If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance that you spend a great deal of time worrying about your children. After all, isn’t that what parents are supposed to do? Although you might feel like it’s impossible to stop worrying, it really is quite possible. I know, I know…it’s very difficult. As a father of two teenage girls, I can relate. As someone who’s been a chronic worrier for most of his life, I can relate. As someone who makes a living speaking about overcoming anxiety, however, I can assure you that you can do it. With God, ALL things are possible!
Let’s look at some steps you can take to stop worrying about your children:
Take Action – This one is so simple that it often gets overlooked. If there is something that you can do to help or protect your children, do it! A trip to the doctor, a visit with the teacher or a discussion with bully’s parent can often be enough to correct the problem and eliminate a great deal of stress.
Let Go – Whether we like it or not, some things in life are beyond our control. This is a source of incredible frustration for those of us who tend to be anxious. Whether we’re talking about our children or other issues, we need to do what we can and then let God do the rest. Let’s face it, God loves our children even more than we do and He knows what’s best for them. Letting go and letting God do His job can bring us great peace!
Take One Day At A Time – In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clearly instructs us to “not worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). Although it’s not an easy habit to break, we should take His words seriously and try to focus on today. While we may struggle at first, it gets easier. Trust me! If you find yourself worrying about what may happen in your child’s life tomorrow (or the day after that), say a quick prayer and try to focus on today’s issues. You can then deal with tomorrow’s issues tomorrow (if and when they become today’s issues).
Pray – As parents, we should be praying for our children every day. We often overlook the power of prayer, instead focusing on doing “more important” things. That is a big mistake. Jesus prayed often and, in fact, it was the last thing that He did before being taken into captivity. Prayer is always effective (Matthew 7:7-11), worrying is never effective!
Accept The Church’s Gifts – As Catholics, we are blessed to have the Sacraments, sacramentals, devotions and the Bible to help us gain grace and grow closer to the Lord. The closer we get to the Lord, the more peace we will feel. This peace can allow us to relax, even in the midst of the most serious problems.
Stop Trying So Hard - Sometimes we spend so much time trying to stop worrying that we become even more anxious. We worry about our children because we love them and want to protect them. As a result, it’s difficult not to worry about them…unless we have help. Instead of focusing all of your energy on “not worrying”, concentrate on Jesus. Prayer, reading the Bible and spending time with Him in the Sacraments or adoration can have an amazing effect. Before you know it, you’re worrying will decrease or disappear.
While it is easy for parents to fall into the worrying habit, it can be overcome. With a little work and lots of help from the Lord it is entirely possible. When it comes to your children, St. Padre Pio has some great advice:
“Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry!”