Practical help for anxious and worried parents

Patricia Holbrook of Soaring With Him Ministries

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Patricia Holbrook of Soaring With Him Ministries

Throughout our daughters’ teenage years, I often talked to friends and acquaintances who would make discouraging statements that reflected their parenting experience with teens.

“I am sorry for you.” “Brace yourself for a rough ride!” “Nothing prepared me for this.” I heard statements like these constantly while talking to others as I embarked on the journey of mothering a teenage girl for the first time.

But my experience was nothing like people warned me about. I cannot say that I had no encounters with sassy attitudes and dramatic outbursts. And yes, we certainly had to deal with anxiety, heartbreaks and fears. But for the most part, our firstborn’s teenage years were, well, easy. She was kind, even-tempered, a great student, and a thoughtful big sister.

And then, adulthood arrived.

Our daughter’s transition into adulthood happened as the world shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of the enormous changes happening all around her, she faced a difficult situation that broke her heart. Day after day, I watched my once lively girl shut down.

For the first time as a mom, I felt helpless. Useless even. I could not kiss this booboo away. It was absolutely, undeniably out of my control.

I turned to God, crying out daily for my child. But heaven fell silent, or so it seemed. And so, this momma grew increasingly worried with every passing day.

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Jesus in Matthew 6 – Sermon of the Mount.

Oh, I knew better. I can quote many Bible verses where God reminds his children “not to fear, for he is with them.” These words (or a variation of the concept) are written over 300 times throughout Scriptures.

I also know Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, when he spoke much about worry. And yet, what do good parents do when their children are hurt and they cannot do anything to help?

They worry and become anxious — yes, even those with strong faith.

The issue is that worrying only exacerbates the situation. Anxious parents breed anxiety in their children. Therefore, if we desire to help our children through anxious times, regardless of their age, we must learn how to “reframe worry.”

That is what counselor and author Sissy Goff aims to accomplish in her new books, “The Worry-Free Parent — Living in Confidence So Your Kids Can Too” and “The Worry-Free Parent Workbook.”

Goff is the director of child and adolescent counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville. She is also the author of 13 books and a frequent guest on media outlets such as NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Focus on the Family, Fox News, and many more.

During my interview with Goff for my podcast, she revealed that never in her 30 years of counseling has she seen the increase in childhood anxiety as in the past five years. National research from Georgetown University Health Policy Institute of March 2023 reveals that anxiety has increased exponentially in children ages 3-17 since 2018, and by 2020, 5.6 million children (9.2%) had been diagnosed with anxiety.

Another study reveals that children of anxious parents are seven times more likely to become anxious themselves. Goff’s new book addresses this escalating issue and offers practical strategies for parents to reduce worry for themselves and their children.

She addresses parents who, like me, want to find effective, practical ways to help their children in these anxious times:

“Parents today are trying harder than ever to do all they can to love their kids. I would tell the struggling, concerned parent, ‘I see you. You’re brave enough to look at how your life impacts your kids.’ Because I truly believe that parents who examine their own lives and deal with their own stuff are giving the very best gift to the next generation.”

“Where was this book three years ago?” was the question on my mind as I reviewed the book in preparation for our conversation.

Indeed, few times are our faith and emotions more tested than when our children suffer. I thank God for resources like this book and others, which, along with God’s timeless truth in His word, offer comfort, perspective, and practical guidance for the journey.

Listen to or watch Patricia’s interview with Sissy by searching God-Sized Stories with Patricia Holbrook on all podcast platforms or YouTube. Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, podcaster and international speaker. Visit her new website: For speaking engagements and comments, email