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How To Prevent Kids With Anxious Parents From Having Anxiety

How To Prevent Kids With Anxious Parents From Having Anxiety

Will anxious parents raise anxious kids? A recent research study shows that there certainly is a greater risk for those kids. About 10% of all kids in the USA are suffering from some sort of anxiety disorder. They are liable to be clinging, wash their hands compulsively or be obsessively tidy and are fearful about home security. The ideal would be to stop anxiety so that these kids will be able to conquer their fears and worries so that they can become more resilient and enjoy a more independent and productive childhood. If they have anxious parents, the chances of this happening are much less. Let us look at what this and other studies found. We can also examine what can be effective ways to help these kids.

Main research findings

The researchers decided to monitor 136 families for a year. In each family there was one parent who had been diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder. None of the kids had been diagnosed with anxiety at the beginning of the experiment.

Families were divided into two groups. The first was given an information pack on anxiety and they were not given any other advice at all. The parents were expected to read through all the material and basically left to their own devices.

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The second group of families were invited to attend eight therapy sessions held once a week plus a few other additional sessions. The first two sessions were exclusively for the parents while the others involved the whole family. Basically, the families were helped to cope with anxiety, parenting skills, and techniques to deal with it.

Results of the research were not surprising

In the first group who were left to sort out the anxiety issues on their own, 30% of the children were found to be suffering from anxiety. In the second group who had been given therapy, only 5% of the kids were found to have an anxiety disorder. It is a startling difference and the basic message is that anxious parents are far too busy protecting them from worrying and fearful situations. They should be doing the opposite as the lead researcher Dr. Golda Ginsburg remarked:

“They need to help them face their fears in order to reduce their anxiety.”

More research needs to be done because this particular study involved only volunteers and they were not from poorer, single parent families or non-white backgrounds.

Other research studies

One research study at the Iowa State University by Dr. Russell Laczniak found that children of anxious parents were more likely to play violent video games than those kids who had more authoritative parents.

“If parents want to reduce the amount of violent video games that their kids play, be warm when dealing with them, but somewhat restrictive at the same time, and set rules and those rules will work. For parents, who are more anxious, the rules become less effective and those kids are going to play more.” – Prof. Russell Laczniak.

Another study from King’s College London found that although anxiety was passed on genetically, parenting choices were much more influential on how kids turned out.

“The right thing to do is to help the child have opportunities to take on challenges and tasks appropriate to their age and level of fear,” – Thalia Eley, head researcher.

How can anxious parents help their children?

Parents need to stop avoiding worrisome situations by protecting and accommodating their anxious kids. This may take the form of avoiding social outings or stressful sports activities and parents think that their children will be calmer, more secure and comfortable. Nothing could be further from the truth because these kids will grow up fearful and incapable of coping with their anxiety.

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Parents must be able to help their kids overcome these fears and worries. One way is that they can talk to their kids about it and how they cope with it themselves. They can give worry a persona or make it into a game where they have to conquer and beat anxiety. This is just one suggestion from the authors of the excellent book called Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children by Wilson and Lyons

Parents have to become aware of how they can overestimate the risk of danger and underestimate their kids’ capability in learning to face these worries, fears and obstacles to their happiness. If they never learn how to do that, their kids will always be trapped in their anxiety and their world will become smaller and smaller.

Featured photo credit: Morgan, anxious/ Sage Ross via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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