Sunday, January 2, 2011

Anxiety and Kids

This isn't about anxiety in children, it's about having an anxiety issue when you have children. I've struggled with extreme anxiety pretty much my whole life and having children has increased it tenfold. If you have issues with this then you know how bad it sucks and how hard it is to deal with, even with medication.

One of the biggest fears I have is something happening to my kids. That's a normal fear for any parent, but my fear exists far outside of the normal range. This creates a big problem when your children are pushing your buttons. I'm loud. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm loud. When I get mad, I get louder, so for me it's pretty much a yell. I might not even be trying to yell, but any increase in my normal tone sounds like a yell. My oldest son is starting a phase where he has a serious attitude with me all the time. It's snotty and rude and I really don't like it. So when he does it, I get louder. But this makes me feel bad. Honestly, and sort of punishment or discipline (yelling isn't all I do) makes me feel bad. I know I have to do it to keep from having horrible kids...but I hate it. Only, I think I hate it more than most people because of the anxiety. I find myself backing down and apologizing far more than I should because of my insane fears of something happening to them.

So while our day today was really good, one watched a movie none of the rest of us like while I cut coupons and helped the other make a toiler paper tube circus, it ended with me getting upset because they would not stop talking in their beds. This of course sent me into a panic about something happening to them while they sleep and immediately apologizing to them.

So, any overly anxious parents have suggestions on how to discipline your kids so they don't turn into brats while you deal with your own panic?


  1. Since I don't have kids yet, I can't really give advice, but I just wanted to say reading your reactions reminds me of my sister, who wants to start having kids soon after getting married this year. She has always had anxiety issues, too, and I know she'll be dealing with some of these same fears. Let us know if you figure anything out that helps!

  2. I have really bad anxiety my entire life. I understand where you are coming from completely. My oldest is 9 now and it was hard in the beginning trying to balance reality from fiction. Fiction in the sense that everything and anything could happen to my child. What I found works best is to step back and push the anxiety down. When it starts to crawl up. Stop what you are doing and say what are the chances.

    Kids need discipline, they actually thrive on rules and consistent order. Coming from 10 kids, I know that we didn't have a lot of rules and follow through and this lead to a lot of the anxiety that I have today.

    So to discipline, do it. Your kids are amazing and need you to be the strong parental role, which is super hard to do when you are battling your own demons. The point, yes I do have one (lol), is that you can't let them see your anxiety, especially when you are commanding a household.

  3. Thanks for your input, you're right and I do try hard not to let them see my fears. I let them do so many things I would never try myself because of my fears. It does creep up from time to time though and it's tough to battle.

    Renee I obviously don't have much advice, but I will say that once she has kids be on the lookout for post-postpartum depression. Not that she's any more likely to have it than someone without anxiety issues, but the two things can go hand in hand.

  4. Thanks for the heads-up!

    I also agree with the other commenter that healthy discipline is good for kids, and even desired by them. They know that you care, and can also provide structure.

    It seems like you are at least aware when your anxieties creep in, so that's a good start to knowing when your reaction is based on fear and is possibly an over-reaction.