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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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