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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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