Anxiety in children caused by parental attitudes

Symptoms of anxiety is very frequent in childhood and adulthood as well. Often the reasons are connected to childhood and to understand them can help to increase anxiety but also not repeating the same mistakes as a parent.

anxietyicebergORIGINAL

Source of anxiety can be when a child “learns” that she/he can get love from the parents just by accomplishment. If the child got compliments and kindness just when she/he has got good grades or could have filled up the parents expectations, can develop accomplishment compulsion and the sense of insecurity. This kind of parental behaviour makes the child believe, she/he must do things for being loved and just by being herself/himself is not able to be loved. The same happens also if the child experiences love deprivation as a reaction of the parent for doing mistakes or having defects.

Secrets in the family also cause anxiety in children and often can be instrumental in a development of personality disorders. When a family or one of the parent keeps a secret (can be the child involved-worse) even if the child doesn’t know about it gives a feeling, something is wrong. Children and their negatively changed behaviour or their changed accomplishment in school is the first and most accurate sign of something is going wrong in the family. They are able to sense it. I often ask my clients to see objectively, what kind of changes they can see on their children, because they act like a mirror, showing exactly what the problem is. Like keeping secrets, parents lose being authentic and trustful and that can influence their children’s feeling of security or they become arrogant, showing that parents have lost their position being honest and authentic, so they are weak. Keeping secrets also can make children feel shame as well. So unlogical how so many parents teach their children for the importance of being honest but they don’t act according to their own lessons.

Rigid hard and fast rules and belief system. Consistent parental behaviour provides security for the child but too rigid and strict rules can mean very strong restrictions which can hinder the development of internal control and scale of values of the child. Children can develop a mindset which is connected to external control, compulsion of conformity and a rigid way of thinking where there is an internal insecurity behind. These children can see things and people just in black or white, their mind is not opened for another “category”.

Interchange of roles happens mainly after a trauma or crises, like divorce, absence of one of the parents, serious sickness or death. But also can happen if one or both of the parents are emotionally immature. In this interchange the child takes more responsibility physically and emotionally, more than supposed to do. Learns to repress or overshadow own emotions and needs, develops a very strong and rigid self-control which also can be a source of anxiety.

Repressing emotions. If expressing emotions is prohibited for a child, he/she learns to hide them. That doesn’t mean they disappear but after a while just to experience that having or feel those negative emotions can cause sense of guilt, shame or discomfort in the child. There are families where to express anger or sadness is prohibited. Which doesn’t make any sense, because we are human and have negative emotions as well. But those parents instead of teaching their children how to handle those negative emotions, ordering them to repress it. Repressed anger works under the surface, doesn’t matter how deep it’s delved.

Over-protecting, over attentive attitude. None of the parents think they might be over-protective or having over-attentive attitude because they are the pledge of being a good parent, normal acting like that. Of course protecting our children is one of the main obligations as a parent till a certain level. If parents are over-protective they prevent their children to develop a well-functioning physical and mental immune system by experiences. If they don’t let the child to climb a tree or having adventures, skills won’t develop or if they protect him/her from every conflict, this child in adulthood will be without useful knowledge or experience in conflict situations. Over-protecting attitude also transmits another message, which is the world is a dangerous place.

Before you get angry for your own parents or starting panicking how you are a “bad” parent you need to know that serious damages caused by more causes in the same time or one or two for a long time period. What to do? The solution like almost all the time is getting a proper and detailed self-knowledge. When we understand ourselves, we understand our actions and understand others.

Delphi oracle: Know thyself!

Picture: http://www.gozen.com

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