We may not notice it but most parents can’t help but accommodate child anxiety. More and more people have been raising mental health awareness. This leads most adults to be more mindful of their actions towards people and their kids.
However, parents who constantly accommodate their child’s anxiety can pose risks and negatively influence them.
When Did We Start Accommodating Child Anxiety?
Parents can discover strategies that strengthen their children’s resilience and ability to cope. This especially applies to times of global uncertainty and stress. Fostering resilience and self-regulation in children is better than accommodating your child’s anxiety.
Unfortunately, a vast part of parenting philosophies in the media confuse most parents. It is an exceedingly difficult endeavour for parents to decide which strategies to employ.
In truth, a poor parenting approach poses risks to children. Concerning this, anxiety is one of the two most common mental health disorders among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anxiety affects 1 in 11 children aged 3-17.
Nationwide surveys indicate that the prevalence of anxiety among children significantly increased before the pandemic. Afterwards, anxiety rates in children across the globe doubled. Anxiety in young people can be caused by a variety of factors. Social isolation, a lack of genuine contacts, social media use, and news exposure are all issues at play.
Things You Need to Know About Parental Accommodation
When it comes to child anxiety, we parents can’t help but accommodate our kids. Parental accommodation happens when we change our behaviour to relieve their distress. We start to disregard our emotional needs to alleviate our children’s stress. Unfortunately, this causes our kids to become reliant on us as we suppress our feelings.
We can relate child anxiety with commonly related other mental illnesses such as anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The majority of parents of youth with these disorders report engaging in accommodating behaviour. Additionally, most of them accommodate their kids at least once a day.
Here are some scenarios in which you might be accommodating your kid’s anxiety:
- Always let your kids refuse your encouragement of engaging in sports or activities outside your home.
- Constantly speaking in public for your kid.
- Allowing your child to stay at home instead of joining extracurricular activities at school.
- Getting rid of the things that your kid dislikes.
The acts mentioned above all fall under accommodation. Continuously practising these situations may result in worsening your kid’s anxiety. They may also become spoiled and reliant on you.
As parents, we can’t help but do the mentioned acts because we want to prioritise our kids’ comfort. However, constant child accommodation may result in:
- Our kids becoming fearful of meeting new people like visitors at home
- Never having confidence in speaking their mind
- Inability in completing tasks by themselves
Why Do Parents Accommodate?
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Parents accommodating their children is understandable. It is typically well-intentioned behaviour that can occur for many reasons.
Parents, you must be capable of protecting your children from any harm or danger. This kind of protection is a healthy and normal part of parenting, especially when the real threat is present. However, you must also watch yourself from being overprotective.
Accommodating brings relief
Some parents experience stress when observing their children experience negative emotional states. Concerning this, parental accommodation can provide relief not just to the kids but also to their parents.
Parents personal histories
Several parents may also accommodate because of their own personal histories and belief systems. Some parents have experienced harsh discipline as a child. As a result, they were fearful and uncomfortable applying behaviour management strategies themselves. They may falsely equate discipline with abuse.
Some parents subscribe to the view that they should always strive to make their kids happy and comfortable. Some parents see their role as one in which they are responsible for extinguishing negative emotions. They tend to hold the belief that anxiety is harmful to their child.
The Risks of Accommodating Child Anxiety
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With everything we mentioned, you probably realised how you accommodate your child’s anxiety. To avoid the negative influence, we must address the risks involved.
Risks in Children
Children with anxiety can throw meltdowns and tantrums and sometimes display aggressive behaviours. These could be the result when they anticipate and try to escape the fearful situation. Family accommodation feeds the negativity of child anxiety. It is linked to more severe symptoms and a poorer response to treatment.
A study has shown to promote greater reliance on parents and less development of independent coping skills. Parental accommodation may prevent children from gaining insight and healthy perceptions of difficult situations. It could impose on children that situations are hard, too dangerous, or the child is incapable.
Risks in Parents
Parents might experience both guilt and anxiety watching their child cry. It happens specifically when they set a limit or tell their child no. If accommodation has been a fixture in a home for a long time, changes in parenting behaviours affect your child. It can lead to a more intense child response as they adjust to new expectations.
Parents must keep in mind that getting uncomfortable is just normal. The only way to get past an emotion is to let yourself experience it.
This article was republished with permission from theAsianparent Singapore.
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