Parenting: an anxious heart
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Po Yiu (Andrew) Chan, MA Counselling & Psychotherapy, MBACP
5th July, 20180 Comments
In parental counselling, quite a large number of parents tend to ask the question: 'How can I help my child with anxiety?'. Being a parent and battling an anxious child is definitely a challenging experience, as all those activities which used to bring joy to a person can really put fear into you, and this feeling can be really hard to describe.
In order to help a child stay calm, many quick tips for parents to exert more control over their children's surrounding environment are carried out. At first, the child seems to be a lot more emotionally stable, but it only lasts for a while and problems remain unresolved. Even though quick tips given by professional bodies are increasingly more known to the public, there are more parental complaints of their children having more emotional problems, especially anxiety.
Counselling seems to offer a new insight into this problem, and parents are encouraged to think of this problem from a different perspective. Is it possible for some parents to pass on their anxiety to their children? Can attitudes of anxious parents affect children’s behaviours? This suggestion seems a bit premature as most of the anxiety interventions are focusing on children’s behaviours. However, children learn how to behave through the observation of how their parents react across various situations. If a child consistently witnesses repeated example of parents getting anxious, he/she might assume that the world is not a safe place and interacting with other people can be dangerous. An anxiety feedback loop can be created so that anxiety in the child could cause their parents to worry even more. As a result of this ever-lasting cycle, children will be more sensitive to their parents’ attitudes and their mood would seem a lot more difficult to handle.
Parents who are anxious can actually be counselled and educated on how to minimise the impact of their anxiety on the whole family, especially on the child’s future emotional development. Being a parent is not always easy, but knowing yourself and learning more about how to manage the feelings of anxiety through counselling could be quite beneficial for you and your family.
About the author
I am a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist who specializes in parenting counselling and personality construction. I have a special interest in how parent's emotions can affect a child's development and how rebuild a new personality can develop a much more secure relationship with other people.
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