I am a 36-year-old working mom to a 13-year-old girl. I provide for every need of my daughter. But I recently found out that she struggles with severe anxiety. She suffers from panic attacks, especially before her exams. So I took her for treatment and she is getting the help she needs. But I can’t understand why, despite having everything, she is struggling with a mental health problem. – A worried mother
Answer by Shreeya Giri, Founder of Happy Minds
First of all, it is important for you to know that just because your daughter has everything doesn’t mean she is completely protected from mental health issues.
There could be many reasons she is having anxiety attacks. For instance, when it comes to parent-child relations, the age gap is always a big barrier, making communication difficult. Maybe because you’re at work all day, your daughter could be feeling she is not getting enough time and attention from you. The distance created between you and your daughter by your professional life may have led to a situation where her emotional needs are not being met.
It is wonderful that you have prioritized your daughter’s mental health and given her the treatment she needs. You can also help her from your personal side by trying to understand her anxiety. Is it something she gets at school? Maybe it is the pressure of studying right before exams? Or is it because she is not getting enough time and attention at home? You will only know the reason with open and honest communication with your daughter.
Understanding your daughter’s emotional needs can help you figure out what she needs.
Perhaps she just wants to spend some quality time with you after you return from work in the evening or before you head out in the morning.
Have patience with her. She will communicate what she needs and what she is going through. Teenagers find it more comfortable to confide in friends rather than in parents. If you build a loving and trusting relationship with your daughter, she will talk to you more openly.
Lastly, let your daughter know you have unconditional love for her, so even when you aren’t home, she is reassured that you love her and that it is okay to share what she is going through with you.