Fotolia

10 Things Parents Of Really Anxious Kids Are Tired Of Hearing

By
Share
Ad failed to load

When you're a parent, everyone is a critic and has advice, whether you ask for it or want to hear it. When your child has different needs and abilities, the advice never stops. From diets and drugs to insults and observations, there are so many things parents of really anxious kids are tired of hearing.

Two of my kids have anxiety. I think all kids do to a certain extent, but when anxiety starts to interfere with their sleep, schoolwork, and social lives, it's time to get some professional help. Fortunately, researchers and health care providers are examining why and how some kids experience anxiety, including; trauma, mental illness, attention deficit disorders, and more. As they discover answers, they have also learned evidence-based ways to help anxious children cope, function, and thrive in a world that doesn't always take kids' fears and worries seriously.

My kids aren't broken, they're just different. It's not my fault (or their fault) that they have anxiety, and they can't just "snap out of it." Please stop telling me what I should do or what I am doing wrong. Instead, trust me when I say, "I've got this," and stop saying the following. Parents of really anxious kids are tired of hearing it.

Ad failed to load

"What's Wrong With Them?"

There's nothing wrong with her. She has an anxiety disorder. Sometimes things are hard for her that are easier for others. Sometimes she does unexpected things, and sometimes she gets anxious or scared.

That's not "wrong." It's different.

"Can You Fix Them?"

giphy

She's. Not. Broken. There's nothing wrong with my kid. Having anxiety (or any mental illness or behavioral condition) doesn't make her broken. It's who she is. I certainly try to help her cope, calm down, and function through situations that likely feel impossible to her, but I don't expect her to be your version of normal in an attempt to make you feel better.

"There's Nothing To Be Afraid Of"

Keep telling yourself that. There's tons of things we should be afraid of. An anxious child needs someone to comfort and cheer him or her on through the hard stuff, help them stay or get calm, and hold their hand along the way. They certainly doesn't need someone to invalidate or mock their real fears, no matter how irrational they seem to someone else.

Ad failed to load

"Have You Tried...?"

giphy

I don't want to hear about gluten free diets, eliminating red dye, medications, or relaxation techniques. Unless I ask, I don't want to hear your thoughts. I rely on her doctor and therapist for treatments, based in science and customized to her. Leave this up to her parents and professionals.

"There's No Way I Would Let My Kid Do That"

Ha. I wish it were that easy. I don't care if you didn't parent your kids that way, or "this wouldn't fly when you were a kid." What do you want me to do? Punish my daughter when she gets anxious or scared? Condition her to put on a smile and do things that are traumatizing? That's abusive. No way.

Besides, we know so much more now about anxiety than we did 20 years ago. I am going to opt for the latest information and strategies, not outdated ideas. Thank you very much.

"It's Your Fault"

giphy

My daughter's anxiety doesn't come from the way I parent her. Now, it may stem from my previous marriage or childhood experiences, but it's certainly not because I don't spank her or because I have an anxiety disorder myself. It's no one's fault, and she deserves parents who love her with her anxiety, and not in spite of it.

Ad failed to load

"It's Just Nerves"

What does that even mean? Why are you diminishing her feelings?

I refuse to diminish my daughter's anxiety. I will occasionally ask her to step outside of her comfort zone, but I know her feelings are real. That's OK.

"Your Kid Shouldn't Be Anxious About That"

giphy

How do you know? Everyone's fears are different. Sometimes they seem rational and other times they may seem completely irrational. That's how fear works.

How would you feel if I suggested that you simply not be afraid of your worst nightmare? For you it might be clowns, spiders or the alt-right. For her, it's timed math exercises, being alone and spelling tests. They all are valid and real.

"Your Kid Could Do It If They Just Tried Harder"

As someone with an anxiety disorder and who has had many panic attacks about seemingly benign things, please just don't with your perception of the level of effort my child is making to fit in and overcome her anxiety. You literally have no idea. She's not lazy. She's anxious. There's a difference. Your comments and judgments are not helpful at all.

Ad failed to load

"You Should Force Your Kid To Face Their Fears"

giphy

Do you want to know where you can shove this idea? Probably not. I will not force my anxious daughter to do something potentially traumatizing to prove a point. Her anxiety is real. It may seem misdirected or silly, but her feelings and fears are real. Her panic attacks and tears are real, too.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}