Learn to Control Your Anxiety about Being a Good Parent

Dr. Ross W. Greene is associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of both Lost at School and The Explosive Child. He is also the founder of a non-profit organization called Lives in the Balance (LivesintheBalance.org), through which he disseminates the model of care described in his books, Collaborative Problem Solving. Dr. Greene’s research has been funded by the US Department of Education, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and the Maine Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.

FamilyDinner_400Your actions aren’t the only thing that determines whether or not your child succeeds in life; she is born with a ton of characteristics that you cannot control. However, your anxiety about her future may be getting in the way of your parenting. Read more about how to regulate your anxiety in my book Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child.

Maintaining your perspective is crucial to keeping your anxiety under control. Here are some reminders that might help:

•Your child needs the freedom to try his emerging identity on for size without feeling like it’s an unmitigated disaster if he needs to refine things a little or take a mulligan. You’re being a good parent when you allow that to happen. If you’re overreacting or holding on too tight, he won’t have room to grow.

Raising Human Beings

Raising Human Beings

by Ross W. Greene

  • Get Raising Human Beings
  • Get Raising Human Beings
  • Get Raising Human Beings
  • Get Raising Human Beings
  • Get Raising Human Beings

•Your child also needs the space to make mistakes and learn from them. You’re being a good parent when you let that happen too. If you’re trying too hard to control the outcome or being too judgmental when he trips over his own feet, he’ll be overly concerned about making mistakes and won’t have the chance to learn from them.

•Your child also needs the opportunity to right the ship on his own when he runs into troubled waters. And he needs you to watch closely to see how he’s doing. If you’re not watching closely enough, he could tire of floundering and give up. If you throw him the life vest at the first sign of floundering, he’ll never learn to swim. If he’s able to right the ship often enough, you’ll start to have faith in his ability to do so. He may actually have a pretty decent ship-righting track record and—though your memories of the times when he didn’t handle troubled waters quite so well may be more poignant—it’s good to reflect on that.

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