Children learn how to act and react significantly based on the "models" in their world (parents, teachers, peers, siblings, etc). Research has shown that some parents of anxious children, especially if they are anxious themselves, have an anxious interpretation of the world, or view it as frightening. When parents hold this view of the world as threatening, they likely will suggest that their children avoid situations rather than approach them. It's difficult to know which comes first, anxious child then protective parent or cautious parent then anxious child, the answer is likely a little bit of both. Many parents want to protect their child from anxiety, but then kids don't have opportunities to learn new skills or practice them. However, even if a parent is anxious, and can show their child how to be worried and do it anyway, this helps their child know that anxiety is not dangerous and can be coped with.
Brought to you by The Children's and Adult Center for OCD and Anxiety.