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Fear of something happening to my children

(4 Posts)
Millymollymoomoos Mon 15-Apr-13 19:55:04

I am mum to three children, 13,15 and 17.

I have a real problem with them going out on their own as I am terrified that someone will take them. I know how unlikely this is, but it doesn't stop me suffering from real anxiety every time they are out on their own. I am getting better with my eldest, but find it so hard to let go of the younger ones.
I know how important it is to let them go and develop their independence, and they do go off with their friends into town etc, but I worry for every single second that they are out. If they are slightly later than the agreed time to come home I am almost having a panic attack within minutes. They have mobile phones, but if they don't answer I automatically assume the worst has happened.
I know the problem is completely mine, and I don't let it stop them doing anything.
Does anyone else find they get stressed out like this, and how do you manage it?

MuchBrighterNow Tue 16-Apr-13 06:55:14

I'm sorry to hear how worried and stressed you are feeling Op. I think all mums experience this but it sounds like your fears are a overwhelming you and it might be helpful to talk to someone in RL to help get them in perspective.

I used to worry lots about my ds1 as he rides a motorbike and often goes to all night parties. All that worry has done is make me ill and him furious with me for not trusting him to look after himself.

Ds 2 had his mobile stolen a knifepoint and that made me stress about him walking through town to get to and from school. I bought him a pepper spray ( to be used in total emergency situation only) and that helped us both feel a bit easier.

I think it comes down to having trust in our Dc's. I am sure you have taught them very well how to take care of themselves and now that they are teens it's important to give them the space to learn to trust themselves by demonstrating that you have confidence in them. smile

cory Tue 16-Apr-13 08:28:14

This sounds like it's rather more than normal parental anxiety: you know it is OTT but find it difficult to control. I wonder if some kind of mindfulness or CBT technique would help you to cope. Something that helps you to recognise and visualise unhelpful thoughts and steer them off.

When I feel panicky thoughts coming on, I try to visualise myself as walking down a country lane and coming to a crossroads: one fork is signposted with the panicky thought and I tell myself that "I am not going down that road, I can choose, I am going to choose the other road". And then I have a package (I visualise it as a cardboard box) with helpful thoughts which I use to distract myself: often it's to do with planning my favourite hobby, but I have a couple of sets in reserve if that one doesn't work.

When it comes to children being late, what I try to do is to have a plan. "I will not do anything until X o'clock, so that means I don't have to think about it. If they are not here by X o'clock, I will do Y (ring their friend's mum or whatever). If that doesn't help, then I will do Z. I don't have to think about it now, because I have a Plan".

slipshodsibyl Tue 16-Apr-13 09:30:20

I often feel like this and I do sympathise. I know i am over protective compared to many parents, though some of them seem astoundingly careless to me!

I have the number of a friend and/or friend's parent so I have someone to call if necessary and that helps as I have, as Cory says, a plan and potential support.

I ask them to text if plans change and I also try to keep busy at that horrible time when they are not home and out of contact. I force myself to acknowledge that the worst very very rarely happens.

They have rules about not leaving any friend alone somewhere and not being left.

It is not a nice feeling though I think yours are all at the age of greatest worry and this will pass to some extent as they grow.

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