There are more reasons for parents to be worried about the safety of their children than ever before. If you have watched the news lately, you have witnessed many of the horrible crimes that happen across the country each day. Sending your children out into the world can be a cause of anxiety for many parents.
While anxiety itself can affect anyone and can be passed onto your children genetically, your behavior is key to keeping your anxiety from passing on to your children. It’s crucial to recognize that children primarily learn through observation, and it’s vital that you don’t project your fears onto them unconsciously.
It’s important that parents deal with their anxiety in an appropriate environment like the Village counseling & Wellness Center to learn the necessary coping tools. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways that as a parent, you can avoid passing your anxiety on to your children.
Don’t Project Your Fears
Every parent wants to protect their children from the traumas of childhood. For those that suffered from things like bullying in school, those scars can last a lifetime and create issues like social anxiety in adulthood. As a parent, you want to be careful not to project your own fears onto your child before they have even thought about any problems. For example, you may advise your child to report any bullying to their teacher immediately before they experience any difficulties, but changing that fear into a reality for the child. Your child may not have been thinking about the possibility of being bullied, but if you mention it, then it will be in their mind and could become a fear.
Creating Unseen Fears
During their life, your child will find themselves in many upsetting, startling, or scary situations. As a parent, it’s essential to provide comfort whenever possible. However, if your child has a reaction to a situation, it’s best to avoid creating unseen fears unless the child anxiously describes their feelings. For example, if your child is scared by a barking dog, instead of saying, “Wow, that was really scary”, you could say something calmer like, “ That sure was startling, wasn’t it?” This will move your child away from the emotion attached to fear and allow the moment to pass more easily.
Avoid Fearful Language
Words can be very powerful, especially if they promote negativity or fear. How you speak to your child and to yourself can impact the way that you both think about certain situations. Try to use expressive language that describes feelings and emotions in a positive way while giving your child confidence and a sense of well-being. Here are a few examples:
- Instead of saying that a situation was so scary, you may want to say that you were proud of how your child handled those circumstances. Change the phrase, “that was so scary when you fell into the water,” to something that focuses on the positive, such as, “ you swam really well when you fell in the water.”
- Instead of instilling fear into your child by expressing your concerns about their safety, try encouraging them and giving them your support. You can change the phrase, “Don’t climb too high; you could fall,” to something that boosts their confidence like, “Wow, you are such a great climber!”
As parents, we are constantly on guard and ready to protect our children. Unfortunately, we can’t always shield them from every situation they encounter. To avoid passing your anxiety to your children, follow these tips to help you project a more positive attitude.