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parental anxiety

Parental Anxiety: 7 Life-Changing Ways to Deal With Worry and Fear As a Mom

Are you looking for ways to get free from parental anxiety? You know, the crazy questions that run through your head all day like:  “What if my child doesn’t keep up academically with the other kids? “What if my son doesn’t make the team? ” Or… “What if my daughter doesn’t fit in socially?

My favorite (not) is parental anxiety regarding a child’s health. Ever thought, “What if my child gets hurt, gets a disease, or even dies?”

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Perhaps these are just a few of the “what ifs” you have been thinking about lately as your kids are growing and changing. Let’s face it, as moms, we know a lot about how the world works. It is only natural to be concerned about safety, friends, grades, athletic performance, social life, etc.

But sooner or later, if you keep up the constant churning, it will turn into a big, bad habit of fear. Once your child gets through a situation, another one will come along to take its place.

Truthfully, the worry cycle is never-ending unless you make a concerted effort to stop the insanity.

Check out these clues to see if you have a “worrying mom-brain” and how to fix it! You don’t have to be trapped inside your own drama that, most of the time, never happens.

What is Parental Anxiety?

Parental anxiety is when a parent excessively worries about any and everything that could possibly go wrong, and then passes those worries onto her child.

Perhaps you have heard of “helicopter parents” who hover over their kids or “lawnmower” parents who are said to “mow down” every obstacle or person in their child’s way so they never experience problems or feel pain.

Sadly, these behaviors have a real impact on a child.  It causes kids to be fearful to try new things or give up and not try at all due to fear of failure or harm since they have never learned how to problem-solve.

Most likely, the root of all this anxiety comes from listening to the news, social media, your own childhood trauma, or tragic information from friends or family.

While it is true that there is a real need for caution and wisdom, we still have to push our kids to experience life and take risks knowing that failure is just a part of learning and growing.

RELATED: Reversing the Moral Decline In America: 7 Biblical Ways to Raise Strong Kids

Parental Anxiety Scale: 7 Things You May Be Doing

Check out these parental anxiety symptoms. This list may not encompass everything, but it is a good start.

1.  You are an overthinking parent. You run “potential situations” over and over in your head fearing the worst every time.

2. You become irritable, short-tempered, or angry when you think something is going to happen.

3. You wallow in pain, complain, or become depressed due to the constant fear of the unknown.

4. You are overprotective. You don’t let your kids experience life which in turn keeps them from the best teacher of all–mistakes.

5.  You are controlling. You try to control every outcome, shielding your child from pain.

6. You avoid teaching responsibility. You prevent your child from taking responsibility for bad choices or feeling the consequence because you don’t want him to suffer.

RELATED: When You Feel Like You Have Failed as a Parent

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How to Calm An Anxious Parent: 7  Ways to Manage Parental Anxiety

Here is how to deal with your parental anxiety appropriately and calm your anxious heart. Check out these seven tips to manage overthinking and constant worry about your child. Learn how to redirect your parental stress to more healthy activities.

1. Discover the Root Cause

What is the root cause of your parental anxiety? Is it the news, social media, family, friends, memories of your own childhood, etc.? Think hard about this. What can you do to minimize that input in your life?

Perhaps it is time to stop watching the news or spending so much time on social media. Additionally, consider taking a break from that friend who is always talking about how her child has accomplished…well, everything.

It can be stressful worrying if your child is keeping up with the Jones.’  All that comparison can make a mom crazy.

If you don’t know what is causing your parental anxiety, pray and ask God to show you.

Facts About Parenting: 3 Things Every Parent Wish They Knew Early On

2. Deal With the Fear and Hurts

Chances are there is a lot of fear that is making you upset about your child’s grades, friends, social status, athletic performance, or whatever.

Deal with your fear by doing what you can to make the situation better (tutoring, lessons, play dates, medical attention), and then acknowledge that you do not have the power to fix the rest.

Many times our own childhood traumas are triggered when we see our kids going through some of the same things we experienced years ago. It is important to identify these childhood hurts and deal with them before they get mixed up with your kid’s pain.

I’m sure you have heard of the crazy mom stories of women who “took care” of their daughter’s enemies. Yeah, I bet they were triggered by their own childhood traumas. Ya think?

3.  Start Praying

Yes, it’s time to get down on your knees and pray! I promise it works. (It takes time so be patient.) Instead of wallowing in parental anxiety, do something about it. Don’t just sit by and watch things happen without a fight.

This is the single best thing I have done to combat my own parental anxiety! The devil will tell you it’s a waste of time. It’s a HUGE lie.

When I first started praying, I used Stormie O’Martin’s book The Power of a Praying Parent to help kickstart my prayer life. (I still use it!)

You can take the prayer at the end of each chapter in Stormie’s book and insert your child’s name in it. Or go straight to the Bible and insert your child’s name directly into scripture verses. I suggest starting in Psalms or Proverbs.

