Parents and Children

OK, read this slowly and think about the implications.

A new study report from the Yale Child Development Center reports that a treatment exclusively focused on parents is as effective in reducing a child’s anxiety as current treatments working with the child directly.

In simpler words, you can reduce a child’s anxiety by changing the parent’s behavior. You don’t have to ask the child to do anything, just the parent.

What does that say about the source of a child’s anxiety? We know it’s not genetic. Parents by their actions and words unintentionally (I hope) teach a child to have anxiety. Changing what the parents say and do can reverse the effect.

As I’ve often told people — humor with a bite — that raising a child is one of the more complex things humans do. Maybe not back when humans lived in caves, but this isn’t that world. We have manuals and license requirements for driving a car, which is a much simpler task. Why not for this?

Source: Eli R. Lebowitz, Carla Marin, Alyssa Martino, Yaara Shimshoni, Wendy K. Silverman. Parent-Based Treatment as Efficacious as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Childhood Anxiety: A Randomized Noninferiority Study of Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2020; 59 (3): 362 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.02.014

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