Parental Anxiety: 7 Breakthrough Tips To Calm Yourself Down
Are you looking for ways to get free from parental anxiety? I can relate. There have been days in my life I hurt so badly for my children and no one knew. If you are like me, you are good at acting like everything is okay when it really isn’t okay.
Meanwhile, you continue through the motions, day after day, smiling and holding your head high like you have it all together.
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The truth is down deep inside you know you don’t have it all together. You constantly wonder if you are being the best parent possible because there are problems you can’t solve.
In fact, you don’t even have a clue on how you are going to get through the next day without crumbling into pieces. You are lost in worry over your child who is either desperately hurting or not making good decisions. Or both.
You know if you start crying just a little, it may not stop. And you fear you will never be able to put yourself back together to function at a normal level if you let one tear drop from your eyes.
This kind of pain is too much to bare mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sadly, you won’t tell anyone you have this terrible parental anxiety because you are either embarrassed or think no one will understand.
We Don’t Want to Talk About Parental Anxiety
Unfortunately, most of us can’t talk about our parental anxiety because we do not want to expose our kids for fear of it embarrassing or hurting them.
When there is no one to talk to, you start thinking about it all the time. Mulling situations over and over again; trying to figure out a good solution.
After a while, if nothing changes, you push the pain deep in your heart, hoping it will all go away.
This is when all the weird stuff starts happening. We think our coping mechanisms are ways to get free from the pain. Unfortunately, it only makes it worse.
7 Clues You Have Parental Anxiety
Here are a few things you may do when you are upset about something with your children. These coping behaviors work well for the short-term, but they are not a sustainable solution long-term. They are not ways to get free.
1. Sit in front of the TV late at night and eat…a lot. And not carrots and celery.
2. Become irritable, short-tempered, or angry.
3. Wallow in pain, complain, or become depressed.
4. Work. Stay so busy volunteering, or whatever to keep from thinking.
5. Run from the situation. Hope it all goes away.
6. Give up. Quit trying.
Whatever is your way of coping-it all ends up at the same destination. A dead-end road. There is no substance or behavior that is going to fix the pain. In fact, what works best is to deal with it.
7 Ways to Get Free From Parental Anxiety
Here are some ways to get free and deal with your parental anxiety appropriately:
1. Acknowledge the pain and address it.
Manage to eat (drink, shop, etc.) in a way that is balanced. Not out of control. If you do binge on that bag of potatoes chips-stop and ask what’s bothering you. Then try to find a way to discuss it and find resolution.
The eating, drinking, etc. is a band-aid covering the pain. Once you deal with the issue, the binging should die down.
2. Deal With the Fear.
Chances are there is a lot of fear that is making you upset about the pain your child is experiencing. Deal with your fear by doing what you can to make the situation better, and then acknowledge that you do not have the power to fix the rest.
Many times our own childhood traumas are triggered when the same things happen to our kids. It is important to identify these hurts and deal with them before they get mixed up with our kid’s pain.
3. Start Praying.
Instead of wallowing in pain or complaining, do something about it.
I have used books such as Stormie O’Martin’s The Power of a Praying Parent as one of the ways to get free.
You can take the prayer at the end of each chapter and insert your child’s name. Another suggestion is to insert your child’s name directly into scripture verses.
When you pray, you are directly talking to God about the problems and laying it at His feet.
If you are powerless to change the circumstances, pray more not less. Eventually, God opens or closes the right doors. He delivers in His perfect time. Every time.
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4. Stop Running.
Stop yourself before you run away from a situation. Ask yourself if you are purposely too busy or if you are in denial. If you find you are running away, stop and deal with it.
Many parents are stuck in the “friend” mode with their kids. They don’t want to enforce consequences even though they know it is the right thing to do. They ignore their child’s bad behavior thinking it will go away.
Sadly, parents are shocked when bad behavior is still there years later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always magically go away; sometimes it morphs into something worse.
Start moving. Get on the 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. This will help calm your parental anxiety.
6. Give yourself grace
It is important to give yourself grace for the hard days. Don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong. No parent is perfect. Forgive yourself and move forward. God is a perfect parent, but He has a lot of imperfect children.
Our kids have free will. We can’t control everything they do just like God doesn’t control everything we do.
7. Don’t give up.
Don’t give up on your child! Many times God will show you a way through the situation. Other times you may need to get help if you in over your head. This may mean going to a counselor, friend, or pastor for some solid advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Whatever you do, stay in there even though you are dealing with parental anxiety. Your child needs you to go the distance.
These Strategies Work!
These strategies have worked to help me with the deep pain and worry over my children. They are appropriate ways to get free from parental anxiety. I still use some of them even though my kids are now adults. I will never stop praying!
It is important to take the time to learn how to parent your children while acting as the adult, not as your child’s buddy. When you parent as an adult, you train your children to become functional adults. You are modeling good behavior.
Your kids will learn appropriate coping mechanisms they can repeat with their own children. This is the kind of legacy you want to pass down to the next generation. A legacy of putting God first and dealing with issues especially when the pain seems more than you can handle.
Do You Have Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!
Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling 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 it also gives solid tips to help you with your own 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.
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.
Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group
Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.
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