8 Things a Mom with an Anxious Child Thinks and Wonders About
Hey, mama. Do you have an anxious child? You are seen, your feelings are normal and you are not alone. This article will not tell you the magic way to fix everything. But it will show you that what you think and feel does not make you a bad mom. You have not failed, even if you think you have. It happens, this is a part of life. Yes, it sucks. But you will make it.
You have an anxious child and you don’t know what to do. Why you, why your child? You are stressed to your max and have a million thoughts going through your head. These thoughts that will weigh you down with doubt, maybe even depression.
1. You feel like you have failed at parenting
Your child is so anxious about the littlest things. He won’t even ride a bike for fear that he will get hurt. He won’t even try it. Something you loved to do as a child. Now your child will never know the joy and freedom of riding a bike. He won’t play kickball with the other kids for fear that they will make fun of him. He won’t try new things all out of fear. Maybe, he catastrophizes everything. Well what if I die or what if you die? What if someone breaks into our home? Can I sleep next to you to make sure nothing happens to you?
2. You wonder why you can’t fix it no matter how hard you try
You talk to other moms and ask if they deal with this, of course not. No one really wants to talk about it. No one wants to say something is not quite right with my child. You take him to doctors that tell you to do this or that. None of it works. You try to figure out what calms him down. You think you figured something out because it worked that one time, but it won’t work this time. Now, you feel defeated. You tell him it’s all going to be okay and that it’s going to get better. But are you talking to him or trying to convince yourself?
3. You worry that they will never be normal
Will my child ever be normal? What is normal anyway? Unfortunately, this is normal for your child. All children are different and deal with anxiety differently. Adults are the same way. Some kids can work right through it while others get stuck and freeze. There is no true normal for anyone.
4. You worry they will not make true friends
Your child is already worried that they will be made fun of so they won’t try to engage in activities with others. How will they ever make friends? When they do reach out and make a connection, you worry. Are they going to take advantage of my child?
Let’s say you gave him a phone so he could call you if he needs you. Cool, but other kids might take advantage of that. They see him with a phone that they don’t have and decide I’ll go be nice to him and he will let me use it. The minute he tells them no, they stop talking to him. Then he decides to let them see it just so they will hang out with him again. Your child thinks he has made a friend, but not really. What do you say to your child? You don’t want to crush him, but you also don’t want him to be taken advantage of.
5. What should you do to help
How can I help him? You take him to therapist after therapist. Each one tells you pretty much the same thing. They come up with some diagnosis and give you tips to help them. That is great, but your child is so anxious that he won’t even try these techniques. He doesn’t see how they will help him or he goes from fine to over the edge in two seconds. It’s too late for the coping skills to help him. He has gone into extreme mode. So, you just sit there telling him all the stuff he needs to try, hold him as he cries, or watch him as he paces. Once again feeling defeated.
6. Should I try medicine
The doctors think maybe it’s time for medication. You don’t want your child drugged up all the time. You want him to be able to function without the help of medication. But the more and more this goes on, you decide you will try anything to give your child a chance. You go the medication route. The first one doesn’t really help, but makes him so sleepy that he can’t function. The second works a little better, but still makes him sleepy. You then have to weigh the risks vs benefits. What do you decide? You don’t want to make the wrong choice.
7. How to keep them safe
They are so anxious that they want to end it all. They can’t handle the stress of it anymore and will start experimenting on ways to stop the pain and confusion. Maybe they will start cutting or even attempt to kill themselves. You can be there to try to help them and comfort them, but you can’t ultimately stop it. They have to learn to channel it all for themselves. You can’t just make it stop, no matter how hard you try or what you do.
8. How to help them enjoy life
You try to help them enjoy life. Take them on special trips that interest them. Buy them gifts that they want to make them happy for that moment. You try to give them experiences that they will enjoy and be able to look back on. These are all great, but it may not solve the underlying issue. Just hang in there and keep trying.
Just know that you are not alone. Many parents face this every day. You will continue to try this and try that. Take them to therapy, the psychiatrist, etc. Go pick up their medications, just maybe it will help this time.
There is not a magic cure or answer to any of it. Each person will respond differently to each therapy, medicine, and situation. We are all wired differently. It’s not a one size fits all type of solution.
It may seem like an endless loop, and maybe it is, but all you can do is be there for them. Don’t give up on them. Keep trying every new thing that comes out. You never know when one will work or your child might just snap out of it.
They may not snap out of it, but a mom can always hope, pray, and dream. Just be patient with them and let them know you are there for them. Never let them think you have abandoned them or that they are alone. Keep the faith. It will get better, or at least you will get better at dealing with it. Keep your head up, you are a great mom.
I always wondered why I couldn’t fix every situation my child dealt with. Why, with everything I was doing, was it not working? I would always question why I had to go through this and why my child had to. I felt like a failure as a parent and wondered what I did for God to do this to us.
Then one day a friend told me that I was a great parent and that I was chosen to be his mom because that is who he needed. Some parents would have given up, ignored the situation, or sent him away.
I had never thought about it this way. It actually made perfect sense. I was thinking I had done something horribly wrong while raising him and even though the therapist couldn’t find anything traumatic that happened to him, I thought there had to be something. After my friend told me this, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am the mama he needed.