The constant asking about what you are doing, where you are going and when you will be back is by now feeling more like a prison than a popularity contest.
Here’s the thing: Maybe they are genuinely fearful of being apart from you, incredibly afraid of germs and downright petrified of robbers coming into the house at night. And perhaps they feel genuine terror about making mistakes in their homework.
But there is something else going on as well.
THAT SOMETHING IS CALLED REASSURANCE-SEEKING.
And it has become excessive when your child is repeatedly asking for reassurance about their fear, and when “I will be back in 3 minutes and you will be able to see me through the window as I pay for the petrol” is met with yet another request for assurance: “what if I can’t see you?”
This behaviour adds a layer of complication to an already fragile situation and it masks the real problem.
In fact it makes it harder to deal with the underlying fear or anxiety because the excessive reassurance seeking is holding that fear in place. Every time you assure them it is like putting fertiliser on dandelions.
BUT THEY ARE SO UPSET, IT WOULD BE CRUEL NOT TO.
Maybe, but this is the screw without an end. No matter how many times you reassure them that you have checked their homework for spelling mistakes, locked all the doors or washed the chopping board properly, they will still keep coming back for more.
And isn’t it also cruel when, after 99 patient and kind reassurances, you suddenly fly off the handle and scream at them?
And that will happen because it is so wearing and exhausting to prop up an anxiety with constant reassurances.
You stand a much better chance of being effective in dealing with the actual anxiety if you first tackle the excessive reassurance-seeking.
It’s important to tackle this collectively, as a family. Excessive reassurance-seeking behaviour needs a united front and a bit of planning, thinking and agreement.
This article provides the exact steps you can take to take to tackle this exhausting behaviour effectively.
OVER TO YOU
Do you feel stuck in the loop of reassurance-seeking and giving? Have you found ways to manage it that aren’t mentioned in the article?
Do you agree that it needs to be tackled but you just can’t bring yourself to do it?
I would love for you to share your parental wisdom below so that we can all learn and grow and support each other.
PS: PASS IT ON
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