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Effects Parents Have on Their Anxious Children

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Effects Parents Have On Their Anxious Children

D’Aundrea Williams

Word Count: 1732

Effects Parents Have On Their Anxious Children

Regardless of who you are, no individual is perfect. Just as a normal child you suffer from enough through experiences of your environment and the people you interact with. Now imagine living life with an anxiety disorder and your everyday hardships. Disorders make life much harder, and finding ways to cope are even harder. Scientists have done studies to show that not only does the child’s school environment affect their level of anxiety but so does the parent to child relationship. Is it up to the child figuring their own mechanisms or should their parents be more involved?

Introduction

A group of scientists wanted to focus on the parent’s latency control and reinforcement of a child’s anxious behavior. Research has shown that parents encourage avoidance in anxious situations and that parents and children together shapes ways to reinforce a child’s anxiety. (Aschenbrand, S. G., & Kendall, P. C. 2012). Gathered information from other studies has shown that when parents express their fears and show anxious behavior, children will also express those same emotions. Parents dealing with anxious children are more likely to expect their children to be avoidant, to have poor coping abilities, and less likely to succeed (Aschenbrand, S. G., & Kendall, P. C. 2012). Although this is a tough time for both the parent and child, researchers have found some methods that can help the child when dealing with anxious situations. Finding ways to cope rather than using a seeking safety behavior can help the child when confronted by other anxious problems. But, there are also faults to this mechanism, because parents may be encouraging anxious behavior or they may be intervening too soon in a situation. In either of these cases the parents aren’t giving the child the independence they need in order to overcome this anxious situation. Scientists have come up with several different theories as to how parents react when coping with anxious children. This is where nature vs. nurture comes into play. Do the parents’ experiences rub off on their children or do the child’s encounters influence these anxious attacks. A main study was given due to lack of other researches. The experimental study was conducted to examine the parent’s behavior and the emotional response of the anxious children.

Method

There was sample number of 124 parents to 82 children used in this experiment. This was a wide spread study, people ranging in ages, income status, race, and gender. Approximately 65% of the sample was mothers and the other 35% were fathers. In racial terms 73% were Caucasian, 13.7% African- American, 5.6 % Hispanic, .8% Asian, and .8% other. Of the children, 39 were girls and 43 were boys. The children’s racial makeup was 70.7% Caucasian, 18.3% African American, 6.1% Hispanic, 1.2% Asian, and 3.7% other. Their income ranged from $10,000-$80,000 (Aschenbrand, Kendall, 2012). Parents of anxiety disordered children (PAD) and Parents of non-anxiety disordered children were involved in this study. PAD group consisted of parents who met the DSM-IV disorders such as Separation Anxiety disorders, social phobia, or generalized anxiety disorder. The anxiety children also had the same disorders, but they also qualified for ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder. Parents were to hear a conversation between an adult and a child in which the child was showing anxious behavior. The scene is set the mother and child is in a public setting, where the mother wants the child to ask someone else where the bathroom is and make this an individual thing to do alone. The child is avoiding and ignoring the mothers requests and begins to throw tantrums in the store. After viewing this parents are supposed to hit a button on the keyboard as to when they would intervene (Aschenbrand, Kendall, 2012).

Results

The diversity in the 124 parent participants did not have a significant difference the study. The main difference was found in PAD between anxious and neutral conditions on child age. There were also no significant differences in PNAD. Since the age of the children didn’t affect any other dependent variable, the only thing scientists could find a difference in was parent gender. (Aschenbrand, Kendall, 2012). Within the latency response, PAD show no significant differences in response as to PNAD showed that participants of in the anxious condition exhibit longer response latency.

Discussion and Evaluation

PNAD participants took longer than PAD group members. The results showed that PNAD didn’t support avoidant behavior when known the child’s past. But when the PNAD parents knew neutral information PNAD parents reacted differently. PAD parents chose to act the same regardless of anxiety status. (Aschenbrand, Kendall, 2012).

The last study showed how both parents react with anxious children. This next article mainly focus on mother and child relationships and how the mother decides to respond in certain situations. The article has changed the name of anxious situations to actually posing threats to a situation.

Introduction

Research studies have shown that maternal overprotectiveness can negatively affect the child and its anxiety issues (Hane, A., & Barrios, E. S. 2011). The study used a novel to investigate maternal contributions to the child’s anxious development. The method Interpretive Bias threat (IBT) goes back to how individuals interpret ambiguous situations as negative or threatening. When faced with an anxious situation anxious adults and children seem to be most ready for a stressful situation rather than their peers (Hane & Barrios 2011). The study has shown that what is experimentally shown in adults and their reactions, children will pick up on it, and show the same reaction. In this parents were asked to view the same situations their children had previously seen to compare and contrast the child’s and parent’s reaction. Once both groups viewed the scenarios separately the groups were asked to join. When both groups were shown the scenarios together, the child’s anxiety increased significantly.

