Healthy Emotional Expression: Tips To Prevent Passing Anxiety Onto Kids
Healthy expression of emotions is very important, specially when you have kids around. Kids pick-up emotions and habits pretty fast. If you have to deal with anxiety like me, here are few tips to prevent passing anxiety onto kids.
I have anxiety. Sometimes it’s mild, and sometimes it’s through the roof. I worry about everything, all the time. Even the simplest of things keep me awake all night. Knowing that I have to do something the next day that is out of my routine can send me into a tailspin. I’ve learned over the years that breaking down the stuff I have to do into ‘one at a time’ can really help me to stay somewhat in control of my anxiety.
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Tips To Prevent Passing Anxiety Onto Kids
I’m absolutely terrified of passing my anxiety on to my children. I know that I can’t remove my anxiety-prone DNA from them, but I’ve been trying very hard to parent in a way that they don’t pick up on my anxious behaviors. I want them to learn healthy ways of managing anxiety and worries.
Try to Manage your Own Anxiety Effectively
Children learn by example, when we react irrationally to things, our children also learn to respond that way. Practice mindfulness with your children. This is an excellent tool for them to learn. When you find yourself starting to get overwhelmed by things, try to focus on your breathing and count to ten. It sounds simple, but I find it extremely useful.
Allow your Children to Have Experiences
Allowing children to have age-appropriate experiences helps to get them into situations where they can develop their own coping mechanisms. As a parent with anxiety, it can be very stressful to watch your children get themselves into difficult situations, but it’s essential that they learn healthy coping mechanisms.
Anxiety takes advantage of my vivid imagination, and it’s not beneficial to myself or my kids. I find that I immediately think of the worst case scenario, everything has a possible catastrophic outcome in my head. I try not to scare my children with these thoughts, as I know that they are irrational. I try to force myself to imagine the best outcome rather than the worst. It’s a really effective tool for me, as it tricks my brain and helps me to manage negative anxiety.
Chose your Words Carefully
Find alternatives for anxiety-centered words and phrases. The way you speak strongly impacts your mind. Help both yourself and your child, by re-framing emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a less anxiety-inducing way. Be more aware of your facial expressions, the words that you choose, and the intensity of your emotions, because your kids are watching you. They are little sponges, and they pick up on everything.
Talk About your Anxiety
While you don’t want your child to see every emotionally charged anxious moment you experience, it’s inevitable that they will see some of these moments. It’s a good idea to talk to your children about having anxiety, and even healthy for children to experience their parents cope with stress every now and again. It’s important to explain why you reacted in the way that you did.
How do you deal with anxiety? Got some more tips to prevent passing anxiety onto kids? Let me know in the comments below.