“Am I making my child’s anxiety worse?”
“I always was anxious as a kid, and so I’m worried my child gets it from me.”
“I have anxiety, too, so I know it’s my fault.”
Parents often call me with these questions and comments. As a parent, it can be hard when you see your child struggling with the exact same issues that you had. You want to help them, and you also feel a little bit…guilty. Maybe it’s your fault they’re this way.
But it’s really not your fault
And feeling guilty, even if it makes sense, doesn’t make things easier. So let’s take a step back and figure out what is leading to your child’s anxiety in the first place.
Starting next week, we’ll begin our 8 week series on anxiety and parenting - and there’s a lot that we’ll be digging into:
Anxiety and Parenting a Child with Anger Management Issues (spoiler: it’s probably anxiety related as well!)
Perfectionism and Parenting Your Highschooler
Preparing Your Highschooler for College
Out of the Nest: How to Parent Your Anxiety-Driven College Student
Moving Forward and Next Steps
Why all this info?
To be fair, I could go into a lot more depth about anxiety, parenting, parenting an anxious kid, etc. When you’re a parent and you have anxiety, there are a lot of things to worry about.
When your child has anxiety, they have a lot of things to worry about.
So when you’re an anxious parent, parenting an anxious child, not only do you have your own worries, you have to manage your child’s worries as well. And what happens is those worries can start to bounce off of one another, growing and tangling an meshing together, until it’s one whole anxiety spiraling mess.
While you can make this into a huge deal, the other option is… you can recognize that this is a common problem. There’s a reason that I’m taking the time to write out 8 weeks worth of stuff on this. You’re certainly not the first anxious parent/parent of an anxious kid, and you won’t be the last.
Instead of feeling shame, it’s totally an option to feel hopeful.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, it’s also ok to feel ready for change.
Homework for this week:
Write down your own experience with anxiety - when you first noticed it, how it impacted you, and if its changed over the years.
Then, see if you notice any of the same signs in your child.
If you do, what emotions does that bring up? If not, what emotions does that bring up?
We’ll come back to it next week! And if you’d like to reach out, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read every one.
Curious to hear more about child and adolescent anxiety counseling in St. Louis, Missouri? Compassionate Counseling St. Louis works with kids, teens, and college students to help them manage their overwhelming emotions (and their parents, too). We work with families throughout Clayton, Brentwood, Creve Couer, Ballwin, Town and Country, and surrounding areas. If you’d like to set up a free consultation call, you can book right here.