Method

35 participants, whom 21 were males, and their mothers participated in this study. The children ranged from 8-10 years of age. 91.45 of their mothers were married to their father, all were Caucasian, and income ranged from middle to upper middle class individuals. The household income ranged from $50,000- $250,000 (Hane & Barrios 2011). The conditions for the mothers were that they reported to have some college, and as for the 3 mothers who reported divorced also had joint custody, so the children still had interaction with their fathers. The mothers reported for the children to either be diagnosed or undergoing treatment for an anxiety-related disorder. Mothers and children then came into the lab where they were to sit in a living room environment and be attached to ECG monitors. The parents and children were given scenarios, read by the scientists, and then left to freely discuss and solve the situations.

Results

Boys and girls did not significantly differ as in focus of gender; neither did the 4 children who lost connection on their ECG. The results shows that children are more engaged in threatening situations rather than the mother, and those children were more likely to expand that threat to others more often than their parents. It was found that maternal exposures to threatening scenes heighten the child’s anxiety (Hane & Barrios 2011).

Discussion and Evaluation

Mothers that exposed their children to threatening situations and themes seemed to rub off on their children, heighten their anxiety. If mothers overreacted to a situation, then child was going to overreact in that same situation. Studies also showed that maternal over involvement in children affected their development to deal with stressful situations. Although experimental studies have shown mothers play a large role in a child’s anxiety, mothers can’t take all the blame. Environmental situations can also shape a child’s anxiety through the experiences through school, after school programs and athletics.

This last article was chosen to help parents find safe coping mechanisms for their children suffering from anxiety disorders. Although there are different children, and different methods, these treatment forms can help the development of children and their success in the world. Instead of parents contributing to the problem , they are able to help their child overcome their fears, and merge into society smoother.

Introduction

Researchers have found some of ADHD’s treatments can positively impact those children suffering from anxiety problems. The treatment includes 5 boys’ ages 10-12 were put into a 8 week family-based intervention. The study came back stating the ADHD standard treatment was ineffective , but was able to have high reports of overall satisfaction (Jarrett, M. A., & Ollendick, T. H. 2012). The treatment was not only for the children but for the parents too, so that they are informed on treatment and helping find methods that will work for their children.

Methods

There were 8 children participants and their parent(s). the child must be diagnosed with at least one of the anxiety disorders listed in the DSM-IV. Stipulations of no bi-polar disorder of autism were put into play. All were Caucasian, and 25% of the children were on medication at the same dosage for at least 3 months. All 8 children met the criteria for 2 or more of the DSM-IV disorders and 50% met the criteria for at least 3 or more. 87.5% children were living with both parents, and 62.5% parents completed college (Jarrett & Ollendick 2012). Children were randomly assigned phases lasting 2-4 weeks where each week children and parents were questioned over the phone about their experiences of the trials.

Results

87.5% of the families complete the entire survey. Within that group 2 of the 8 families could not to post treatment until 6 months later. It showed that all groups had shown improvement from the treatment. The data showed that anxiety symptoms changed concurrently or were delayed by one week.

Discussion and Evaluation

The study showed that the anxiety was not completely fixed but, was put under control. The ADHD was able to show more improvement than anxiety. The improvement of anxiety was short term (Jarrett, M. A., & Ollendick, T. H. 2012).

Overall children gain their anxiety experiences through nurture and nature. Luckily science and medications have helped monitor the children and their experiences. The best way to help a child is by doing it together. Find the right medicines together, help solve problems together and generally be open about experiences.

References

Aschenbrand, S. G., & Kendall, P. C. (2012). The effect of perceived child anxiety status on parental latency to intervene with anxious and nonanxious youth. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 80(2), 232-238. doi:10.1037/a0027230
Hane, A., & Barrios, E. S. (2011). Mother and child interpretations of threat in ambiguous situations: Relations with child anxiety and autonomic responding. Journal Of Family Psychology, 25(5), 644-652. doi:10.1037/a0024149
Jarrett, M. A., & Ollendick, T. H. (2012). Treatment of comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and anxiety in children: A multiple baseline design analysis. Journal Of Consulting And Clinical Psychology, 80(2), 239-244. doi:10.1037/a0027123

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