Social Anxiety and Parenting

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi i really need some help. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I do know that i am very depressed but i think it could be more that depression. I am not coping with everyday life. I am a single mum living with my parents because my boyfriend finished our relationship when i was 5 months pregnant. My son is now 18 months.

But i am so lonely i don’t have any friends or anyone i can talk to. I also don’t get on with my parents we argue about silly things like house work. But i also feel that they don’t like me. They constantly criticize me as mother. When i am trying the best i can as a single mum.

They say that Im a bad mum cause i don’t take my son out alone. (which i don’t) i take him out plenty of places but i always need to be with someone else. I can’t even bare the thought of taking him out on my own and i don’t know why. I don’t do anything on my own. Its not that i don’t know how to look after him cause of course i do. I guess i just feel ever anxious at the thought of it. But this is causing a massive divid Im my family. My parents call me a disgrace all. To be honest i think they hate me. I am so unhappy and so lonely. I really need so help. Thanks

A: I’m sure your parents mean well but name-calling never helped anyone. It sounds like all of you are in a situation you didn’t plan for and can’t really cope with. Your parents now have you and a toddler living with them. They are trying to be helpful but it isn’t what they had in mind for this stage in their lives. They may resent it more than they even can admit to themselves.

On your side: I think you are suffering from social anxiety. You were abandoned by the man you loved when you were pregnant and are now overwhelmed. You are uncertain about your skills as a mom and your folks are making you even more nervous. No wonder you cling to someone else when you have to venture out of the house. You need some specific help to manage the anxiety. And you need to connect with other mums to get the kind of mum-to-mum support that we all need and enjoy when our kids are young.

Please see a counselor to help with the anxiety. Then look for a support group or play group for you and your child. There is nothing so reassuring as talking to other parents who have children who are the same age. You might check www.netmums.com as a place to start. Local churches or your child’s pediatrician may also be able to help you find a group.

This is a special time for you and your son. Please take care of yourself so you can feel better and so you can be the mother he deserves.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jul 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Social Anxiety and Parenting. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/07/18/social-anxiety-and-parenting/