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(p. 43) Is Your Child’s Anxiety Taking Over Your Family? 

(p. 43) Is Your Child’s Anxiety Taking Over Your Family?
Chapter:
(p. 43) Is Your Child’s Anxiety Taking Over Your Family?
Author(s):

Eli R. Lebowitz

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190883522.003.0003
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date: 17 April 2021

This chapter addresses child anxiety in the family context, starting with the myth that parents cause anxiety problems in their children. The idea that parents are responsible for children’s emotional and behavioral problems stems in large part from inaccurate assumptions about human development; outdated psychological theories; misunderstandings of research on the links between parental behavior and childhood disorders; and an incorrect interpretation of family dynamics. On the other hand, a child’s anxiety problem is likely to have an impact on the parents and on the rest of the family. The reason that childhood anxiety, more than other problems, can have such a large impact on parents is that when a child is feeling anxious, they look to their parents to help them feel better. But why are anxious children so reliant on parents? The reason has to do with the very nature of anxiety in humans. The natural tendency of the child to look to the parents for protection and reassurance when feeling worried, scared, or stressed is essentially hardwired into the human brain.

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