Anxious Parents Can Create Anxious Kids

Last year, I worked with an eighth grader who came to me because of his executive functioning challenges. During our first meeting I quickly learned that his mother highly micromanaged his academic career to the point that it made this boy incredibly anxious. This mother was so anxious about his grades that she would cause her son to become so anxious that he would shut down and become unproductive. I should mention, this is not a “mom thing”, I’ve seen plenty of fathers make their kids anxious.

When his mother would start questioning him about assignments this boy (who presented as socially and emotionally on target for his age) would start whining and his voice would start shaking because of how anxious she was making him.

Seeing them together was completely unproductive so I worked with the boy around strategies he could use and I met with his mother individually. My goal was to help her understand that while she has the best of intentions her micromanaging was not helping his ability to improve his executive functioning or independence. Most importantly, it was affecting their relationship because of how hyper-focused she was on his academic performance.

I encouraged her as I encourage many parents to keep in perspective that their child’s grades ARE NOT a reflection of their parenting, rather it’s a reflection of their child’s executive functioning challenges and the fact that most educators have not been taught how to work with kids executive functioning challenges such as #ADHD.

I explained to this mother that I did not feel that it was in his best interest or the best interest of their relationship for her to keep doing what she was doing. My sense was that this mother was not able to see the “bigger picture” that her good intentions were actually making things worse.

If your relationship with your son has suffered because of your concerns around his academic performance let’s talk about how to help him:

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