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(p. 67) Family Accommodation 

(p. 67) Family Accommodation
Chapter:
(p. 67) Family Accommodation
Author(s):

Eli R. Lebowitz

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780190883522.003.0005
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date: 17 April 2021

This chapter focuses on family accommodation, which is the term used by psychologists to describe the changes that parents make in their own behavior to help their children avoid or lessen feelings of anxiety. The variety of forms that family accommodation can take is limitless, but it can be useful to group these forms into two main categories: (1) participation in anxiety-driven behavior and (2) modification of family routines and schedules. Participation in anxiety-driven behavior occurs when parents are actively engaging in a behavior with the aim of avoiding or reducing the child’s anxiety. These active participation accommodations can take up a significant amount of time each day; they can also be costly. Modification of family routines and schedules happens when parents make changes to the patterns of daily life because of their child’s anxiety. Modification accommodation can impact the entire family; siblings may be impacted as their own needs or plans shift to accommodate their sibling’s anxiety. Over time, accommodations actually can be unhelpful, maintaining rather than reducing the child’s anxiety. An important job for parents of anxious children is to instill in their children the knowledge that they are capable of coping with anxiety. The chapter then differentiates between helpful and unhelpful accommodations. It also addresses why it is difficult for parents not to accommodate.

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