Some parents rule with an iron fist, and others let their children run wild.
But which is best?
As it turns out, the way you parent your child can have a major impact on your health. And if you fall into the “helicopter” parent scenario, your own personal health is in serious danger.
While “helicopter” parents often mean well, the damage they do to their children and themselves is massive.
In the unrealistic need for control, they produce large amounts of anxiety in their children, and often internalize this personally.
“These parents want to rescue their kids,” explains Amy Morin, LCSW, a psychotherapist and a lecturer at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do.
“If they forget their soccer cleats at home or don’t finish their homework, mom or dad will do it for them.”
These are also the parents who tend to hover over their kiddos at the park or apply hand sanitizer in 30-minute intervals.
Dr. Shafer says helicopter moms and dads “parent from a place of high anxiety, a need for control.
They’re often perfectionists who put intense pressure on themselves and view their child as a reflection of their own success.”
Unfortunately, all that pressure puts you at risk for depression and burnout. Uncontrolled anxiety has been linked with a host of long-term physical health problems, including gastrointestinal woes (nausea, diarrhea), insomnia, a compromised immune system (meaning you’re more likely to catch the virus you’re so nervous your son is going to get) and even heart disease.”
By striving to control every situation, you can actually burnout and seriously compromise your immune system.
But to those fellow moms who are perfectionists, take heart.
There will always be spills to clean up, and dirty laundry. The clothes won’t stay neatly folded.
Your children will make mistakes, but so will you.
It’s important to remember to not place unrealistic expectations on your children. In trying to control every detail of their life, you will end up getting stressed out in the process and will internalize misplaced failure.
But there are other traps well-meaning parents fall into.
Some moms fall into the authoritarian parenting style, which is full of anger and rage.
Experts show this too can come from a place of anxiety.
“When anger erupts out of control, it kicks off our primitive fight or flight system, causing our hearts beat faster, our muscles to tighten up, and blood to be diverted from our stomach and GI system to our extremities, explains W. Robert Nay, Ph.D., Georgetown Medical School clinical associate professor of psychiatry and author of Taking Charge of Anger: Six Steps to Asserting Yourself Without Losing Control.
In the caveman days, such a response would have been helpful, maybe even lifesaving when faced with a saber-toothed tiger.
But when your modern day nervous system is getting tripped multiple times a day, like when your toddler keeps dropping her cereal on the floor, the resulting cascade of symptoms is nothing but detrimental to your health.”
So moms, remember to take a deep breath! You’ve got this.
The old advice “don’t sweat the small stuff” is true.
Spend time with your child and teach them. Don’t worry or get angry about the little things.
However you decide to parent, let your child know you love them and that you are proud of them.
Remember, children watch everything you do. They mimic you, even if you don’t realize it at the time.
And most important, give yourself grace.
In the eyes of a child, mothers are their world.
If you keep the healthy balance the line between truth and grace, you will raise an emotionally healthy child, and keep yourself sane in the process!
You can still show care and compassion for your children without controlling their every move or erupting in anger at the slightest mishap.
By making a few adjustments to your parenting style, you can even improve your health in the process.
(h/t Mommy Underground)