How Parents With Anxiety Can Raise Confident Children
Being a parent is filled with challenges, some of which are unique to us because of our personal experiences. For example, if you struggle with anxiety as an adult, it can be hard to parent when your child faces a new challenge or needs your support. Understanding the magnitude of this role as a responsible adult and learning how to support your children in healthy ways may be difficult when you have so much going on in your head. However, even though they may seem like small things, little things like consistency and routines make all the difference in kids feeling safe and secure. These tips will help you tackle life as a confident parent while dealing with your anxiety.
Establish a routine
Having a set routine for your child helps them to feel safe and secure, and it also makes your life easier by creating consistency. If your child gets into a routine, they understand what is expected of them and what is expected of you as a parent. You can use the same phrases, the same responses, and the same actions every day so that your child can better understand what is happening. If you have a newborn, it’s a good idea to wait a few months before establishing a routine. This will help your child get into a rhythm more easily once they are a bit older. Having a routine also includes deciding when you will respond to your child. For example, you might decide that you will respond to crying after two minutes.
Be present when you can
This is a big one. When we are anxious, it is easy to respond with our brains and not our hearts. While you don’t want to ignore your child's concerns, it is also important to not overwhelm them with anxious feelings. For example, pause for a moment when your child comes to you with a problem before responding. Take a few breaths and listen to your child with your heart before responding. If you feel overwhelmed by your anxiety and are unable to respond fully, let your child know that you need to take a few minutes to collect your thoughts. Let your child know that you are there for them and that you will get back to them soon.
Be firm and clear with your words and actions.
Let your child know what is acceptable and what is not. Speak confidently and let your child know it is not OK to make certain choices or say certain things. Let your child know they have choices in their life and help them think through their options. Let your child know when they have done something wrong. Explain what they did that was wrong, and let your child know what they can do better next time.
Don’t blame yourself or your child.
Whatever you are dealing with, it is not your child’s fault. You want to help your child see that they can do better next time, but you don’t want to make it about them. It is also important not to blame yourself. If you are struggling with anxiety, you may be tempted to blame yourself for your child’s misbehaving. Let go of the blame and embrace the challenge of figuring out how to parent when you are struggling.
Take care of yourself.
This is one of the most important tips for parents with anxiety. You need to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. This can be difficult if you are a parent who works outside the home. What can you do to take care of yourself? Here are some ideas: Make sure you eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep so that you have the energy to take care of your child and yourself. Stay away from substances, such as alcohol that may make your anxiety worse. Go outside and spend time in nature to reduce stress in your life. Get support from others who understand what you are going through.
Parenting is challenging, and feeling anxious as a parent can make this even more difficult. Fortunately, there are many ways to make parenting when you're anxious easier. Establishing a routine, being present with your child, and being clear with your words and actions will help your child understand the expectations and standards in your home. Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally will help you, parent, with confidence, even when you're facing challenges.
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