All parents worry about their children, regardless of their age.
While a little parental worry is natural, too much of it can lead to extreme anxiety and drive you to parent your child out of fear.
If you’re always gripped with worry for your little one, here are eight tips to help you manage your parental anxiety.
Acknowledge your fears
Some parents believe that by not recognizing their fears, these feelings will eventually go away. If left unaddressed, anxiety can trigger our fight and flight response, making us more prone to live in a state of prolonged stress.
To effectively deal with your parental anxiety, you must embrace your worries so you can confront them with practical solutions.
For instance, if you’re worried about bullying, discuss with the principal or administrator how they plan to address it, or if you see symptoms of autism in your child, have them checked by a licensed Developmental Pediatrician.
By accepting your fears, you can work on them more constructively and productively.
Practice breathing exercises
Several breathing techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety. The next time you feel anxious, try to do any of these exercises:
- Belly breathing
- Alternate-nostril breathing
- 4-7-8 breathing
- Box breathing
- Mindful breathing
- Lion’s breath
- Resonance breathing
- Pursed-lip breathing
- Simple breathing exercise
Remember that not every anxiety-provoked situation requires immediate action. Being mindful of your breathing can significantly help put your mind and body in a relaxed state.
Go on a social media detox
While social media is increasingly becoming a popular parenting tool, excessive use can increase anxiety levels and trigger depression.
It can make parents feel that they’re not meeting the parenting standards of society and cause them to pressure their children to consistently perform at their best. Reduce your social media time, and engage with your kids more often.
If you’re unable to stop scrolling through your feeds, consider deactivating your social media accounts in the meantime.
Filter the news
Aside from social media, the news is another source of anxiety for most parents. With the advent of technology, parents now have access to multiple platforms that provide real-time information, allowing them to stay updated with world events.
However, too much news can make you more susceptible to negative thoughts and increase your anxiety levels. Make it a habit to turn off the radio or television during mealtimes or other family affairs.
Limit your news consumption and be selective of your media sources.
Cultivate a ‘present’ mindset
Parents suffering from parental anxiety tend to fixate on the future. They fill their minds with ‘what if‘ scenarios, causing their anxiety to spiral out of control. Train your mind to stay in the present and avoid thinking of things beyond your control.
For instance, if you’re concerned about your child’s upcoming test, break down the possible worst scenarios and devise a plan to address them.
Learn to accept that inevitables are part of life, and you won’t always have a positive outcome in every endeavor, no matter how much you prepare for it.
Another way to manage your anxiety is to have an effective self-care routine. You must give yourself the same attention and care you provide your little ones. It can be as simple as going to the gym every week, having coffee with friends, reading a good book, watching a movie with your spouse, going for a hike, or learning yoga.
Diverting your energy into something productive can help lessen your anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
Be gentle to yourself
Parental anxiety can bring about parental guilt. While it’s difficult not to feel guilty, blaming yourself for every mistake will only make you more anxious and stressed. Be kind to yourself, and don’t let your shortcomings paralyze you with fear.
Stop the negative self-talk and surround yourself with motivated and genuine individuals. Learn to say no to unrealistic requests and create healthy boundaries in your relationships.
Seek professional help
If you’re unable to address parental anxiety on your own, it would be best to seek professional help. Instead of turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, consult with a licensed therapist or a mental health doctor so that they can design a treatment plan for you.
You can also try other anxiety remedies such as psychotherapy, online hypnotherapy, medications, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Parental anxiety is a concern that needs to be taken seriously.