How Your Parenting Style Can Affect Your Health
6 months ago, 14 Feb 00:58
Lots of stories exist that detail the many ways your parenting style can impact a child's health. Helicopter parents, for instance, may unwittingly predispose their little ones to anxiety. Growing up in an authoritative household, on the other hand—where parents set limits but also show compassion and warmth—is considered an indicator for happier dispositions and greater emotional control. (Easier said than done, to be sure, but lovely incentive, no?) But what about us parents? Most of us know that it doesn't feel good to scream at our offspring to JUST PUT THE JACKET ON, but did we ever stop to consider whether our parenting style might somehow affect our own well-being? People may underestimate "the impact of parenting on health," says Kevin Shafer, Ph.D., associate sociology professor at Brigham Young University, whose research has found that stepfathers are more likely to be depressed than other men, probably due to the unclear expectations of how to parent. "Or they may realize the psychological effects, like depression or anxiety, but not the long-term physical consequences of those mental health issues, such as gastrointestinal troubles, migraines, and more." With that in mind, let's explore three common parenting styles, and how they might be tripping you up, health-wise. Helicopter "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. Morin recommends stepping back the next time you feel yourself about to come to your child's rescue and take a moment to think about everything you survived as a kid. Chances are you went to the mall without a cell phone…or fell off the monkey bars at the playground. Another way to defuse the anxiety: "Ask yourself what kind of advice a trusted friend would give you in a particular situation," Morin recommends. For instance, let's say your 11-year-old wants to try "babysitting" her eight-year-old sister, but your inner helicopter mom balks at the idea. Chances are, a chilled out friend might reassure you that leaving your 11-year-old at home for 20 minutes is totally normal and safe. "This practice helps you to be less emotionally reactive ...
Category: magazine parents