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Managing Stress as a Parent

The Key to Managing Parenting Stress Better

Parenting is HARD. From the moment your child is born, they rely on you for everything they want and need. It is a full-time 365 day a year job with no pay or vacations. While this role can be very rewarding and fulfilling, it does come with increased worry and responsibility, which can lead to increased stress.

Are you a parent and finding yourself struggling to manage the stress that comes with this incredible responsibility? If you find yourself frequently overwhelmed, responding to your child/ren in ways you feel bad about (yelling, name calling, smacking, ignoring them, etc.), or feel you cannot manage your child/ren’s behavior, you may benefit from learning new strategies to help you cope with parenting stressors.

While there are many coping tools available to help you manage these stressors differently, it may surprise you that this ONE thing can help improve all parent/child relationships and address your child’s behavior more effectively. We believe the key to better parenting and managing stress more effectively as parents comes down to managing your own emotions and reactivity as a parent.

Let’s face it, some days children want to listen better than others. Sometimes they’re having a bad day, don’t feel well, are tired, or trying to express themselves in ways that you feel may not be appropriate. Perhaps they’re going through a phase where they seem to be repeating the same problematic behavior regardless of consequences. No matter what the behavior might be, how YOU manage and express your emotions in the situation is essential.

Children look to their parents and guardians for guidance on all things, especially emotional regulation and coping tools. The way they learn is through you, therefore how we manage stress surrounding their behavior ends up teaching THEM how to behave. If you are typically one to yell when angry, your child may start to yell back at you or at others when they are feeling upset. If you and your partner push one another when you’re fighting, your child will begin to learn that it’s “okay” to show their frustration or hurt the same way.

Parenting requires us to look inward and be honest about the areas we need to work on within ourselves. For many parents, that means looking at their own coping tools and ability to respond to stress in healthy ways, and seeking support in these areas. If you are finding parenting challenging, and feel you’re not showing up as a parent the way you would like to, it may be time to work on your emotional reactivity. Consider taking a few deep breaths before responding to behavior, putting yourself in a 10 minute “time out” away from your child if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, and/or asking a partner to step in and help if you feel you’re not being effective. These things can drastically reduce the risk of responding in ways we later regret or feel bad about.

If you are wondering how to begin managing your own emotional reactivity differently or feel you could benefit from learning additional coping tools, reach out to us today. We are here and ready to support you on your journey to becoming a healthier and more effective parent.