Child Anxiety and Protection Trap

If your child suffers from an anxiety disorder, it is possible that you as a parent have tendency towards overprotective behaviors. These may include providing constant reassurance, stepping in too quickly to decrease the level of distress by doing things for your child, always promoting avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations, doing homework or school projects for your child when their anxiety makes these difficult, or making excuses for your child so that the natural consequences of their avoidant behaviors do not occur.

Every parent has a natural desire to do anything they possibly can to protect their children from things that make them feel distressed. When a child is affected by anxiety issues, it can be particularly difficult for parents to see their child feeling uncomfortable when he or she encounters feared situations. In an effort to somehow make their child’s life better, parents may allow their child to avoid feared situation.

Doing so might, in the short run, appear to be the best thing to do as it does provide both a parent and a child an immediate relief from anxiety related stress. In the long run, however, it can lead in what therapists call a “Protection Trap” as it might reinforce children’s misperceptions that they are unable to cope with anxiety provoking situations on their own, which in turn strengthen their anxiety even further.

Helping Your Child

As a parent, you may think that having your child who is already suffering to participate in therapy that often involved fear-producing exposure techniques might seem extreme because they can make the child unhappy, anxious, and angry. However, allowing your child to engage in exposure tasks is the best way towards recovery from anxiety as it will teach your child how to manage and eventually overcome their fears.

If the information above applies to you or your loved ones, do not hesitate to contact me to get professional help. Click HERE to schedule Initial consultation.