- 2 mins
Panic Attacks while Parenting – Tips on What to Do
When you are a parent, you are responsible for another human being—or multiple human beings, if you have more than one child. It is a big job and one that can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. So it’s not surprising that parents sometimes experience panic attacks.
A panic attack is a sudden, intense feeling of fear or anxiety. Your heart may race, and you may feel dizzy or like you can’t breathe. Panic attacks can be extremely frightening, and they can happen without warning. If you are a parent who experiences panic attacks, you may worry about what will happen to your child if you have one while caring for them. Will you be able to take care of them?
Here is what you need to know about panic attacks and parenting:
First, it is crucial to understand that you will not hurt your child if you have a panic attack. You may feel like you are losing control, but you are not. They are not dangerous, and they don’t last forever.
Second, it is also essential to understand that your child is not the cause of your panic attacks, and you don’t have them because you are a bad parent. Panic attacks can be triggered by various things, including stress, genetics, and certain medical conditions.
According to Cackovic et al. (2022), a hallmark feature of panic attacks is that they happen without warning. Understandably, this can create extra anxiety if you anticipate having an attack in the future. So let’s consider a few things that you can do to help yourself feel better when you experience a panic attack.
Things to try when you have an attack:
- Try to focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths and count to four as you inhale and exhale.
- Put your hand on your stomach and feel it rise and fall as you breathe.
- Repeat a mantra or affirmation to yourself, such as “I am safe,” “This will pass,” or “I am in control.”
- Visualize a peaceful place, such as a beach or a meadow.
- Get up and move around if you can. Go for a walk, do some stretches or dance to your favorite song.
Remember, panic attacks are not dangerous, and they will eventually end. In the meantime, these tips can help you get through one. If you have panic attacks regularly, or if they are interfering with your ability to take care of your child, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. You can learn how to manage your panic attacks and live a full and happy life with treatment.
If you feel you want to support your child to learn about panic attacks, you can play them the Moshi Moment Panic Be Gone with Pops.