Severely Anxious All the Time About My Children's Safety

Updated on March 18, 2012
C.J. asks from Fort Worth, TX
22 answers

hello lovely mamas,
I'm in desperate need of advice; first I want to say that I don't read news, but on the rare occasion that I do there's ALWAYS a horror story about a child being , abducted, murdered etc. I get instantly paranoid about my girls safety; I have 3 daughters and I cannot tell you how many nightmares I've had about them being lost, abducted or killed and the anxiety I experience when my oldest goes to school.
I feel awful posting this and I'm not even sure if I should post here, but this is the only parenting website I read. In any case I want to reach out to you mamas for advice in how to control my constant worry about my girls. I want to pull out the oldest from school and start homeschooling her; I just don't trust anyone with them and it's getting to the point where I get physically ill if I know I have to leave them out of my sight for more than a few minutes.
I really don't want to be this way, I can't keep living like this. I don't want them to be afraid of the world but how can I teach them that I'm I am terrified myself... Have you ever experienced something like this??? my daughters are 10, 3 and 5months.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Dear mamas, thank you so much for answering to my post. It's been a while since I posted this and I thought I'd let you know how I'm doing. I've been trying to get out of the house more with my girls and doing more activities outside in spite of that panicky little voice that tells me something is going to go wrong.
We went to the park and there were so many families and kids flying their kites, my girls flew their kites too and they were so happy, it was really a beautiful day. I felt so guilty that I didn't do this more often with them because of my stupid fears. My husband and I have been taking them out every weekend and everyone is doing great.
I still think I do need therapy, so my next step is finding a great therapist near my area. Also I need to take care of my body since I gained too much weight during my last pregnancy I have a lot of baby weight to lose. I'm currently 45 pounds overweight and I want this year to be the year that I will get back to my old self. I used to be so energetic and adventurous, I want to regain some of that back so I can share it with my girls so they can feel proud of their mommy.

Also, I just wanted to add that I did home schooled my oldest for a year but when her younger sister was born I just couldn't handle both the teaching and tending to the baby 24/7 it was a lack of time not a lack of patience on my part, I really enjoyed teaching her. I will let her finish fifth and sixth grade in her school and then will revisit the idea when she has to move to another school (her current school only has k-6th grade). By then her younger sisters will be 6 and 31/2 so it will be much easier.
anyways, thank you again mamas for taking time out of your busy lives to share your wisdom with this worry wart.

Featured Answers



answers from Boca Raton on

I'm a huge fan of homeschooling but not for this reason . . .

For me anxiety seems to be a "control" issue. I.e., the more I worry about something the less likely it is to happen (at least that's how it feels). I've come to realize that 95% of what I worry about never comes to pass, and the other 5% usually goes differently than I thought it would.

It's good to be cautious but not paranoid. Would it help to find someone to talk to?

Good luck and hope you can get this resolved.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

Please, get help; preferably both therapy and medication. It sounds like you have an anxiety disorder. It's not your fault, but you need help. I grew up with an anxious, over-protective mother like this. I wasn't allowed to be involved in school activities and was discouraged from doing things with friends. I rebelled and ran away. Get help, for your own sake and that of your kids, and your future relationship with your kids. You deserve to be happy and not terrified.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

This can be an expression of PPD. Instead of straight 'depression', it's anxiety. Antidepressants, however, COMBINED with therapy... usually have you back to 'yourself' in a very very short period of time. And then over 6mo to 2 years the antidepressants are tapered off, and you are yourself without them. It's an unfortunate thing that can happen with brain chemistry, and is totally NOT your fault, it's just a quirk of massive hormonal shift.

Left untreated, sometimes it reverts after a couple years, and sometimes it's lifelong (or only vanishes during pregnancy, to return after birth). It reeeeally varies for each woman, however, with the 'reset' of meds+therapy, you're yourself again in a month, and yourself again with nothing in just a couple years because your neurochem gets reset.

The brain is a really peculiar thing. The combo of AND (meds AND therapy) is really, really key. One or the other is just nowhere near as effective as both.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Please read "Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) by Lenore Skenazy". It may help you get some perspective on the safety of your children. Children are safer now than EVER before in history.

There IS something wrong with being constantly worried about your family. You will ruin your physical and mental health and raise scared, worried children. Please also get professional help for your anxiety.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

So sorry you are going through this.

I think you'll find that most of us found a whole new world of things to worry about once we became parents. I also think it is common for mothers, especially, to worry about our children, and occasionally, we allow those drastic scenarios to overwhelm and hold us hostage momentarily.

The operative words being occasionally and momentarily. What you are describing here seems to be more intense, more frequent, and more pervasive than the occasional or short-lived episode. (e.g., you're becoming physically ill, on a daily basis, when you have to take your oldest to school).

And for that reason, I will say to you what I'd say to any dear friend who came to me with this: please talk to your GP or ob/gyn and get a referral to a well-qualified mental health professional to help you with this.

