. The power of play
Play can be a very impactful medium when communicating with your child. Improvising through play can be supportive in dealing with the effects of anxiety. This can facilitate giving your child the message that you value their creativity, that they can make mistakes, and that they are worthy of your love and attention. These messages can be strong buffers from anxiety, and support the strengthening of a secure attachment between you and your child. If improvising is a challenge for you, let your child take the lead and follow their flow.
3. Model coping behaviors
One of the many ways how children learn is through copying and repeating the behavior of others. Think of what helps you cope with your anxiety and let your child witness or engage with any coping strategies if appropriate. For example, if you exercise, or perhaps meditate to cope with your anxiety, you can share these activities with your child. Taking care of ourselves and seeking the help of others are both very strong messages for your child to learn.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on email@example.com or call us on 79291817