Raising a child can put your anxiety through the roof, but if you’re not careful those worry warts will rub off on your kid. Children of anxious parents are at greater risk of suffering from anxiety disorders themselves, but new research says you have the power to stop distress traits in their tracks and bless your children with the gift of chill.
According to NPR
, a research team led by Golda Ginsburg, a professor of psychiatry at UConn Health, studied 136 families with at least one parent who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and at least one child aged 6 to 13. When families received 8 weeks of family therapy, as half the participants did, only 5 percent of children from those families were similarly diagnosed with an anxiety disorder a year later. Meanwhile, the other half of the families studied only received a handout describing anxiety disorders, and they saw 31 percent of their children diagnosed with anxiety a year later.
The researchers believe this proves parents have a strong chance of sparing their children from a life of worry by simply seeking help themselves. “In the medical system there are other prevention models, like dental care, where we go every 6 months for a cleaning,” Ginsburg told NPR. “I think adopting that kind of model — a mental health checkup, a prevention model for folks who are at risk — is where we need to go next.” If you’re worried about the reality of trying to squeeze these woosah sessions between meetings and little league practice, that’s all the more reason to make it happen.
Every parent deserves to pass a legacy on to their children. Just make sure the torch your kid carries doesn’t read, “Did I leave the stove on? Did we pack mosquito spray? I hope she used hand sanitizer before shaking my hand … ”