Parenting an anxious kid is like parenting a different species. Those of you who have anxious kids know what I mean. When you are in the trenches with an anxious kid, you better learn to laugh.
Not sure you have an anxious kid? Here are some telltale signs! If my references are lost on you, do a happy dance—ignorance is bliss. If they ring true, don’t worry—you are not alone!
1. Your purse is armed with a full medical kit, a complete change of clothes and a portal to escape any unbearable situation.
2. Your heart starts to palpitate and your hands get clammy when you have to tell your child it is time to go.
3. Going No. 2 in the bathroom is a family affair. If you don’t know what that means, give yourself a high five—this isn’t about you!
4. You have 80 different styles of ice packs in your freezer and 15 different boxes of cartoon band-aids.
5. Sleeping in your bed is a full-contact family sport. Confused? I envy you!
6. You never worry about whether you are going the wrong way or have a full tank of gas because your kid will alert you to all those little details.
7. You hold your breath and quietly reach for your camera when your child spontaneously approaches another child.
8. You screen movies like Finding Nemo for disturbing themes that will cause your child nightmares for weeks.
9. Your bedtime routine is longer than some novels.
10. Your child is more worried about being on time than you are.
11. When you serve dinner, your meal is inspected, smelled and licked before ingestion.
12. The idea of changing your child’s daily routine gives you heart palpitations.
13. Questions like, “When will I die?” are just part of casual conversation at your house.
14. Going to the doctor or dentist is like preparing for war.
15. You know what MiraLAX is, and you have needed to use it.
16. Your child owns several belongings that, if lost, would cause them to hyperventilate.
17. You have never had a need to say something like, “Get down from there! You might get hurt.”
18. You have no use for child nail clippers. Nails are miraculously kept short all on their own.
19. Phrases like, “Come with me!” and “Stay with me!” are your child’s theme songs in your house.
20. Your child gets post-traumatic stress disorder after Halloween—and they didn’t go trick or treating.
For all their quirks and struggles, anxious kids can be some of the most sensitive and compassionate kids. So when all your others kids are bouncing off the walls—oblivious to your crappy day—your anxious kid will be the one asking, “Mom, are you OK?” And for that, it might all be worth it.