Modern times force us to run, to take on new job responsibilities, to attend to social commitments and, of course, to do housework and take care of the children. However, living a hectic pace of life is not good, neither for you nor for your children. This rhythm of life generates stress and anxiety, so you will end up being a victim of exhaustion and irritability. In addition, this state usually gives way to what some psychologists have called “negative parental behaviors”, which weigh down the emotional development of children causing anger and anxiety.
Parents’ impatience generates negative emotionality in children
Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered a link between parental impatience and childhood anger. They worked with 361 American families across the country, and asked adoptive parents to fill out a series of questionnaires when the children were 9, 18 and 27 months old. They also recorded videos of parents engaging with children in a series of structured tasks.
Thus, the researchers found that when adoptive parents tended to lose patience with childhood mistakes, the children were more irritable, had more temper tantrums, and were generally more likely to experience negative moods.
However, the most interesting thing about this study was that these researchers also analyzed the biological parents of the children and realized that genetics did not play a very important role in the behaviors of the little ones since when they were raised by parents relaxed, attentive and loving, the predisposition to anxiety and anger was greatly lessened.
Anxiety is transmitted through education
In recent years, different studies have also been conducted focusing on the transmission mechanism of anxiety from parents to children. One of the largest investigations was carried out by researchers at King’s College London and was recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry .
In this study, almost 900 British families of adult twins who had had children of their own were analyzed. The researchers found that the children were much more like their parents than their uncles (their parents’ twins), indicating that anxiety has not only a genetic component but also an environmental component. These scientists are convinced that anxiety is transmitted through education. In fact, it has been appreciated that from three months of age babies are already capable of capturing the emotional states of their parents and adapting to them by responding accordingly.
Thus, children may pick up on their parents’ concerns and fears and end up adopting them as their own. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that in many cases the negative parental behaviors that are generated as a result of anxiety can end up causing an insecure attachment in the child, which will affect their way of relating to others and with themselves.
How to prevent anxiety and stress from passing to your child?
- Plan a time to relax. Just like you plan your child’s work meetings and extracurricular activities in your agenda, make some time for you to relax. It will be time very well spent.
- Remember that he is just a child. Children make mistakes, they are part of learning. Don’t scold him for it, help him understand where he went wrong and encourage him to try again.
- Distribute household chores. Each member of the household should contribute to the housework, this way you will not be so overwhelmed and you will have more quality time to dedicate to your children. Therefore, make sure to distribute the tasks well and include your children, who from the age of 3 can already help out at home.
- Learn to manage your emotions. Educating a child is also a self-learning process. There will be situations in which you will need to count to 10, or to 100. Therefore, it is important that you see motherhood or fatherhood as an opportunity to grow and learn to better manage your negative emotions.