Life with kids is great, except when it isn’t. When insecurities and anxiousness overtake your child and your parenting, you may feel like tearing your hair out strand by strand.
Not only is this behavior extremely sad to watch, it is downright infuriating to deal with in someone you love.
I have dealt with anxiety and negative feeling about myself for a long time…but now that I see this same behavior in my child, I am not OK with any part of it.
Anxiety doesn’t always look like fear
The constant second guessing, the indecision, the inability to handle challenges without breaking down, the anger. It’s sad and it’s scary. It’s really disappointing.
As a parent, anxiety makes me say things to my kids that are unloving and unkind
It makes my child say things that are untrue, and hurtful
For far too long I have told myself that this is just normal kid and parent stuff, that this behavior isn’t that big of a deal because it passes.
Parenting is hard work, after all. And there is so much out there today about “losing your S!*#” on your kids and this being a funny thing. There are so many memes about it, and they are a little funny, because every parent can probably relate.
In our family, these issues ares always made better by some hugs and talking it out, and one on one time.
We’ve always had a strong sense of the need to say “I’m sorry” in our family, and that has probably saved our family this far.
Saying I’m sorry has always been good enough to get past the immediate hurt and struggle.
All of that is true.
But it’s also true that this behavior is putting unnecessary stress on our family; it’s hurting our family. It’s like a cancer seed that has been allowed to grow and spread.
Anxiety doesn’t stop with just one part of someone’s life…
It moves from one situation to multiple situations…
It spreads from multiple situations to they way a person carries themselves…
It moves from that self doubt and self hatred…
From here it moves to anger towards others…
It spreads to spewing unloving and hurtful words out towards others when they are really directed at ourselves…
It eventually infects the whole family when everyone is on edge and the only defense is to put up walls for protection…
Anxiety breaks apart families and wrecks lives
We have dealt with this issue in various forms and intensities in our house for far too long, and I am done.
The place I’m at now is the place where I am finally done accepting good enough.
We finally decided to change the game plan and call a counselor to help us talk through some issues.
This is a move that has been long planned on, and put off thinking that these issues will fix themselves. But now is the time.
I definitely think medication CAN be helpful for anxiety, but I truly believe that they best way to change behavior is to change your thoughts, and to learn a new way of seeing the world.
I want my children to learn to handle their feelings and “…Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2nd Corinthians 10:5
A saying I once heard keeps playing in my mind…
If you are doing the same things over and over, don’t expect the outcome to change. In order to change the outcome, you must change what you are doing to get to the outcome.
I am excited for this new journey and hope that this post will encourage other parents to face similar issues head on.
Below are some other things that I will be exploring to help myself and my child with anxiety.
Dealing with Child and Parent Anxiety- When Good Enough is not Anymore
Some good apps that I have personally used are Calm– this is much more geared toward adults and older kids.
DreamyKid is fantastic for kids (ages 7-11). Both of these are fantastic and helpful and have helped both my daughter and I to relax in the moment. Doing them regularly really helps to calm some anxious nerves and put things into perspective.
Some other mobile apps for iPhone and Android, and sites that sound promising as listed on Commonsensemedia.org
– Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
– Super Stretch HD Yoga
-Three Good Things- A Happiness Journal
Books that deal with the topic of anxiety in kids and adults
You can visit the Amazon links to each book by clicking the book photos. If you purchase, I get a small percentage- you can read my full disclosure here
This can be a huge benefit to parents and older kids. When I was a kid, I used to love to get new journals and each one I got would inspire me to write more and more. The benefits of giving a child space and privacy to write their feelings can not be underestimated.
For kids this may look like doodling and writing some thoughts during quiet time.
For parents this can be a powerful tool to identify your feelings, and thoughts and plan your actions to combat anxiety.
Taking a break
When anxiety hits our house, encouraging people to go take a break is the number one thing that seems to calm the mood.
A break can look like anything from going and resting, taking a nap, or just changing activities to get your mind off what is making you anxious.
Check out: The Art of Slowing Down to get more ideas on this.
Get into nature
Going outside has always had a really calming effect on me. Vitamin D is wonderful for you and can help you to feel amazing.
Not to mention going outside encourages you and your child to move around and get some energy out!
Last, but truly one of the most important things you can do with and for those family members dealing with anxiety is to pray!
Praying can not only be therapeutic, but also allows you to lay your problems at the feet of the creator and leave them there.
Prayer is freeing us to leave the heavy load of anxiety behind, and choose to walk in peace instead.
Some prayers for an anxious mind
1st John 4:18- There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
– Lord, help me to remember that you your love- the only love that truly matters- never wavers for me. Teach me that no matter what obstacles I face, and no matter how ungracefully I handle them, I am still loved and accepted by you and I NEVER have to be afraid.
Phillipians 4:6- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
-Lord, you make your instructions so simple. Help me to remember to come to your first with my worries and not to allow myself to dwell on my anxiety. Help me refuse to wallow in worry and wonder about what the future holds. Help me to focus on thanksgiving about what you have already done in my life.
Matthew 6:27- Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
– Lord, keep my mind from wasting my time on worrying. Keep my heart from giving in to worry and allowing the enemy a stronghold in my life. Worrying will never produce a positive outcome in my life.
John 14:27- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
– Lord, keep your peace in my mind always. Help your peace to outshine every worry that I have until I can’t see my worries anymore. Help me never to be afraid of the future, but to know that you are there with me.
Check out more inspiring truths on battling fear and anxiety from Alisa over at Flourishingtoday.com
If you are dealing with an anxious child or anxiety in your parenting, I encourage you to bring your anxieties to the creator, and lay them at his feet. Anxiety can often show up as indecision, trouble concentrating, fear, and anger, among other things.
I encourage you to seek out help for these issues in your family, and let me know how your family has been affected by an anxious child or parent.