When anxiety affects your child, it can be truly distressing. As a parent, it can be overwhelming, feeling like you have no control over your child’s happiness.
With her background as a counsellor and teacher, Marcelle Nader started The Anxiety Project for Parents to help parents first understand themselves and their own anxieties, allowing them to better understand their children and assist them in building positive support strategies to combat anxiety.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
As a counsellor working in a school, my days are filled with anxious children and teenagers. This area of mental health has really exploded over the last few years and it’s a serious issue for our young people. One of the things that is fundamental to children’s view of themselves and the world is how their parents respond to it. So if a parent is anxious or worried about something, this directly influences how their child feels about it too. This programme is about helping parents to understand themselves and their own anxieties so that they can then be more productive at helping their children with theirs. Having a child who suffers from anxiety can be crippling for the whole family. Every day is a challenge. So giving the parents the best tools to help themselves is by far the best way to help their child.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
My background is in teaching, working predominantly with children and families who need extra support around emotions, understanding behaviours and parenting. After I completed a Masters in counselling, I began working with 11- to 18-year-olds in a different way, obviously.
Since then, I have done and do a lot of parent seminars, with a real emphasis on noticing what our own parenting behaviours are and how changing some of these really makes a massive difference to the emotional state and behaviour of our children.
This then led me to think about how I could get this information to more families and help more parents and children live better, freer lives.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I guess it was the realisation that there are so many people who really need this kind of assistance, but also that people assume that if a child has anxiety, then the child should get some help. That’s true, but the best and most significant way to help is actually for the parents to do the work on themselves, learn about what their own anxieties are and then work with their child on ways through. It’s all about giving people new skills and insights.