Thursday, May 3, 2012

True Story = Big Anxiety

I love me some Parents magazine.  I probably have learned half of what I know about parenting trends from them.  I've also learned a ton about all the horrible dangers that could befall my innocent little baby from their insightful articles.  The best feature for ramping up my anxiety is the "True Story" articles.  Are you familiar?  The last one I read told about a baby girl severely burning herself after being sucked into a treadmill.  In another, a baby swallowed a doorstop.  Each month, a Parents magazine reader shares a cautionary tale of their child being injured, broken, burned, or maimed by an unforeseen danger.  After reading this short story, I always find myself an anxious, paranoid mess of a mom. 

Here's an example.  My baby often plays in the bathroom as I get ready for work in the morning.  How many dangers do you see?

Well, first there is the obvious danger of that heavy wooden drawer falling and crushing his bare footsie.  Also, those necklaces that he is pulling out pose a major choking hazard (thank goodness at times like these for the pacifier!).  Behind him beckon the toilet (drowning) and the trash can (limitless germs and hazards).  He could always fall backwards into the bathtub and break his neck.  See that old heater on the wall?  Let's not even talk about that death trap.

I can easily work myself into a bursting blob of anxiety.  Drawing on what I know as a psychologist, I practice the following mommy-anxiety-beating tips.
  • Normalization - I remind myself that it is normal to be anxious as a first time mom.  It is normal to be anxious about the unknown.  It is normal to read Parents magazine and flip out.
  • Avoid "What If" Thinking - This is a hallmark of anxiety reduction therapy.  "What if" thinking is almost always hiding behind anxiety and feeding it.  Thinking about the worse case scenario can only make you worry unnecessarily.  I combat this type of thinking with good old-fashioned logic.  How likely is this worst case scenario I am fretting over?  Usually I realize I'm wasting a lot of energy and time worrying about near impossibilities.
  • Avoid Triggers - I always suggest that anxious children avoid triggers that may make their worries surface.  The nightly news, for example, can stir up all kinds of anxiety.  Parents magazine may need to be avoided (or at least the True Story feature) if I'm feeling especially vulnerable.
  • Face Your Fear - This is the best way to fight anxiety.  I'm not suggesting you encourage harmful things to happen to your child, but it really helps to allow myself to enjoy being a parent and allow my baby to do some "risky" activities (eat peanut butter, practice climbing up and down stairs, run around outside without shoes, etc).  Caution is wise, but overprotection can cause your child to also be anxious!
  • Prayer - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. "  (Philippians 4:6-7)

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog.
    I'm not a mom, but I could see how easy it would be to become a paranoid parent. Prayer is definitely the answer to getting through anything, including parenting! Love those verses. :)

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    1. Thanks Becca! Let's keep encouraging each other with the Word!

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  2. What wonderful advise! I believe a lot of those things can be applied to anybody on a day to day basis. Sometimes I find myself becoming anxious and it will be good to remember these tips! found you on the blog hop and now following :)

    Frances
    hellofrances.blogspot.com

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  3. Great advice. I remember how easily it was to get worked up when my kids were little. So happy they're bigger now, lol. :) I'm stopping by from BHE! Hope to see you at my blog soon. http://acostaeveli.blogspot.com/ Have a great weekend! :)

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    1. Thanks for the link! I'm going to check it out right now!

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  4. Thanks for visiting. I didn't see you listed as a follower of my blog. I am following you now - if you could double check that would be great.

    http://cumminslife.blogspot.com/

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  5. Following you back! Thanks for coming by! Love that picture! A prayer would def be needed!

    http://naptimeshopper.blogspot.com/

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  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog www.kraftinmommy.blogspot.com, I'm now following you! Love your blog. I'm an ESE teacher and work very closely with our psychologist! Thanks for all you do for students and helping them get what they so desperately need!

    P.S. Your boy is absolutely adorable!

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  7. stumbled onto your blog via the blog hop and just wanted to leave you a little blog luv! Def enjoyed this post!! New Follower via email :-)

    http://infinitelifefitness.com
    http://mscomposure.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm going to visit your page right now!

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  8. I'm liking what I'm reading! This winter I started following another blog that you might like: themommypsychologist.com

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    Replies
    1. Love it! Thanks for the recommendation!

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