How to Parent an Anxious Child

Parenting is somewhere between, “No, don’t do that!” And, “Oh, what the hell…” This is actually very accurate! Being a parent can be tricky sometimes because, with every child, we experience something different. How do you parent a child who is anxious?


It’s important to find the spot where the child feels you care, but you are also going to let the child have a say in the problem. It’s important to know that you cannot control your child, especially as they age. You won’t want to control them because they have developing minds and it’s important for them to be able to sense when something is wrong and what to do about it.

The key is, you only control yourself.


Authoritarian Parents 


Authoritarian parents will have to learn how to stop worrying about controlling their child because it is not possible and not necessary. You don’t have to fear losing them if you step back. They’ll respect you more and more likely to move towards you to join you as peers. Peers are what they become when they get older.


Permissive Parents


Permissive parents do not have to worry about being the child’s friend or if they like you or not. The much more important role is being able to spot when they are off course, and how to get them back on track. They’ll grow to like you in the long run and of course, love you for doing that.


The Anxious Child


The Anxious child is the child who feels like they can’t do something even when you know they can. But somewhere along the lines, they feel they can’t. When your child feels anxious about doing something, that is your clue to step in.

The first clue is for you to realize you have an emotion within you. Such as hurt, anger, or upset about something your child is doing, that’s a clue that it’s time to step in.

The second clue is if your child has prolonged negative emotions, it’s time to step in.

The third clue is if your child isn’t developing as they should such as, starting to do homework alone, have an active social life with close friends, and balance it fairly well, it’s time to step in.


How to Parent the Anxious Child


If you see your child falling behind in any of those areas, it’s time to step in. The anxious child is often one of the kids who get left behind, often in social situations. When the child is too anxious to go out and do normal socializing that pre-teens or teens do, as the parent you’ll want to step in. This doesn’t mean taking over or giving them a pass, it means having a conversation with them and expressing your concern.


For example, ” I am concerned about your inability to have a normal active social life and I’d like to hear your viewpoint on that.”


Always start with their viewpoint, this will get them thinking. Remember, they have developing brains and they need to work, so exercise them! Telling them what to do isn’t exercising their brain. When you’re not around, you want them to be able to think things through.


The key is to express your concern and invite them into a discussion about how to fix it.


After some time has passed, I recommend going back and talking about whether it was fixed or not.  Think about the self-esteem this child has, if they joined you in a plan, carried out the plan, and you express how pleased you are with their development; that’s where they get self-esteem. Not from obeying your orders or by not stepping in to help them and leaving them behind.

Your child gets self-esteem from facing a problem, figuring it out, and solving it. Please don’t rob your child of that. Authoritarian and permissive parents are robbing their children of their self-esteem by figuring it out for them, or not stepping in. Plus, it’s a bonding experience for you both.


If you have any questions about parenting, and you would like to discuss your own parenting plan, call, or text 757-340-8800.


For more on this topic:

How to Discipline a Teenager Who Makes Bad Decisions

For more helpful info go to www.drldabney.com. Or for online programs to help you in your relationships, go to relationship-rx.com.


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1 Comment

  1. Casey

    Gonna show this to my mom!


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