To make things easy, you can get these free printable scripture cards already made for you with all the “do not fear” verses right at your fingertips. Easy peasy! Pray them over you and/or your kids.

Do not fearHowever you pray, remember that you are releasing the fear back to God and trusting Him to work in your situation.

RELATED: How to Pray for Your Kids in Your War Room

4.  Tell Yourself the Truth

Remind yourself of the truth: kids learn from their mistakes. Sometimes a field trip is the only way to get to a stubborn heart.

Saving them from every problem will only handicap them in the long run. Continue to tell yourself that they need to feel the consequence of their actions.

For instance, allow your kids to feel the pain of a forgotten lunch or homework assignment, the consequence of skipping chores, or not coming home on time.

On the flip side, don’t forget to encourage them to try new things that may be a bit risky but within the normal bounds of childhood behavior (sports, new friendships, skills, travel, mission trip, tryout for a part, etc.).

Sometimes kids experiment with destructive behaviors such as sex, drugs, or alcohol. While these behaviors can’t always be stopped, you can make sure they feel the consequences of their actions.

More importantly, if they are experimenting,  address it head-on. This is not the time to freeze up with fear and run from the situation. They need you now more than ever. 

RELATED: The Most Powerful Parenting Tips (from Successful Teens)

5. Exercise/Deep breathe/Music

Start moving. Get on a treadmill, bike, or whatever gets your heart rate up. This will help with all that restless energy that is keeping you up at night. Try deep breathing, meditation (on God), or Yoga.

Movement will help calm your parental anxiety. It is a natural way to deal with stress.

Extra tip: I have found listening to worship music or “fear not” meditation on YouTube to be incredibly helpful when I can’t sleep or need comfort in the day.

6. Give yourself grace

It is important to give yourself grace for the hard days.

Forgive yourself and move forward if you have been in the saving mode for years.

Most of the time, rescuing comes from a place of love. No parent wants to watch their child suffer. It takes a strong stomach to let your child fail an assignment, go without lunch, or be grounded for the weekend.

7. Let It Go

If you want to calm yourself as an anxious parent, you are going to have to make a conscious effort to let it go every day. And trust God. It is a choice you make.

FYI: It doesn’t come naturally!

Realize that control is an unhealthy parenting habit that is easy to fall into when you are fearful. If you continue to worry, there is a good chance you will pass the bad habit to your kids.

Let go of the worry not only for your sake but also for the sake of your child. More importantly, you will set a good example for your child if you model trust in God.

RELATED: How to Stop Living in Fear: 7 Ways to Overcome a Fear-Based Life

Do Parents Ever Stop Worrying?

Do you ever wonder if there will be a day that you stop worrying about your kids?

For me, I have found that worry is more of a management issue. Kinda like the whack-a-mole game.

When it rears its ugly head I have to whack it back down.

Moreover, worrying is a choice. If you want to break the habit, then start implementing these coping mechanisms. They are appropriate ways to get free from parental anxiety. (The scripture cards help a lot!)

I still use these cards even though my kids are now adults. I will never stop praying! I have to remind myself every day that God is in charge. I can trust Him because He is good.

How do you deal with parental anxiety? Leave a comment below. 

Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or have a family estrangement? Do you feel shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family but also gives solid tips to help you with your family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

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Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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There are tips on building a Christian home, parenting, marriage, family issues, and faith. Learn how to get back to the things that matter most in your life and the life of your family. It’s time for a revival!

73 thoughts on “Parental Anxiety: 7 Life-Changing Ways to Deal With Worry and Fear As a Mom”

  1. These tips are great and so practical. I will definitely pass these on to my friends who are parents. Anxiety seems to be something that parents commonly experience, but don’t often speak about. Thank you for sharing this.
    Tasha Marie x

    1. Thanks, Donna. I hope this post helps those who are struggling with parental anxiety. It is so easy to get trapped in worry and fear. God loves it when we trust Him even when it looks a little scary!

  2. This was rock solid awesome and so needed. Thank you for your ministry! I found you today via Debs ministry on FB . I shared your post in my Pinterest it was too good not too!

    1. Susan, thanks for the share! I am so glad you visited my site. Parental anxiety is not an easy thing to deal with as a mom. Worry and fear plague us at the worst times! But we can overcome this with these biblical tips.

  3. Being a man those things we don’t know. Blog like this brings awareness and help to build strong relationships during the tough times. Thank you.

  4. When I consider who I am now, I always thank God and my mom, who had the patience to never lose hope on me. And I believe she is happy now. There is always something to learn from our parents for not giving up on us, but giving everything to God in prayer…

  5. I am so guilty of the bad coping behaviors you mentioned! Thank you for this post and the encouragement to not give up. Motherhood is tough, but so so worth it.

  6. You have to walk through the pain, there’s no way around it. And take everything in prayer..not to social media or stress eating. (preaching to myself!)

  7. You have to walk through the pain, there’s no way around it. And take everything in prayer..not to social media or stress eating. (preaching to myself!)

