Anxiety….. what a scary word this has become! Used so often in todays society, even when we talk of young children, which is really concerning. So what does anxiety feel like? Well, there are definitely different levels of anxiety thats for sure. If you think you are feeling anxious about parenting maybe reflect on another time in your life that you felt anxiety or nervousness and try to work out how deep rooted it actually is.

To be honest I don’t think you would be human if you didn’t feel some level of anxiety about being a parent, or concern for your child’s safety and development. I do however think that sometimes we are predisposed to feel anxiety on a larger scale than is necessary or warranted and our body kind of runs the show and we just get swept away in it.

Try and figure out what is the main culprit for your parental anxiety… Is it not trusting your own parenting choices? Is it their safety and wellbeing? Is it parenting across two house-holds if you have a split family? By actually identifying what is causing the most anxiety you have a staring point if you goal is to reduce these feelings. Work with someone if you have to but talking out loud and actually listeneing to anothers advice can often be very helpful in calming things down. Please, please do not bury this feeling.

Next time you have an anxious thought can you ask yourself ‘ Do I really know this thought is true?’ Can I be 100% sure this is a true thought about my child or life?’ It can sometime dull the anxious feeling as you take back control by using your pre-frontal cortex (the part of our brain that allows us to think about our thoughts) and you dampen down the other more primal , fear based parts of your brain that are being triggered by the thoughts you are having.

This may seem very scientific but it actually is not. It’s our right as humans to question our thought. Actually, its more than this; its actually imperative to our health & happiness because our mind will just keep generating thoughts and most of them aren’t super positive…. Lets try and change that!

So firstly, let yourself feel anxious, you love them, its quite normal but then ask yourself if the thoughts are real or imagined and try to become a tad more logical about what is in and out of your control. Give yourself a break to be human and let them be a part of the process. Talk them through what you are thinking so they know. If you don’t tell them, or someone then you will begin to feel like nobody understands you.

One of the greatest gifts P.E.T gave me was the ability to let my guard down around my kids and speak to them like people. Let them in on my feelings, worries, thoughts when it felt right. They need to know this is part of life and I can promise you they will feel more connected to you than ever if you tell them you are not perfect and have worries, doubts too.


Jacqui Bowden