AWARD-WINNING BLOG

What is Going to Happen to my Child in the Future

Welcome to Tea & Tips, where we respond to burning questions from parents and educators — taking aim on one topic at a time, guiding you to improve communication, confidence and calm.

When does a parent’s concern about their child’s future, become catastrophizing? It’s common when kids have complex challenges like ADHD, anxiety and more.

Diane:
One of the challenges that a lot of our parents have is something we call ...

Elaine:
Catastrophizing.

Diane:
Catastrophizing. And so-

Elaine:
Bum, bum, bum.

Diane:
Catastrophizing is when ... Okay, you have a kid who has a hard time sitting still at the table at dinner. You suddenly have decided that they're never going to be able to hold down a job and they're going to end up in jail.

Elaine:
Right, or never going to be able to go out to a restaurant, or have a relationship.Right.

Diane:
So you look at your child's current situation, and you project forward ...

Elaine:
20 years, right?

Diane:
... and you're like, "Oh, my gosh, this child is

Both :
Never going to make it.

Elaine:
I have this memory. Can I give an example?

Diane:
Yeah.

Elaine:
... of somebody I worked with years ago, and her child was 12 at the time, and she didn't clean up the potato chips on the floor, right, when she was watching television. And the mom was convinced she was never going to be able to have her own apartment or take care of anything, because at 12 years old, she wasn't cleaning up the potato chips. So, when we started looking at, what's a reasonable expectation, right? What are the strategies?

Diane:
The strategies of catastrophizing is really to focus on what's going on now, right? It's like, if you have a child who's having a hard time sitting still at the table, you have a child who's having a hard time picking up potato chips on the floor, if you have a child who has a hard time following through and finishing their homework or turning in their homework, focus on the challenge you have now, rather than-

Elaine:
And take aim on one thing.

Diane:
And take aim on one thing, rather than worrying about what's going to happen in the future. Because the reality is you can't predict the future. You can't-

Elaine:
But you can influence it-

Diane:
You can influence it.

Elaine:
... by taking aim on one thing now.

Diane:
Exactly.

Elaine:
But catastrophizing forward is sort of ... It is this game that we as parents play with ourselves that really actually doesn't serve us.

Diane:
Well, and it sometimes triggers us, right? We get so afraid that we're like, "Oh, my gosh, I got to fix this, and I got to fix this right now."

Elaine:
White knuckle attachments.

Diane:
Exactly. Then we aren't as able to problem-solve, because we're so afraid.

Bottom line: it’s normal to catastrophize about the future of child with challenges, but there are simple strategies that can help you manage it.

 

Stay Up to Date

Get our newest tips, articles & videos
delivered to your inbox.
Click Here!

More Maintain Healthy Relationships