When your child is scared as a parent you naturally try to provide comfort but new research shows some reactions may actually make feelings of anxiety worse in the long run.
The study out of Arizona State University included 70 children, ages 6 to 16, who were being treated for anxiety. All completed questionnaires and clinical interviews. After analyzing the data, the researchers found that their parents often fell into what they call the protection trap offering reassurance, taking control by telling the child what to do, how to behave and what to say and allowing avoidance of uncomfortable situations by making excuses. The end result according to the researchers, temporary relief that actually enables anxiety when a child realizes they receive positive attention for the behaviors. Parents may also inadvertently be sending the message that there is something to worry about, which may increase fear.
So what’s a mom or dad to do? The team recommends being supportive, helping kids face their fears themselves and giving them positive attention when they do something brave.
I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help keep your family healthy.