From the moment you hear the news of pregnancy, anxiety begins. Parenting is a big responsibility. There is no way of knowing what an ideal parent looks like. “Am I going to be a good parent?” “What if the baby grows up to be a trouble?” “What if I can’t protect my baby?” There is no end to a parent’s worry. These thoughts just magnify more after the child is born. Parental worry is real and it bothers most to-be-parents. What to do when you are always worried about a child’s safety dolor always? In this article, we aim to understand what is child safety anxiety and how to ease parental anxiety.
What Does Parental Anxiety Look Like?
To understand how to ease parental anxiety, it is important to understand what it looks like.
Picture this: Betty has a 2-month-old son. She has rocked her baby to sleep. The crib suits the baby’s needs. Additionally, the house meets all the safety standards. Betty herself hasn’t slept well in weeks as she keeps a constant watch on the baby. Even though the house is quiet as a grave and the baby is sound asleep, betty just cant’ help but think that the baby needs her. She lies awake, full of worries and keeps checking her baby again and again.
Fears like these are common and valid in parental anxiety. Some other examples could be:
- Having more separation anxiety than the child when sending them away.
- Not letting anyone else hold the baby.
- Constantly checking on the baby.
Symptoms of Child Safety Anxiety
To ease parental anxiety, one has to understand the symptoms. Some of them are:
When you always worry about a child’s safety, you engage in protective behaviours. For instance, to ease parental anxiety, you will try to keep your child from situations that you fear will harm them. You will avoid any place where the child can get hurt. This behaviour has the potential of stopping the child from exploring his world. Additionally, as parents, you will always perform unnecessary safety checks for the child even when they can look after themselves. You will worry when your child steps out of the house.
Your Anxiety Stops You from Doing Your Work
You will engage in anxious self-talk. The thoughts of child safety will occupy your mind. Moreover, you will behave in a manner which can annoy your child. For instance, you will keep checking on them when they go out to play. More so, you will keep checking on the infant if they give out a small cry. Soothing an infant is normal but when parents keep doing it constantly, it stops a child from learning how to self-soothe.
Jumping the Guns
If you are worried about the child’s safety, you will quickly draw conclusions based on some events. For instance, if someone else is holding your baby for a while, you may start concluding that your baby is crying because the other person picked them up for a longer time. You will move from a possibility to a probability in only a few seconds. For instance, you will think of extreme situations such as a baby falling in a swimming pool, a terrorist attack in school or an earthquake.
Your Life Revolves Around Your Kid’s Problems
When you are always worried about your child’s safety, you are so busy looking after the needs of your child that your personal life has gone for a toss. You will stop focusing on self-care needs. Your aim will be to make your child’s life as safe as possible. You will constantly hover over your child’s life.
Effects of Child Safety Anxiety
On the Child
- A child can sense the anxiety. They can get frustrated and irritated. They will most likely start withdrawing from the parent if they feel that their privacy is being invaded. Therefore it is important to ease parental anxiety so that the child’s.
- A child can get overly dependent. They may not be able to solve their problems and seek parental support every time.
- A child may inherit the anxious traits. They may replicate the same parenting style when they have children.
- Studies have shown that children of anxious parents often cannot handle defeat or difficult circumstances. This is because their parents always protected them. This protection stopped them from learning how to deal with challenges.
- Parents who worry for their childs’ safety always cannot think of things other than their children.
- It affects their social life because they often avoid social gatherings due to safety concerns
- Relationships with children can spoil if parents keep intruding.
- When the child moves out for further studies of family, parents may not handle it well and get depressed.
Causes of Child Safety Anxiety
All the parents worry about child safety. It serves an important function of protecting infants when they can’t protect themselves. Parents’ love and affection come through worry. The worry is only a problem when becomes anxiety. Is the worry evolutionary or is it because of the messages we see on social media these days? Let’s find out:
- If the parent has suffered from or seen any dangerous events happening to them or loved ones.
- If the parents have a history of mental disorders such as anxiety.
- When the parents are raised by anxious caregivers, they learn that parenting style.
- When the parents and children are living in a stressful environment.
How to Ease Parental Anxiety?
It is okay to accept that you are fearful. Every parent is concerned for their child’s safety. Once you acknowledge your fears, you can think clearly about where your fear is coming from. You can analyse the risk factors better.
You can learn more about the facts. For instance, you can talk to the school administrators regarding safety measures in school. You can talk to your spouse about the child’s safety.
Parent Support Groups
Talk to your friends or family who are parents. They can help you ease your anxiety. You can also take the help of online support groups for your concerns. Talking can also help you ease your fears.
Face Your Fears
To ease parental anxiety, it is important to face your fears. When you try to conquer your fear, you will understand that some of them were irrational. For instance, while teaching your child to bicycle, you can provide them with all the safety gear. You don’t have to hover over them because that way they will never learn. You can let them go once in a while. Children need to learn about hurt and fear, This makes them independent. We can ease parental anxiety when we see the children doing well themselves.
Get Professional Help
If the worry about a child’s safety is getting the best of you then it is a good move to seek professional help. You can speak to a counselor for personal concerns related to mental health. They can help parents understand the source of their anxiety and this will eventually ease parental anxiety. Sometimes parents can get a burn out looking after their children constantly. In this situation, parents can neglect their own needs as well as a child’s needs. You can also seek help from family members for childcare whenever you feel over-worried.
Engage in activities that help you relieve stress. 10-15 mins of cardio or aerobic exercises can help to shake off any kind of stress and ease parental anxiety. If you are worried about your child’s safety, some time in a day can help you a lot in the long run. To ease parental anxiety, it is important to give time to yourself. During this time you can introspect and also find out what bothers you regarding the child’s safety. This time also allows you to ease parental anxiety because here you are focused on yourself and not the child.
Discussion with Your Spouse
If you are worried about your child’s safety, you can discuss with your spouse to analyze the potential safety risks. You both can take concrete steps to eliminate those risks. You can also teach the child to protect themselves. For instance, you can give them swimming lessons to learn how to swim.
These concrete steps can reduce ambiguity and help you feel a little safer. This can also potentially ease your parental anxiety.
Remember to look after yourself. Take deep breaths in and out when you feel anxious. Keep reminding yourselves that children need some space too. They need their privacy and independence. No child likes a nosy parent. They must learn important lessons of life on their own sometimes. This makes them resilient too.
Finally, if you are worried a lot about the child’s safety and cannot concentrate on other aspects at all, check out our courses and articles at Epsychonline on anxiety and worries. The courses are curated by experts to help you learn how to handle your worries. They can help you ease parental anxiety. Do check them out.