Parents Anxiety about Child’s Health - How to Deal With It?

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M.sc
Last updated date : August 24, 2022

Are you worried about your child’s health? Do you feel that something is wrong with your child? Do you fear for their health? As parents, it is normal to have some anxiety about your child’s health. But if this feeling becomes too much, then you need to work on reducing it.

Are you worried about your child’s health? Do you feel that something is wrong with your child? Do you fear for their health? As parents, it is normal to have some anxiety about your child’s health. But if this feeling becomes too much, then you need to work on reducing it.

Chapter 1:
What Is Parental Anxiety?

Parents tend to worry about their child’s health and have anxiety about the child’s well-being. This fear or worry can be about a variety of things.

  • Parents are worried about their child’s physical health. For example, they want their child to have the best nutrition and diet. And so, they worry about what the child is eating. Kids tend to be very picky about what they eat. So, they might not consume certain food groups at all. This can cause severe nutrient deficiency. For example, children might not eat green leafy vegetables or fruits. This can cause vitamin and fiber deficiency which can give rise to several health issues.
  • They are concerned about the physical strength of their child. Typically, parents encourage their child to play a sport with the idea that it will help the child stay fit. Also, due to lockdown across the globe, children have been staying indoors for the past 2 years. Most outdoor sports were not available and so, kids might have lost interest in playing any type of sport.
  • Nowadays because screen time has increased due to staying indoors during COVID times, parents fear that their child has a become screen addict. Many kids are hooked to the screen. They spend all their free time watching something or the other on their mobile, tab, or laptop screens. This can be quite concerning for the parents. Children refuse to turn off their screens and interact with people. They prefer spending time alone with their screens rather than playing with other children. Parents might be highly worried about this trend as it is going to affect the mental and physical health of the kids.
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Chapter 2:
Why Do Parents Have Anxiety about Their Child's Health?

There are several reasons why a parent might be worried about their child’s health. Some of the reasons are –

Importance to materialistic things –

Parents have high anxiety about their child’s health because we live in a very competitive world. Even young kids are too bothered about how they are doing compared to others. They are concerned with things that should not matter to them at such a young age. For example, they are concerned with how “smart” they are in comparison to their peers. A young girl may want to be “beautiful”. She wants to “look the best” and would try her best to do so.

Also, the way kids think about “what they should have” has changed. For example, having the latest video game, the costliest gadget, the most expensive dress, branded shoes, etc. have all become a must and point of self-esteem for kids today. The constant social comparison makes them feel very vulnerable. Parents’ anxiety about their child’s health will be high. As most parents might not be able to fulfill these constant demands all the time.

Competition with the world –

These days kids are under a lot of mental pressure to outshine others. They need to prove themselves from a very early stage of life. It might look like they are up against the world. This competition with the world and the need to be the best can cause more harm than good. Parents are worried about how the child will cope with such pressures and have anxiety about how all this will affect their child’s health.

This pressure is present everywhere. Parents and kids both can feel it and need to deal with it. For example, a young boy wants to win every competition. He feels that only then he will become a “good swimmer”. He feels that losing is not an option and that he loses even one race, then he is a failure. This is not possible for every kid all the time. Doing something just for fun and because you like it is losing its appeal.

Too much on their plate –

For most kids, there is too much on their plate, i.e., they are doing more than they can handle. Their schedules are too tight. Many times parents tend to do this so the child is busy all day and they do not have to “spend time” or “take care” of the child. Parents are busy with their own life and work and might not want to spend their time and energy on the children.

Also, parents do not want that their child does not get what he wants. Parents worry about not giving the best possible options and opportunities to the kids. So, they go overboard in what they do. Parents go overboard in their expectations and hence, their anxiety about the child’s well-being, health, success, achievement, etc. as well.

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Chapter 3:
How Can Parents Reduce Anxiety about Their Child's Health?

Parents are the pillars of support and the guiding light for their kids. But before they can do that role, parents need to manage their anxiety about their child’s health and well-being. In order to do so, here are some easy tips that parents can follow –
  • You need to relax first! If you want to support and help your child, then you need to first calm down and take control of your emotions. Try to focus on yourself first. You need to understand that this is not some minor injury that you can just put a bandage on it and it will get better. You cannot fix these issues especially anxiety in a day. So, do not look for some quick-fix solution.
  • You need to plan to make some long-term changes in your thinking and behavior. For example, you will have to replace your anxiety-creating thoughts with some self-assuring and encouraging thoughts. Also, every time you start to panic, you need some way to reduce this panic. Parents need to develop ways to cope with the anxiety they feel about the child’s health.
  • You can start some
  • simple relaxation and deep breathing exercises as a part of your daily routine. Make them a part of your day. You will need to engage in these exercises when you panic or start feeling anxious.
  • Challenge your negative thoughts. Think about what is the worst thing that can happen and how you will be able to deal with it. You will find solutions for it and this can boost your confidence about being able to deal with anything. Thus, things will stop scaring you.
What to do next?
  If you are interested in knowing more about how to deal with your anxiety and take better care of yourself and your family, then do visit our “Courses” page. You will find many helpful courses such as DBT for social anxiety or Low esteem, that you can take up.