The good news? You've got a lot of insight into your situation, and that is the first step to getting yourself onto another path. You realize your anxiety and worry are out of proportion; you realize you can't teach your girls to be unafraid and confident when you yourself are terrified; and you realize all of this is making you physically ill in addtion to the emotional distress you're experiencing.

The other good thing is that these kinds of fears can be dealt with and managed successfully when a person is highly motivated, as you seem to be, to seek help.

You're about to make a major decision about your daughter's education. While there is nothing wrong with homeschooling, you should make that decision based on what is best for her and her needs, not because you are petrified about the outside world.

Keep coming here for support as you need, and also be sure to contact your Dr. for a referral so you can learn to manage this before it overtakes your life and begins to affect your daughters negatively.

Hope this helps.

J. F.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

This is a great place to post this question!!

The first signs that you are ready to get help for something is realizing you need help with it. It sounds like you know that what you are feeling isn't "typical" (I hate the word "normal" because who these days is normal??).

I am so glad we live in a time where we can get help for our anxiety issues and not be written of as crazy or just a "woman".

I would start with your primary care doctor...go in and let him/her know what is going on with you. Sometimes a very low does of an anti-depressant can help you control the anxiety or it simply goes away...

Do some research on different antidepressants...having used different ones for anxiety myself...Paxil was good, but very very hard to stop taking you can have very bad withdrawal symptoms. Welbutrin has been my personal lifesaver...I have been able to take it and stop taking it with out side effects and even though it is not really labeled for anxiety sure has worked for mine as it is not an ssri...

Maybe just some talk therapy would be enough and medication isn't even warranted...however if you are ready to pull your daughter from might need some medicine to help faster and some therapy to finish up the work of over coming can get past this place.

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about anxiety...I have suffered through years of the crappy stuff and wish I could hold everyone's hand who deals with it and let them know there is a light at the end of the don't have to feel this way!! Sending you a big hug!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I wonder if this could be post-partum depression? I felt this way when my son was a newborn. I was suddenly just paralyzed with fear of my own mortality and every little thing seemed like a threat to him. I would spot an object (like the rocks outside my front door) and a scenario would play out in my head where my son got hurt or killed (like I'd see me dropping him on his head on the rocks). And this happened with everything I saw. I would see myself dropping him down the stairs or crushing him or falling down with him a thousand times a day. It passed as he got older. I still see danger everywhere but in a more normal sense.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

We all worry about our children.. There are so many what ifs.. But we also know that is reality, the percentages are very small that these things will actually happen to our children..

Yes, they will fall, get bonked in the head, cut themselves.. make some poor choices, but we cannot keep them home forever.. That is just as bad as just letting them jump off tall building.. It is not healthy,

Your obsession with their safety is not healthy for your children.
This constant worry can cause physical illness to you..

Please, right now, call your doctor and make an appointment to speak with her about how you can find help. Be strong. A healthy mom means mentally , emotionally as well as physically.. Make this your first brave step and call. I am sending you strength.. Your children deserve the best of you they can get..

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I lost a child in one of those horror stories that you see on television. I won't go into the details but everyday is a struggle to make sure that I am truly ok, that I am raising my little ones now to the best of my abilities and that I can protect them as best I can. I for one am incredibly protective of my 2 living children and nothing can deter me from making sure that they are ok. I don't trust my children with "just anyone" and if ever I feel an eerie feeling, I change the situation. Being protective is part of being a mother but I have had to check myself to make sure that my "protection" doesn't stop my children from growing, thriving, and being able to enjoy their childhood. Your fears are yours, not your children's. Hopefully they will see your actions as love and nothing else. If you yourself realize that any actions you're taking aren't rational, talk to someone, a therapist, so that you can see where your fears are coming from. Teach your children to trust you, and to be aware and to trust their own instincts. Guide them in the ways of the world, let them know that there are some dangers out there but please don't make them afraid of their shadow! Seeing a confident Mom, will give them confidence. Good luck to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

A little bit of worry is natural, but when it makes you physically ill and interferes with your life, it is beyond "normal" and is becoming a medical condition. Talk to your family physician and see if you can get a referral to a counselor so you can be the best mom you can be and not be trapped in anxiety. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Been where you are, I was this way with my daughter after my son was kidnapped. It will only get worse, and if you want to teach your daughters not to be afraid of the world you need to see a therapist. Sorry, this isn't healthy or normal.

Best wishes!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It is true that there are lots of dangers everywhere in our world. However, it seems like you have reached a point where your fear is controlling your life. You may want to consider talking to someone to help you work through your fears. The other thing is that you have to remember that even though you don't want to be, you are teaching your daughters to live in fear. Even if you aren't necessarily saying it, they are reading your actions. And I'm pretty sure you want your girls to live without crippling fear.

"The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you get physically ill from your worry, you need to seek some professional help. A little worry is completely normal but this worry is not normal.

Your daughters can sense your paranoia. Do you really want them growing up paranoid with worry, fear?

