Undying Love Or Parental Anxiety:
If you’re a parent of an adolescent, you might be familiar with the nature of conflict and communication that defines daily life. In our attempts to understand our teens and do what’s best for them, we often overlook their emotional needs.
We have love for our children. We also have anxiety about their future. The problem is that our children only ask us for love, but we give them our anxiety too. As a result, we start inserting negative thoughts into their heads too.
What if they fall down while riding their bikes, what if they get involved with the wrong crowd? etc etc. It’s important to remember that our anxieties are our responses to the choices we see them making. Our insecurities also stem from our need to always be in control of things related to them.
How To Identify Anxiety In Children:
Coping with stress, managing personal physical and mental hygiene, negotiating and resolving conflicts with siblings, balancing online and offline lives – the list of skills a child needs to transform into a successful adult are endless.
Sometimes conflict arises at home for a child. Anxiety comes with the uncertainty of new circumstances that both parents and growing children face. Anxiety arises when both the parent and child refuse to see the other’s point of view.
As they enter middle school, children are eager to meet peer expectations. Sometimes peer expectations can be in direct conflict with parental expectations. What is cool with his peers might be an absolute no no for a child’s parent.
Unresolved conflicts become barriers to learning for children especially if they fail to see other viewpoints in arguments. In such cases, their perspective becomes one-sided and it manifests in unwanted behaviors like disobedience and disagreements.
Get Out Of The Way:
Covid is making us all spend a little too much time with our families, and that too stuck at home. If you find yourself as parent worried about how your kids are spending their online time, perspective helps.
Just as much as you’re worrying about taking care of them, children are equally anxious about not letting their parents down. So voice your ideas and ask them their opinions and how we can all continue living sanely under one roof until this is over.
If mindfulness brings your anxiety, and fear levels down, for your child it might be hanging out on Discord with his friends for an hour. Whatever it is, understanding the alternative angle helps in such cases of trust and expectations. And the shift can happen when we understand how to respond to their behaviors and actions.
Being Mindful About Our Anxiety:
One of the most important things we can learn as parents is to master our own stress and anxiety. Children pick up easily on our anxieties and insecurities. Having no rational explanations for the way we’re conducting ourselves around them will leave them confused and stressed.
First, we need to understand that the ambiguity and uncertainty we feel is not a reflection of our parenting style. It’s not a reflection of our parenting ability or competence. Also, it’s important to remember that stress and anxiety are also not related to the abilities and competencies of your child as a good student, or a daughter or son.
It’s a normal part of growth. It’s a normal part of changes that we experience as we evolve each day.
Also, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent, child or family. We’re all at different stages of our growth, we’re all work in progress. Because of which we don’t have to judge ourselves so critically. Just accept growth and change as a part of life. Now work towards removing the anxiety feeling which you experience while looking at your child. Just see him for who he or she is.
Examples Of How To Manage Situations:
The most important thing we can do is to understand the things that we can and can’t control.
We must understand that anxiety and worry comes from the sense of powerlessness we feel about the things that we can’t control and make any better. We must then learn to live with what you cannot control.
Here are three examples of how we think about situations.
1: I can help my child prepare for the exam, but in the end, can’t control how well he or she performs.
2: I can help my child with his college application, but I cannot control what the outcome will be from those colleges.
3: I can talk to my child about relationships, but I can’t control the relationship choices he or she will make.
Now we can focus on the things that we can control and learn how to effectively resolve them.
The above thoughts can be reevaluated as:
1: I’ve tried having a conversation with him, and I’ve a sense that maybe he will understand my point of view.
2: Well, in the end, my child might end up making a bad choice, but I’m there for him to support him.
3: He’s having this relationship because it’s part of his changing choices and his normal growth pattern.
How To Empower Ourselves?
We often mistake our anxieties and worries as a demonstration of our love for our children. We easily get into arguments with them arguing that we’re doing what we’re doing for their own wellbeing.
American parenting is into affirmations and providing nurture for all the things right about their child. Asian parenting tends to focus heavily on what areas need improvement. But, in the end, we all want what’s best for our child wellbeing and optimal growth in all facets of life. After all, we’ve survived our own imperfect childhood, so let’s believe our children will too.
We don’t evaluate what we want for our children vs. what’s best for them. Sometimes, there can be long term benefits to their self-confidence even if it means short term blindness towards their minor infractions. Show that you have faith in them and that it will all work out in the end.
Let’s begin by balancing two schools of thought:
- Pulling them up for their strengths.
- Supporting and being there for them for their weaknesses.