WOW Word-Of-the-Week #362: Worry

July 12, 2011 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #362: Worry 

Worry – to feel uneasy or anxious about something.

Do you know anyone who always seems to be anxious? Do you spend time worrying about things you have no control over? Are you a parent that worries about your children’s future?

An LA Times article by Mary MacVean titled “HANGING ON TO ‘BABY’ states, “The desire for children to have the best lives possible is still translating to heavily involved parents full of anxiety.” Sonya Gohill, a pediatrician in Bentwood says, ” Most parents are just scared. Scared they’re going to do the wrong thing, not do enough, they’re going to miss the boat. It’s like they’re in competition from the minute their kids are born. Who’s kid is crawling first, and why does my kid just sit here on my lap?”

Cindy Grolnick, a professor at Clark University in Massachusetts says, “There’s a sort of biological propensity for parents to be worried about and protect their children. Parents who didn’t had kids who died and got eaten by the lions.” She goes on to say, “Right now the level of competition that’s in our environment is just unprecedented. You now have to compete in community service, to help people! My kids are applying help someone and worrying about if they will get in.”

Sonya Gohill goes on to say, “My patients are extremely well-educated and have retired to be stay-at-home moms. They’re rechanneling their energy. Their kids are their project. The outcome is important because they’ve put so much time and effort into it.”

Susan Engel the author of “Red Flags or Red Herrings” offers insight into the research about what parents can change and what they cannot. Her first sentence reads:”You cannot dictate who your child will become. It’s a ‘dangerous myth’ to think that if you just parent well enough, make all the right decisions about schools, discipline, activities, friendships, that you can fix your child, that you can tailor a child. But you can’t.” Her final statement is, “If you’re spending more than an hour a day thinking about your kid when they’re not there, find something else to do.”

This week focus on how much time you spend worrying. If you’re like me, it’s not much. How about the people around you? Is there someone you could help to ease their anxiety? Can you understand the behavior of some young people who have parents that do everything for them?

Reader Responses

“Just got around to reading your item on the subject of “worry”. It focuses mainly on worrying about your kids, but I define it as “using the power of creativity, but not in your best interests.” Thought is creative. What we think about the most tends to be what we manifest in our lives. If we would all spend more time thinking about what we WANT, and less time thinking (worrying) about what we DON’T want, we would all be a lot more content. Try to cultivate an awareness of where your thoughts are at any given moment. The minute you realize you are worrying, shift that to a thought of a desired positive outcome. Instead of fixating on everything that can go wrong in your upcoming job interview, visualize impressing the interviewer with your grasp of his/her industry, sitting at your new desk, spending your first paycheck from the new job. We really can change our thinking and change our lives.” – Bob

“I see anxiety around me every day at work. Life is too short for any of that. My wife and I just want our girls to enjoy being kids and having fun with us because they won’t be around forever. So, we have made sure to spend time with them, playing games, playing out in the yard and taking them places with us. Yesterday, I filled up plastic pools for my daughters and their friend so that they could swim in the backyard. Nothing fancy, just a simple, fun activity. My older daughter sees things that she wants to do and gets involved with them, like piano lessons and ice skating lessons. She wants to play soccer and begin taking Irish step dancing lessons. We don’t push any of it. We just let her do what she is interested in during the summer months and in school. I always tell her that I want her to have fun, especially with her friends. There are some parents in our area who want to make sure their kids get into the “right” schools. My daughters are both very smart, so I don’t have any worries. I have no intention of pushing her into a “profession.” When she is ready, she will be able to make the decision she knows is right. I know childless couples who have said to me, “I worry about your kids in the future.” I don’t because our kids could very well make a difference in this country and in other people’s lives. As I mentioned, I just want to enjoy our girls and have fun with them, because they won’t be around forever. Life is too short for all of that anxiety. Thanks for the word, Susan. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe