The New Childhood Anxiety Study Every Parent Needs To Read

By ParentTV on 29 Apr 2019
Categories: Mental Health

Parenting is hard. It is even harder when our kids start to show signs that something is wrong with them.

When it comes to helping improve kids behaviour and the soaring issue of managing childhood anxiety, there is growing evidence that us as parents are getting it wrong. We know this might be hard to hear but the only way we can turn this around is to fully understand exactly what is going on.

In fact, our kids are reporting greater levels of anxiety than ever before!

But don’t feel disheartened just yet! There is actually a lot that parents can do to improve their child’s level of anxiety.

But here’s the catch – it’s the parents, not the kids, who are going to have to change.

A study by Yale University has been published in which the parents – not their anxious children – participated in therapy that taught them a new way to respond to their child’s anxiety.

Parents learnt skills to help their kids face their fears instead of protecting them from them. The parents were taught to make their kids feel heard, say things to build their confidence, and teach and support them to tolerate their anxiety and that they don’t need to be rescued from it.

Seventy percent of children with anxiety whose parents participated in the study reported having no anxiety at the study’s end.

“The parent’s own responses are a core and integral part of childhood anxiety,” says Eli Lebowitz, a psychologist at the Yale School of Medicine who conducted the research.

Parents who are continually giving voice to, rescuing and accommodating their kids may think they are doing what’s best, loving and protecting them, but in actual fact, this isn’t helping.

For instance, when a child gets scared about sleeping alone, parents typically do what the child asks and comfort them. In the parent’s mind they are doing the right thing by saying things like, ‘I’m right outside the door’ or ‘Come sleep in my bed.’ As parents we want to do whatever needs to be done to make our children feel less anxious or worried.

But this comforting — something psychologists call accommodation — can actually be counterproductive for children with anxiety disorders, Lebowitz says.

“These accommodations lead to worse anxiety in the child, rather than less anxiety,” he says.

“That’s because the child is always relying on the parents, so kids never learn to deal with stressful situations on their own and never learn they have the ability to cope with these moments.”

“When you provide a lot of accommodation, the unspoken message is, ‘You can’t do this, so I’m going to help you,’ ” he says.

Try Parent TV Free for 30 days

Here at ParentTV we have just released a course for parents trying to help their anxious child, in partnership with Dr Jodie Lowinger of the Sydney Anxiety Clinic.

Parents can learn how to respond to their child’s anxiety and anxious behaviour the right way by signing up to ParentTV for $5.99 per month with your first month FREE. Cancel anytime.

Childhood Anxiety Course by Dr Jodie Lowinger for ParentTV

The course looks at topics including:

The other benefit you get when purchasing access to our anxiety course is access to our entire ParentTV library (over 450 videos and growing) on everything you need to know about raising children who thrive!

Sign up now for your first month FREE (then $5.99 per month) to access the “Anxiety and Our Kids Course” plus everything else you need to know for your parenting journey. Cancel anytime.