Anxiety doesn’t just affect adults. From an early age, children can be exposed to this mental disorder. While some exhibit physical symptoms such as an upset stomach, high heart rate or increased tantrums, others withdraw into themselves and stop participating in activities with their peers.
To a large extent, the source of their anxiety lies in those around them. Although they don’t always feel it, some parents unwittingly create discomfort in their children. For HuffPost, experts present the most anxiety-inducing parenting approaches.
Start by encouraging avoidance. When a young child feels a sense of discomfort, he will try to avoid what makes him uncomfortable. If many parents tend to go in his direction, it is best to cultivate his resilience and give him the necessary support to face his fears.
For example, if your child is anxious about leaving you to go to school, this feeling may manifest as a fear of taking the bus. Then he will definitely ask you to drive him there, or even to accompany him to the door of his class, hoping that this will make him less anxious. “Parents unwittingly continue the cycle of anxiety by helping their little one avoid what he fears. This can be seen as an easy solution, as it allows you to avoid great anger. But the child will not learn to develop healthy and necessary coping skills.explains Laura Linn Knight, parenting coach.
Being too bossy doesn’t help bring serenity either. This type of education tends to cause anxiety, especially when too rigid rules are in place in the home. Psychologist Ann-Louise Lockhart even observes that “Children brought up in such conditions do not feel safe when they make mistakes, as people around them correct them excessively”.
Don’t tell your fear
Another anxiety-inducing parenting approach: Refusing to face your own discomfort. Just as you must put on your oxygen mask before helping others, you must learn to manage your anxiety in order to support your children in theirs. Like real mushrooms, the youngest listen to our words and pay particular attention to our body language. Therefore, if the parents themselves struggle with anxiety, it is important to manage their stress so as not to communicate it.
Of course, achieving perfect parenting is not the goal. The goal is therefore not to suppress negative emotions in front of your children, but rather to discuss them together to teach them to tame them. “Your offspring will be happy to know that they are not alone in their anxiety. It also lets her see that she does not have to suffer in silence, but that you are there to help her.”says Khadijah Booth Watkins, associate director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds.
Finally, if children are warned too regularly, anxiety can also affect them. Constantly says phrases such as “watch out, you’ll fall” creates hesitation in them. If it can be useful in small doses, however, it is not necessary to repeat it systematically. Instead, pay attention to the frequency of your warnings and explain why a certain action is dangerous.