Parents, especially new parents, are known for being endearingly worrisome creatures. Is the baby warm enough? Hungry? Sick? Hurt? Happy? Healthy? We love our children like we've never loved anyone or anything, so the stakes are pretty high. But where does one draw the line between "worry" and "anxiety"? And are there parenting behaviors that cause anxiety?
Usually, it's not that specific behaviors cause anxiety in and of themselves. Instead, and more often than not, anxiety occurs as the result of various factors. The behaviors described can contribute to, rather than cause, anxiety. Or a behavior may act as a catalyst for anxiety. But it's rarely as simple as one issue causing anxiety.
But for all this, anxiety is not rare. Everyone experiences some anxiety, per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Anxiety disorders, however, are marked by someone being unable to stop worrying, to the point that it interferes with their ability to function or perform every day activities. Approximately 18% of the adult population of the United States — a staggering 40 million people — suffer from anxiety disorders, according to NAMI data. While there are a number of different anxiety disorders, each with a unique set of symptoms, as a group they are defined by "persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening."
Romper spoke with Dr. Venus Mahmoodi, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Seleni Institute with a specialization in perinatal mental health, to discuss parenting behaviors (and situations) that may contribute to one's personal anxiety: