Parental Anxiety: How Do You Find Relief?
As parents, we tend to worry about all sorts of things. Being cautious is a good thing; after all, it’s the parent’s job to care. Yet, if anxiety negatively affects your parenting, it’s a problem. Too much fretting can place a burden on the relationship. Rather than seeing it as an expression of love and caring, your children will feel irritated and annoyed by it. As you get more experience, parenting anxiety goes away, or at least it gets better with time. This may not be the case, however. If your symptoms continue or get worse, it may become difficult to parent. The good news is that there are proven strategies that can help. If you want to relieve the worry, this is what you need to do.
Accept that you’re scared and learn the real risks
Fear is real and it’s affecting you, but don’t let it take over your life. Being a parent is terrifying because you’re solely responsible for your kids’ well-being. Every choice you make, whether it’s what school they’ll go to or whether to feed them oats for breakfast, has an impact on their lives. No one tells you how to be a good parent and there’s nobody you can count on except for yourself. And your spouse. For as scary as it may be, the only thing you can do is accept that things happen as they should and there’s nothing you can do about it. Acknowledge the risks and focus on the facts, not the fears.
If you fear that your kids are being bullied, role-play and build “what if” scenarios. This will help them build confidence and learn how to deal with challenges. Help your children make smart choices and take action if they see a youngster being bullied, such as intervening. The idea is that you should focus on the solution, not the problem. Don’t spend sleepless nights thinking about what could possibly happen. Understand what is triggering your fear and write down the evidence that backs your belief. Chances are that you’re worrying over nothing. Take time to identify the real threats.
Understand what you can and can’t control
The more you try to control everything around you, the more anxious you’ll become. Some things are beyond your powers. For instance, you can’t control your children’s behavior. Try as you might, you can’t stop a kid from becoming physically aggressive, even if you give it your best shot. All you can do is teach your loved ones how to choose good behaviors. Using physical punishments won’t stop the undesirable behavior but have the opposite effect. It’s highly recommended to focus your efforts on the things you can control and accept that not every outcome will make you happy. Be mindful of your own reactions and set clear expectations.
At times, youngsters misbehave because their parents don’t set clear expectations. Kids thrive if parents set standards for behavior and enforce those rules consistently. Tell your children that it’s not acceptable to handle anger with physical violence. It’s not too much to ask. Most importantly, give them opportunities to meet expectations. There’s no guarantee that your kids will leverage every opportunity, but you must make them available. Don’t try to micromanage your children’s activities, as this can have drastic consequences. Anxious behaviors can be learned, which translates into the fact that your kids will become anxious too.
Add some calmness to your day
As parents, we hardly make time to relax. That’s because we have more important things to do. Or so we think. The fact is that relaxation slows down the heart rate, relieves tension, and gives more energy. Relaxing is a skill, which means that you need to train your mind and body to do it. Focus on yourself – in other words, prioritize your own care and wellbeing. More and more parents are using CBD to curb anxiety and promote relaxation. Besides influencing the endocannabinoid system, CBD binds to serotonin receptors, therefore, supporting relaxation. As opposed to anti anxiety medicine, it doesn’t impair your ability to take care of your kids.
Laugh at your problems. If one of your children spilled wine on the floor or the dog is barking incessantly, just laugh at it. There is time to address the situation after you enjoy the absurdity of the moment. Humor is fun and relaxing, not to mention that it generates cognitive processes. Basically, you’re able to come up with original solutions. Laugh mostly to reduce stress and calm down. Don’t laugh nervously when you’re exposed to stress because it will heighten the awkwardness of the situation. Laughter is good for your long-term health; it improves the immune system, relieves pain, and even helps you connect to other people.
Talk to other parents
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to talk to other parents. Share ideas and exchange thoughts. Get past the small talk and discuss topics that really matter. Others can help to the best of their knowledge and ability. Keeping emotions bottled up inside is unhealthy. You risk succumbing to depression if you don’t talk to someone. And who can better understand what you’re going through than another parent? Reach out to a close friend or family member. While there are thousands of websites out there offering a wealth of information and tips for parents, it’s not the same as forming a human connection. Parents should strive for open communication, which benefits all. Don’t worry about being viewed differently.
All in all, parental anxiety can turn out to be a difficult issue for parents with kids of all ages. Anxiety and worries are common, but don’t let fear gain an advantage over you. Try to cope with the discomfort and don’t become overprotective. The mistakes you make can impair your kids’ development, so they won’t get the necessary skills to become responsible adults. You’ll feel calmer when you remind yourself that not everything is disastrous. Focus on the good things in life and open yourself up to humor. The results might just surprise you.