The moment you learn you are going to be a parent, the worry sets in. You start to worry about whether you are eating a healthy enough diet to grow your baby in the woman; you worry whether you will know how to take care of a baby when it comes; you worry about baby-proofing the home, and the worry never ends.
As they get older, they start to worry about things like finding the right school, saving for college, teenage depression, drug taking, and on and on it goes.
Some worrying is fine and normal; as a parent, you are always going to worry about your child and whether you are doing what’s best for them, but if that worry becomes all-consuming anxiety that leaves you feeling scared all of the time, then something is wrong.
If your parental anxiety has tipped over into unhealthy and it is making you mentally unwell, then you need to learn how to better rope with those feelings of worry that are part and part of having kids. Here are a few things that can help you with that:
If worrying about your children has turned you into a little ball of anxiousness, then one of the best things you can do is to seek counseling from a trained professional. They will be able to help you explore your feelings, change your mindset and come up with better coping strategies.
Everyone should have a counselor when they are going through tough times, and parental anxiety is a big enough problem for you to seek help if you feel you need to.
Work out what you can and cannot control
When you’re worried for your kids, you naturally want to try and control every aspect of their lives from their education to their friendships so you can keep them safe. Deep down, you know that you cannot control everything, and sometimes things will go wrong.
If you want to manage your anxieties, you need to work out what you can and cannot control. For example, you can babyproof your home to significantly reduce the risk of your toddler injuring themselves.
But you cannot accompany your teenagers everywhere they go to keep them out of trouble, not if you want them to mature and develop healthily anyway. Know the difference, control what is sensible for you to do so, and accept that you cannot control the rest.
The worst very rarely happens, so turning over the worst-case scenarios in your head is only going to drive you to distraction.
Teach your kids to look out for themselves
You are their parent, and you will always be there to look out for them, but if you know that they can also look out for themselves, you are likely to be much less anxious about them overall.
This won’t work in the baby stages, but as they get older, you should teach them things like crossing the road safely, finding help if they get lost, and so on, so that you and they can feel more confident as they get older and start doing more things for themselves.
Focus on you
Many people who become very anxious about their children are people who focus totally on their kids without thinking at all about themselves. This might seem like a loving way to live, but it can be bad for you and your children.
Your children deserve a mom who is happy and healthy, and they deserve the opportunity to grow and mature without constant parental supervision.
So loosen the reins a little, and take some time to meditate or visit the spa or so whatever helps you to relax and be yourself because chances are the kids will be fine and you will all be happier if you are less anxious as a parent.
Talk to them
It’s probably not a good idea to vent your parental anxieties to your kids, but talking to them to see how they feel about various aspects of their life can often be very reassuring.
Often, you will find that they are not nearly as phased by the things you worry about for them, and you will also find they are much more resilient than you thought, which will enable you to relax a little on their behalf. If they do bring up any issues, you can work on them together.
You’re always going to worry about your kids, but don’t let that worry ruin your life!