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'Outdaughtered': What's Wrong With Parker Busby?

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'Outdaughtered': What's Wrong With Parker Busby?

Fans of the Busby quints have been watching the girls grow up ever since they were tiny babies. The Outdaughtered family has been open about the joys of being a large, unconventional family as they move through life with six daughters, five of whom are exactly the same age.

RELATED: 'Outdaughtered:' How To Tell The Busby Quints Apart

But the joys also come with struggles and it can be heartbreaking to watch when any of the quits have trouble in their lives. Parker, the youngest of the quints, sometimes shows signs of anxiety on the show. It's, of course, always hard for the audience to see a little girl struggle and it causes her parents to worry about her as well. Mom Danielle and dad Adam have been trying to help Parker learn to work through her emotions but there are always ups and downs.

What's wrong with Parker Busby?

Parker gets anxious.

In season six of Outdaughtered, the Busby parents took Parker to an occupational therapist to try and figure out the root of some of her fears and strong emotional responses. Danielle explained to the therapist that Parker was struggling with new experiences or excessive attention from people she doesn't know. "Parker hates new things and being in the spotlight," said Danielle. The result of high-stress situations is usually an age-typical meltdown and refusing to participate in whatever activity triggers the anxiety. 


A post shared by Danielle Busby (@dbusby) on Jun 16, 2020 at 6:38pm PDT

Parker playing in the snow in 2020 

Performing on stage is a non-starter.

Stage fright is one manifestation of anxiety that nearly anyone can relate to. In one episode of the family's show, the quints performed an adorable rendition of "Jingle Bells" but it was too much for Parker. Instead of singing along, she stood beside her sisters and cried. Dad Adam told the camera that the situation as so typical for Parker that he was starting to think that it as more than just the kind of stage fright that many people experience. 

Going to the dentist is scary for her, too.

In another incident, Parker couldn't stop crying during a dental visit. Once again, this is the kind of anxiety that almost anyone can relate to. Dentist visits can be very unsettling and for a child who doesn't know what to expect it can be even scarier. And for Parker, who has trouble getting comfortable with new people and new situations, the whole experience was a prime trigger for her anxiety. She calmed down once her mom was able to be in the room with her but Danielle Busby often has to split her time between five other sisters so it's hard for her to be there for everyone. 


A post shared by Danielle Busby (@dbusby) on Jan 16, 2019 at 7:35pm PST

In 2019, Parker didn't want her parents to leave for a date night. 

At one point, Parker's anxiety started to interfere with her education.

When anxiety is limited to situations like performing on stage or going to the dentist, it can be easier to manage. It's possible to structure a life so that you never have to sing in front of an audience and dentist visits are really only twice a year. But for Parker, her anxiety slowly creeped into her daily life and began worrying her parents. In particular, they were concerned about how her anxiety was affecting her progress in school. Parker doesn't have trouble learning but when she had to do end-of-year testing to be sure she was ready to advance to kindergarten, her anxiety got in the way. She struggled to show her teacher that she was ready for the next step in school and there was a question about whether she would move up with her sisters. 

Ultimately, the family and the teachers decided she was ready to move ahead on schedule but it's clear Parker's anxiety it going to be something she and her family need to anticipate and understand. 

They've already spoken with an occupational therapist.

The Busby parents are being proactive in their approach to helping Parker. They have already consulted an occupational therapist about her anxiety, something Adam was looking forward to doing. "I'm glad we're taking this step," he told the cameras. "I'm just hoping we come away from it with a better understanding of how we can help her."

At the time, Parker was only four years old and the therapist suggested doing things that would get her used to experiencing new situations as well as things that would teach her to regulate her emotions and her responses to them. "Things that I think you can do is to just work on expanding those opportunities to play with other kids," the therapist said. "Taking her to the park, yoga, that can help her learn to become calm."

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What's next for Parker Busby?

The occupational therapist visit happened before the trouble Parker had with school testing so the Busbys may be weighing their options for further treatment for their daughter. Ongoing therapy was suggested at that visit and it might be something Parker needs in order to help her along the way in the future, So far, Outdaughtered hasn't shown Parker seeing a therapist but the season isn't finished yet. We may learn more about how the Busby family continues to help Parker manage her anxiety as the season progresses. 

Outdaughtered airs on TLC on Tuesday nights. 

RELATED: Meet 'Mimi,' The Beloved Mom Of 'Outdaughtered' Star Danielle Busby

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.