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(p. 51) Common Pitfalls in Parenting an Anxious Child 

(p. 51) Common Pitfalls in Parenting an Anxious Child
Chapter:
(p. 51) Common Pitfalls in Parenting an Anxious Child
Author(s):

Eli R. Lebowitz

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190883522.003.0004
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date: 25 January 2021

This chapter describes some common pitfalls in parenting an anxious child and ways to avoid them. Many of these traps and pitfalls can be loosely categorized as either “protective” or “demanding,” which are broad categories of beliefs and behaviors, and each can be expressed in many different ways. The first category is that of protection, which covers thoughts and behaviors that center on the goal of protecting the child from harm or distress. Taking on the role of protector for the child, when a danger is not present, can convey to the child that they are in need of protection, making them feel less safe and more vulnerable. The second category is that of demanding. Demanding is when the parents expect the child not to feel anxious, or to be able to act as though they are not, despite the very real anxiety they are feeling. Demanding has an important limitation that makes it almost entirely unhelpful when dealing with child anxiety. When a demand the parents make is not met, they often respond with frustration or anger because they feel helpless to enforce the demand or undermined by the lack of compliance. This can lead to conflict and hostility.

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