A United Front to Help Ease Child Anxiety

Family solicitor, Rory Laide, shares 4 key areas to focus on to support your child in situations that may cause anxiety.

As family solicitors, we see many parents struggling with children who are experiencing anxiety - often related to relationship breakdown. However, other external stressful situations can also be contributing factors.

Here are some key areas to focus on to support your child in situations that may be causing them anxiety and ill mental health.

  1. Avoid Arguing in Front of Your Child

This may seem obvious, but if you are struggling in your own relationship, to minimise the impact of parental conflict, disputes should ideally take place away from your child. It is also important to try to avoid ‘bad-mouthing’ the other parent in front of your child. Often this can be difficult – anger and frustration can cause even the most composed of us to do and say things in the heat of the moment. However, for the sake of your child’s best interests, it's important to try and limit their exposure to relationship conflict where possible.

  1. Learning by Example

The ways in which parents resolve their own arguments are big indicators of a child’s outcome in the long term. Low-level parental conflict can seem unimportant, for example, bickering and eye-rolling in relation to relatively trivial issues may not appear too serious. However, if it happens often, children are highly tuned in to the family’s emotional climate, and ongoing low-level conflict can lead to insecurity and may even impact their mental health.

In order to achieve effective co-parenting, it’s important to find a way to communicate with each other in a constructive and problem-solving manner, being mindful of how these communications can effect the immediate mood and environment for everyone else in the family, and avoiding confrontation where possible.

  1. Work Together

Energy can be contagious. When tensions are high and parents feel anxious, children do tend to pick up on those emotions and may even start displaying similar feelings.

Parents are like anchors to their children. Children thrive on consistency, routine, and stability, and providing a settled and united parenting front will help make this much easier to achieve.

Every parent wants their child to learn right from wrong, but these values won't develop on their own - they need to be demonstrated and taught. It can help to discuss your values with each other, talk together and try to work towards a common goal.

For parents living in separate homes, effective co-parenting will be more easily achieved if both parents can try to put conflict aside in order to be aligned in relation to what is best for their child. In turn, this will help their child remain resilient in challenging environments. It’s a good idea to consider professional family counselling if you find it's too difficult to discuss and agree on a common consensus together. Remember, many parents need help navigating this journey and there is no shame in seeking external, professional help.

  1. Be Flexible

When making family decisions, try to maintain a degree of flexibility where you can. While both parents may not agree on a matter, allowing sensible compromises to be reached can help to minimise ongoing conflict.

Try to avoid repeating past mistakes. Take time to reflect on what worked well and what hasn't worked well and be prepared to try and find new ways of working through family disputes and conflicts. Being flexible and calm reflection should help prevent similar disputes from reoccurring.

Extra Resources:

For additional support:

  • Contact our Speak to An Expert Service or Contact your GP
  • Mind

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