A female in her late twenties who I will call Lorali spoke with me in counseling for severe anxiety that was debilitating her from ever being without her kids. She was trying to protect them so much she thought the only way she could control them not getting hurt was to be with them all the time.
We worked on her severe anxiety with getting to recognize the triggers of her panic attacks, recognize her thoughts during the triggers and what she wanted to feel. She shared how the exercise was helping.
We dove into understanding why she had such fear of them getting hurt. She spoke of her parent who struggled with alcoholism and depression and shared how she was abused as a child. As a result, she never wanted her kids to ever experience any hurt.
She would find herself becoming depressed and turning to alcohol and feared becoming an abuser like her parents. She also was able to see that the more she tried to control her kids from getting hurt the worse she was doing at preparing them for life eventually without her.
Lorali, is an icon for many overprotective parents. The “lawn-mower parenting” of trying to go to the extremes to protect our children is real. These extremes are a result of the parents’ anxiety and in reality, only causes more anxiety for the child in the long run who has failed to learn how to overcome the smallest of struggles.
As a parent, the best way we can help our children is to understand how to help ourself and start doing the work to heal. When we heal ourselves, we teach our kids by example.
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