Parental Anxiety: 7 Breakthrough Tips To Calm Yourself Down

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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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Mom holding a baby. Parental Anxiety: 7 Breakthrough Tips To Calm Yourself Down

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.

RELATED: The Ugly Truth About Shame, Embarrassment, and Guilt

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.

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Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

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.

7. Addictions. 

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.

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

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.

Related: Overcoming Self-Pity: 4 Ways to Keep From Wallowing

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.

Related: The 6 Best Secrets to Stop Living in Fear

3.  Start Praying.

Instead of wallowing in pain or complaining, do something about it.

Start praying.

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.

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

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Parental Anxiety: 7 Breakthrough Tips To Calm Yourself Down 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.

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

5. Exercise

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.

RELATED: Teacher Secrets to Help Get to Your Child’s Heart

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.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book with a single tree on the book

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 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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Julie Plagens

67 Comments

  1. Katie on May 1, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Thanks so much for writing this. #3 is my go to!

    • Julie Plagens on May 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks, Katie. I’m glad you got something out of this. I appreciate your comments.

  2. Laura Ketchie on April 25, 2018 at 6:12 am

    Great advice! I think many of us can relate to the negative coping mechanisms, which just make things worse. I need to get some copies of Stormie Omaritan’s books.

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:31 am

      Such a great book. It has changed my prayer life. Thanks for reading.

  3. Nik on April 25, 2018 at 4:14 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:32 am

      I’m glad you can see that. You’re not quite as attached since you didn’t carry your child 9 months. Thanks for reading.

  4. Sara on April 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    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…

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:34 am

      Thank goodness for mommas who don’t give up on us. I don’t think I could if I wanted to. Being a mom is just part of my nature. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Katie on April 24, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:35 am

      Katie, we all do it from time to time. It may be a little self-soothing until we can figure out a real solution. Thanks for your honesty.

  6. Marya on April 24, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    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!)

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:37 am

      Mary’s, I know how you feel. Seems like I pray last after nothing else works. I know it should be first thing. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Marya on April 24, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    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!)

    • Julie Plagens on May 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      Marya, I know what you mean. I caught myself eating too much the other day and stopped to think about it . Thanks for reading.

  8. Felicia Life on April 24, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:46 am

      Felicia, yes, I bet you will be a cool grandma. Experience is the best teacher. I’ve got 2 adult children, too. I’ve learned a lot! Thanks for reading.

  9. Sarah on April 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    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?

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:44 am

      Oh, yeah! I should have included excercise. I do that too. Helps deal with things. I’m gonna add that in. Thanks for that reminder, Sarah. I appreciate the comment.

  10. Courtney Emerson on April 24, 2018 at 9:44 am

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:42 am

      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. Judith Okech on April 24, 2018 at 6:03 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:39 am

      Judith, I’m so glad you were able to deal with the anger. It is a hard thing to keep under control. Thanks for reading.

  12. Shannon on April 23, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for the great tip! It’s really helpful. I agree with don’t give up as you have endure it for so long. So why give up now?

    • Julie Plagens on April 26, 2018 at 6:38 am

      So true. Don’t give up! Thanks for reading Shannon.

  13. Rachel on April 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    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 🙂

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      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.

  14. Melanie Frost on April 23, 2018 at 10:55 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Melanie, I know how you feel. I find myself doing some of these things just to cope with everyday life. I appreciate your honesty. Thanks for your comment.

  15. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen on April 23, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Praying helps a lot in whatever pain or struggles we mommies are dealing with every day. Acknowledging our pain is really how we can start dealing with it.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:13 am

      I am so glad you pray. I think it is the best way to get wisdom. Thanks for reading!

  16. Yuli on April 23, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Great tips! I especially like praying. There’s nothing like surrendering all:)

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Oh, yes! And it seems that we go to God last. Trying everything else first.
      Thanks for reading.

  17. Minakshi Baipai on April 23, 2018 at 1:27 am

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:17 am

      I am so glad you found this topic relatable. I really try to talk to moms about things that are real and personal. Hope you find it helpful.
      Thanks for reading.

  18. passportofawanderwoman on April 22, 2018 at 11:26 pm

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

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:18 am

      That is so sweet. Thanks for sharing this post. I am touched you would take the time to do it.
      Thanks for reading and sharing.

  19. holly on April 22, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s so important that people really understand this issue.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Thanks, Holly. It sounds like you may not be a mom…I appreciate you reading it. Someday possibly. It is a hard job. Your heart walks outside of you every day.

  20. Suja on April 22, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:23 am

      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.

  21. Essi on April 22, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:28 am

      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.

  22. Jocelyn on April 22, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    I loved how in-depth this post is. I’m not a mom yet but I so appreciate you sharing this.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Jocelyn, thanks for commenting. Even though you are not a mom, I appreciate you taking the time to place yourself in another situation. Have a great day.

  23. Akamatra on April 22, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:33 am

      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.

  24. Anonymous on April 22, 2018 at 2:17 am

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Thanks for sharing it with your friends. I appreciate it. Being a mom is the best thing ever, but it is hard!

  25. Victor Step on April 22, 2018 at 12:58 am

    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.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Thank you for your comments. You are kind to write something since you are not a woman or a mom! Ha!
      Have a great day.

  26. Arleene on April 21, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:38 am

      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.

  27. Virginia on April 21, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Not the easiest to be a mom. Great post with depth

    • Julie Plagens on April 21, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks for your comment. That means a lot.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 10:41 am

      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.

  28. Shannon on April 21, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    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!

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      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.

  29. Andrea on April 21, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Excellent post and a topic that so needs to be discussed. I commend you for your honesty and for sharing realistic tools. Nice job!

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      Andrea, yes, I hope that my honesty reaches the heart of a mom. It is not easy and many times we feel alone. Thanks for your comment.

  30. Joanne Ventura on April 21, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Well said. Keep up the good work.
    Love you,
    Mom

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks, mom! That’s so sweet of you to comment. That means a lot. I always appreciate the support. I am so proud of you for figuring out the comment section. Haha!

  31. Ally on April 21, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing the 5 ways to get free. I am a new parent and can already feel overwhelmed sometimes!

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      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.

  32. R. Roy on April 21, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Despite the post being for moms, I greatly enjoyed reading it. Surely, it is good reader.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks for being a trooper. I appreciate the comment.

  33. Ophelia T on April 21, 2018 at 12:26 am

    I really love your post. It is really helpful. My favorite method is to pray to the Lord, and ask for his strength. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie Plagens on April 23, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      I am so glad it was helpful. Prayer is now the first thing I do instead of the last thing I do. Thanks for reading.

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