You can't live in constant fear and think about what if's. Life would truly suck if you do this not only for you but for your family.

I realize you want change or you wouldn't have posted this and I am glad you posted because at the rate you are going now, you are teaching your children to live in constant fear. You can't raise children under a rock.. they need life experiences. Yes, some life experiences will hurt us but we get right back up and move on...

Please get some help and your 10 yr old may need some help as well since she has dealt with this the longest and she is at an age where she will begin to change. You want open communication with all your girls but right now, most especially your 10 yr old needs guidance, communication and to understand it is not ok to live life in constant fear of the unknown.

Best wishes to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

It could be what Christy B said. Post partum symdrome since your little one is still so young. Have you felt this prior to her birth? I too feel anxious and that is why I do avoid the TV and not get caught up in the What if 's . It also helps to believe in God and know HE is in control and we are not in control. He has planned everything for the life of your children and what will be. Trust in God and know He is protecting these little precious children amoung all children. IF your into reading about anxiousness in a Godly way, Calm my anxious heart is a awesome book to read and many scriptures to help sooth your soul and calm you. Blessings.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

You need to see a therapist. I'm not saying you are crazy but you shouldnt have to be feeling so much fear. Life is life, we all have to get through it every day. You dont want to cripple your children. You know you are having irrational fears and that is a good thing..... seek some counsel so you will feel more comfortable and let your children grow up non paranoid.
Don't watch the news, it's insanely dramatic and they only want to show us stuff to scare us so we buy things to keep us safe like guns and alarms and pepper spray ... it's a hoax. Yes, there are some crazy lunatics in this world but they are very much the minority.... the media makes us think it's the majority tho.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

We all want to protect our children.
BUT, we also need to teach them how to function in the world.
There is a difference between teaching safety precautions and teaching kids that they can never be safe no matter what they do if they are away from their mother.

I would look into some family counseling to deal with your very real fears and help the kids have the strength to stand up for themselves if the need arises.
It can't be good for them to see you become physically ill if you have to leave them for short periods of time.
There is a difference between protecting them and cutting them off from life because of your fears.
Contact your county health department and ask them for referrals for family counseling. Many providers charge on a sliding scale.
They can help you deal with your fears and help you with not transferring them to your children. Don't put your anxiety onto them. This is the world they have to grow up in and learn how to navigate. You can't be too afraid to give them those skills.

Just my opinion.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You are perfectly sane and your feelings are valid. You don't need "help" as others have implied. Trust your gut. Trust your instincts. They are YOUR children and only YOU know your current situation and what is best for them.

And YES, it is getting scary out there. If you or your spouse worked in law enforcement, the media, social services, or any other profession where you'd get a more accurate and inside look at how bad things can be out there, you would realize your feelings are justified.

No, you don't want to overprotect, but you should never feel guilty or second guess yourself if you think your children need to be put in what you feel is a better or safer situation than what they're in. Bottom're their know best. Do what you think is right for your family and be at peace.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

In June of 2010 I lost my 5 year old nephew. He was hit and backed over by my little sister. So, believe me when I tell you how much safety has become an obsession with our whole family. There is NOTHING wrong with worrying about your family... As any mother will tell you, that's normal. I went into a huge freak after my nephew died. I constantly worried about fires, the outside, cars, etc. I still won't let her go with anyone who doesn't know how to install her carseat and make sure that she's buckled properly.
My job is to make sure that my kids are safe and make sure that everyone around them has the same goal. I make sure that she only plays in the back yard, and if she's in the front, she's only in the driveway.
I really wish that every car would automatically come with reverse signals.
We all worry. Worry about what you feel is best for your kids and keep them up to date on safety measures that you work in.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

1) Most child abductions are done by someone the child knows.
2) violent crime has actually dropped in the past 20 yrs. This from the FBI.
3) Arm your kids with knowledge of what to do if something DOES happen.
We use the Safe Side DVDs as a foundation. We rented them through netflix a couple of years ago.

yes I do think that you need to calm down and it may take anxiety medication or talking to a counciler.
Locking your children away from the world will not keep bad things from happening to them.



answers from Philadelphia on

the news upsets me as well. I second the advice about the meds. But aside from that, teach your girls about safety (without scaring them too much). Recently (like last week I believe) there was a story about a girl who got away from a man who had tried to abduct her and what she did was something her parents told her to do and that was to run and make as much noise as possible to attract attention to yourself. I thought that was excellent advice and something I will be sure to teach my children.
Don't keep yourself and your children hidden in a box away from the world because you are scared of what is out there. Truly no way to live... I know because I felt that way years back.



answers from Dallas on

Hypnotherapy is going to be your saving grace with this. I've done it, I swear by it, and I am going to get certified so I can help others. Anti-Anxiety pills (other than dear old Xanax) will change your personality.
I'm telling you, find a nice hypnotist who is trained for therapeutic hypnotism.
Also have them teach you EFT, or read about it online. Another "silly" thing
that is life changing!

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