Parenting is a full-time, demanding job under the best of circumstances. When a child (of any age) has an emotional or behavioral difficulty, this job is even more complicated. These difficulties impact family members and family relationships in many ways. Parents frequently are unsure how best to support their struggling child while also supporting other family members and taking care of their own needs. It’s important for parents to remember they did not cause their child’s problem. They are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances. Frequently, parenting a child with an anxiety disorder is counterintuitive. Parenting approaches that work well in other situations are not always helpful with an anxious child.
Parents may greatly benefit from education, guidance, and support. Having a better understanding of their child’s diagnosis or problem as well as the needed treatment helps parents to support the treatment at home “on the front lines”. Sometimes parents benefit from learning about the behavioral principles that underlie most children’s behavior and how the treatments used are based on them. Further, learning specific tools or strategies that are consistently used contributes to a stronger treatment plan for the child. Parenting work also can help parents gain greater confidence in their abilities to handle tough situations and effectively help their child.