  8. As a single mom, I had a lot of ups and downs and can definitely relate to these. I’m saving this article! My kids are both grown now and since experience is the best teacher, I’m gonna be an awesome mentor to them when it’s their turn. Oh, I will be the coolest grandma!

  9. This is great. I am the kind of mom that will push it all down and let it fester into depression. Thankfully, I have learned the cycle and can get out of it. A bit coping mechanism for me is exercise, specifically running. Getting outside and working hard is usually enough to clear my mind and make me feel better. Besides, if I can conquer some time or distance, I can do just about anything, Right?

  10. Number 5 (Don’t Give Up) is what I struggle with. I address my anger, pray, do what I feel is right to get the issues of my life (not just motherhood but also as a wife and entrepreneur) taken care of. Then when it all starts to crumble, I fall back into the vicious cycle of being angry and hurt and not knowing how I’m going to get out of the hole I’m in. Since starting my own business serving others, the cycle has been easier to break and keep me grounded. I hope other women/moms/wives can break that vicious cycle too!

    1. Courtney, I’m so glad you recognize the issue. You are stretched in so many directions. I’m sure it’s hard not to get angry sometimes when you are feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. Thanks for reading.

  11. I love number 2, deal with your anger. Anger can terribly distract a whole days activity. In the long run, the problem remains unsolved. I learnt to contain my anger when I began to deeply engage in prayer. The anger just flashes and goes then life goes on. Thank you for the helpful tips.

  12. This is such an honest and reflective post. I like how you have identified bad and useful coping strategies and worked out whats best for you 🙂

    1. Thanks, Rachel. It is good to get honest. I know there are others who do some of the same things I do. We all have short-term coping strategies that work for a little while until we can figure out how to fix things. Thanks for your comment.

  13. This was so beautifully written. I often feel this way, not just about my kid, but also about my job, husband, and life in general. I need to use some of these coping methods to get through the daily grind.

  14. Minakshi Baipai

    I totally enjoyed reading your post. I can so much relate myself to this topic as I am mom. Just to let your emotions out. Such a great post!

  15. passportofawanderwoman

    Beautiful post. I am not a mom, but I am sure all moms go through this. Will share it with some moms I know.

  16. I totally enjoyed reading your post. I can so much relate myself to this topic as I am mom who always feel not ok to discuss my family topics to my friends. The strategies you mentioned are super helpful.

    1. Yeah, I get it. You definitely don’t want to expose your kids to other people. It is good to get help if you can’t figure things out, though. Dealing with teens, especially, it difficult.
      Thanks for reading.

  17. Even though I am not a mom yet, I enjoyed reading what you as a mother goes through and what you do to cope! Thanks for the information, will share with my friends who are mothers.

    1. Essi, thanks for sharing with other people. That is really sweet. Being a mom is really hard, but it is by far the best thing I have ever done. Definitely needs to be in the right time. Thanks for reading.

  18. I am not struggling with motherhood but I can definitely see why some moms do. It’s the most tiring and stressful job in the planet but the rewards are out of this place. I like your strategy to get free, all apart from praying, are thing I could see working for me if need be.

    1. Akamatra, thanks for reading this. Yes, being the mom is definitely the most difficult thing on the planet, but it is worth it. I hope you will be open to prayer at some point in your life. I consider it to be the most powerful way to combat difficult situations.

  19. Mothers are very strong, they burn themselves to light the happiness of family and kids. I am sure this article will give them strength. I will share it with my Mommy friends!

  20. I can see how so many mothers are actually having a hard time.. but it’s important for them to know that they are to alone and that there are ways to make it easier. Thanks for sharing, I am sure many will find this very useful.

  21. This is so true. We as moms tend to bottle everything up and not realize it’s affecting us. I do that every once in a while and I find myself just crying while everyone is sleeping. Just to let my emotions out. Such a great post!

    1. Arleene, isn’t that so true. I bottle up things and then they come out weird ways. Mostly I internalize it like you. It is hard not to have some sort of meltdown every once in a while. Thanks for reading.

    1. Virginia, I don’t know if you are a mom or if you want to be. It is the best thing ever, but definitely so hard when your heart walks outside of your body every day. Thanks for reading.

  22. This is such a meaningful post with excellent advice. Any mom can relate to feeling overwhelmed to different degrees at various stages of motherhood. Thanks for your insights!

    1. Shannon, that’s so true. Being a mom means growing through the different stages of your child. It was more physical in the younger years and more emotional in the older years.
      Thanks for reading.

    1. Ally, congratulations on the new addition. You have lots of fun things you will be experiencing over the years. Being a mom is the best job ever, but the hardest. Wait until your child comes home crying the first time. It never gets easier no matter how old they are. You still hurt when they do.
      Thanks for reading.

    2. I really loved this post! It was so in-depth and so helpful! Thank you!! I am a mom and it can be hard not to worry about your children as we always want the best for them and love them so much! Thank you for this post!

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