If you are a parent who has been struggling with anxiety and it reflects in your behaviour and actions, you risk passing on the malady to your child.
By Arun Sharma
Anxiety is one of the common human emotions, and at normal levels, prepares us to successfully anticipate and meet challenges. However, the modern-day changes in lifestyle have led to an increase in the levels of anxiety. Excessive levels of anxiety can destabilise an individual and prevent him from functioning properly.
When it comes to anxiety in parents, along with the other drawbacks associated with anxiety, there is also the risk that parents can pass their own anxiety on to their children. Marcy Burstein and Golda S Ginsburg published a study titled, ‘The Effect of Parental Modeling of Anxious Behaviors and Cognitions in School-Aged Children: An Experimental Pilot Study’, in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy (2010). According to them, “Children reported greater levels of anxiety, anxious cognitions, and desired avoidance of the testing situation when their parents modeled anxious behavior and cognitions relative to when they modeled non-anxious behavior and cognitions.”
If you are a parent who suffers from anxiety, read on to understand how your anxiety can adversely affect your child and how to prevent your child from taking on your anxiety.
Children lack the language skills needed to express a complex emotion like anxiety. Yet, some of the ways in which anxiety manifests in children are:
Children learn by observation and experience. When children observe their parents, they tend to absorb their parents’ emotions and mirror it in their own behaviour. Some of the ways through which parents pass on anxiety to their children are:
Parents play a very important role in the emotional development of a child. Overbearing anxiety in a parent can affect a child’s emotional health, and that of the family, in many adverse ways. Therefore, it is important to address this issue at the earliest and manage it in the best possible way.
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