Better Parenting 101: From An Anxious To A Confident Parent
Becoming a parent is one of the happiest moments of our life. Those tiny hands take our hearts away before we even know it. Our children become our entire world. There is nothing beyond and above them. Isn’t it?
Well, that’s the initial stage. In most parents anxiety starts to keep in after the baby grows up a little. There are also people who begin to feel anxious when they first hear about their pregnancy. Bringing up a child in the best way possible is not as easy as it might seem.
Most of you must be anxious about your role as a parent. “Am I a good mother/father?” This question lingers in a lot of minds. It is human to be worried because bringing up a child is a huge responsibility. Letting that worry overpower you is not right.
The worst of it all is when our children begin to pick up our anxiety. We don’t want that for them. Hence, to solve this problem I have some tried and tested strategies. These strategies will help you in reducing anxiety and becoming more and more confident.
Here’s how to help a parent with anxiety….
Physical strategies to reduce anxiety in parents
Anxiety is something that you must have felt or seen around you. It’s not an alien concept. If you are aware of it, why not deal with it headfirst? You know how it feels! You know it is not good for you or your family.
I am giving you some physical strategies to reduce parental anxiety. Try them out to see the difference. Practice them when you begin to feel anxious:
1. Breathing exercises
There are many breathing exercises that you can do. If you have any favorites, now is the time to use them. If not, diaphragmatic breathing can be very helpful in reducing parental anxiety.
Breathe (deep) in through your nose, let the air fill your stomach. Hold your breath for a few seconds and breathe it out through your mouth. Do this few times and trust me those butterflies in your stomach will be gone in no time.
2. Grounding with sense
Use your senses to ground yourself. Try using all 5 of your senses at once. This will keep you grounded, you can be in the moment. This will help in reducing the anxiety since it will take you away from the trigger.
Pick up things that you can eye, smell, touch, hear and taste. Explore each in terms of similarities or contracts. Basically, revolve your thoughts around your senses. This will pull you away from the negative thoughts.
3. Progressive muscle relaxation
This is a technique in which you purposely tense and relax certain muscles in order to achieve complete relaxation. You might be holding tension in various parts of your body and this way you can easily release tension.
Begin with your hands, clench them, and hold for a few seconds, then release. Slowly move on to your stomach, legs and finally your toes. Squeeze in – hold – relax. Do this a few times and all will no longer be an anxious mother/father.
It’s as simple as it sounds. The anxiety will not go away if the body is tense. So shift your focus to relaxing your body. We have all been stretching. We know how it’s done, so let’s release all the stored tension.
Raise your hands, bend over, lean side to side or pull your legs. Do whatever suits you best. The aim should be relaxing the muscles so that anxiety can be decreased.
That’s how you can successfully reduce anxiety but what should you do to gain confidence? Being a confident parent is equally important, so here’s what you can do….
Cognitive Strategies to Build Confidence in an Anxious Parent
Confidence is hugely related to anxiety in parents. Whenever you run low in confidence anxiety is sure to kick in.
Here are a few things you can try to maintain a good level of confidence or boost it when you are running low.
5. Positive self-talk
Get the confidence from within, don’t wait for external validation. How we choose to talk to ourselves matters because that can shape or shake our confidence. So be kind to yourself.
It’s okay if you have made a mistake because that’s how you learn. Tell yourself that you have the power to handle anything that comes your way. I can do it no matter how tough the time can be.
Experts have said that our brain finds it hard to differentiate between an imagination and recalling a real incident. So, use it to your advantage. Even when you imagine behaving in a confident manner can boost your confidence.
Whenever your confidence begins to sink, refocus your thoughts. Think of all the goals you have set and all the achievements you have already made. Focus on productive thoughts so that your confidence can stay intact.
Even crossing the smallest of milestones in an achievement so be proud of it. You are doing the best you can and that’s enough.
Also read: Parenting Tips for Children With Anxiety: How To Help Children With Anxiety
I hope you make use of all these strategies because firstly, they can be very helpful. Secondly, they will definitely reduce the anxiety you have being a parent. Thirdly, this way your transition can be smooth and successful.
Be the person you are because you are the best your child can have. Practice these strategies so that you can reduce parental anxiety. Don’t let your anxiety affect your child.
I hope this article helps you shift to being a confident parent rather than being an anxious parent.
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Take care and stay safe!