Parenting While Coping With Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a major stressor that many people suffer from, but it can be especially difficult for parents to manage. The following is an exploration of why parenting with anxiety is so challenging, along with some steps parents can take to better manage their situation.

Parenting With Anxiety Disorder is Difficult

Anxiety disorders stem from a core belief that we’re unable to resolve or control a stressor. Whether specific or general, this causes us to question our abilities, doubt the likelihood of an outcome and/or overestimate the threat of a potential danger. In other words, a stressor has an unduly significant (and negative) impact because we don’t believe it can be controlled.

While such thoughts and feelings are troubling for anyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, they’re frequently particularly troubling for parents. Parents often feel the anxiety even more, because raising children is so personal and significant. Many times, parents who have anxiety will begin to ask questions like:

  • Are my children meeting the appropriate developmental milestones on schedule?
  • Are my children spending too much time in daycare?
  • Are my children being exposed to too many dangerous chemicals?
  • Do my children have enough friends?
  • Do my children get the nutrients they need to grow healthily?

Proper Self-Care is the Foundation of All Anxiety Coping Strategies

For parents (and everyone) who suffer from anxiety disorders, the foundation of any coping strategy is a proper self-care regimen. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be in a position to give your children all of the care that they need.

Self-care looks a little different for everyone, but it generally requires making sure you take time for what you need. Even when it’s difficult to do, try to get a sufficient amount of sleep, eat right, stay hydrated and exercise regularly.

Recognize Limits When You Reach Them

Regardless of how well you do or don’t care for yourself, you’ll inevitably reach your limits at times. Every parent does, including both those who suffer from anxiety and those who don’t.

Learn to recognize when you’re starting to reach your limits, and give yourself a break when you do. Watch for fatigue, irritability, anger and excessive worrying — all of which can be signs that you’re being taxed.

Give Yourself a Break When You Reach Your Limits

When you reach your limits, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break. Parents are only people, and even the best ones can only do so much. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve done all that you can, but have compassion for yourself.

Simply giving yourself permission to take a break can make a big difference. When you do try to relax, look for a quiet place where you can meditate and go through some deep breathing exercises. These are effective anxiety-reducing techniques.

Get Help Parenting With Anxiety

For more assistance managing anxiety, speak with your friends, family and your physician as you’re comfortable. Your doctor is an excellent source, as your appointments are confidential and they can point you toward resources.

If appropriate, your doctor may suggest that you see an anxiety specialist. If you want or need to see someone, know that at Jonas Hill you are heard here.

Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information. A safe space to heal.