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Anxious Parents Anxious Kids-Managing Holiday Stress

 

Anxious Parents Anxious Kids

 

I know for a fact anxiety is inherited from your parents, my parents are both anxious and my brothers and I all have some degree of anxiety as well. Anxious parents must learn to manage their anxiety efficiently to be good examples for their kids, my father and mother both experienced anxiety and managed their anxiety very different from one another. My father became angry with anxiety when I was a boy and took tantrums, my mother became quiet and avoided my father and situations which made her anxious.Growing up I managed my anxiety with physical activities to burn my anxiety away, this worked for me until in my 30’s when a physical illness took my one and only anxiety coping skill away. After that I kind of adopted both of my parents bad coping skills, I would avoid my fears and get angry depending on the situation.

 

 Anxious Parents & Holidays

 

I can not remember one holiday during my childhood which was a happy experience, every holiday as a boy ended up with my parents arguing about something. Living in a family with chronic anxiety is not a happy childhood, anxiety and Christmas do not go well together. My parents was not a good match as a couple, one year my parents had a major argument over when to put the Christmas tree up. It seems to me my parents were triggers for each other’s anxiety, how does a kid learn to manage his anxiety issues when his parents are such bad examples?

 

My Mother And Anxiety

 

My mother did her best to protect us children from our own anxiety, she would reassure us everything would work out for the best. She went out of her way  planning to avoid the things which made us anxious, even though my mother was doing what she felt was best for us she actually was causing us to experience more anxiety issues. By a teenager I developed social anxiety, I did not attend many family activities such as weddings and funerals. School was much the same, I hated going to school everyday. I did not attend school activities and avoided field trips whenever possible. This is what caused me to experience severe social anxiety, the fear from anxiety to be in social situations is one of the most difficult anxiety disorders for people to overcome.

 

My Father And Anxiety

 

My father was not home very much by the time I reached my teens, he started working steady night shift to avoid being home with his family. Like many people with anxiety he buried himself in his work, this was his way to manage his anxiety. This was the best choice for our family, at least there was much less arguing with my father working at nights and sleeping during the day. Even though this did stop  the arguing, it did not make the holidays any better. My parents still found something to argue about every holiday, this did cause me to experience depression during the holidays.

 

Image result for family holiday arguing

 

The Anxious Child’s Symptoms

 

As you can imagine my childhood was not a very happy one, even worse when the holidays started to get close I could feel my anxiety becoming more severe. It got to the point just knowing my parents would both be home together on the holidays was a trigger for my childhood anxiety, even though I was home for the holidays with my family I always felt very lonely during the Christmas holiday. My younger brothers were not as anxious as myself, I think the reason is they did not experience the arguments as often as I did since my father was home much less by the time they were born. I am often amazed my parents got along well enough to have four children, I can not remember one holiday my parents got along and we were a happy family.

 

Clingy

Crying

Tantrums

Separation Anxiety

Extreme Shyness

Avoids Social Situations

Constant Worrying

Avoid New Situations

Headaches & Stomach Aches

Panic Attacks

 

Image result for family holiday arguing

 

Anxiety Facts

 

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns for adults and  children, 20% of children and teens experience anxiety with a high enough severity it controls their lives. Physician’s often misdiagnose anxiety in children and teens, many children and teens become labeled as lazy students or trouble makers.

 

Long-term anxiety most often leads to depression, people experience a loss of enjoyment in their life. Missed opportunities in career and relationships common with people experiencing chronic anxiety and depression, number one reason for substance abuse.

 

Make your goals to learn how to manage your anxiety and depression, avoiding things which increase your symptoms is not going to help you live with your anxious feelings and thoughts. Have positive and realistic expectations especially during the holidays, listen to your children’s fears and feelings but do not reinforce them.

 

 What Is On My Mind Today?

 

I wrote this article from my own experience with anxiety and depression during the holidays, the holidays people often are more anxious and learning how to manage your anxiety is very important for your family to enjoy their holidays together. Even though my mother did her best to raise us children, she pretty much raised us on her own. My father supported us financially which is a very important responsibility, but missing my father during the holidays in a positive and happy mood always made the holidays a depressing time for me. The best thing parents can do for their anxious children is avoid arguing in front of them, this is a very emotional experience for a child. Parents best way to help their children with anxiety and depression is to be a good example by learning to managing their own anxiety and depression, by doing this they will be teaching their children how to manage their own anxiety and depression much more efficiently.

 


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