Today we are talking about parenting stress.
Most of the time, being a parent is great. It’s rewarding. It is fun. It is everything you’ve ever imagined it would be.
But, there are those other times, when you’re at the end of your rope, just waiting for the day to end so you can spend one hour alone with your thoughts, waiting for the day to finish so you can start it all over again tomorrow, just after you gather some more strength.
Parenting Stress: 10 tips to improve your life
This article is meant to help you make it through those tough times. Here are ten tips and tricks that can make your life as a parent easier, backed up by concrete evidence.
Get to know yourself
Fear not; this isn’t going to be something deeply philosophical. All this advice means is – find out what works for you, what gets you the most relaxed in the shortest amount of time.
If you get the most enjoyment out of watching some trashy TV, then so be it. Cozy video games? Great. Screaming pop hits at the top of your lungs while you’re driving alone? Even greater.
You are the only one who knows what works for you. Treat yourself.
Give yourself (more) time
Are you familiar with Murphy’s Law? The one that says that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”?
If you haven’t experienced this ever-present universal law by now, you most definitely will as a parent. In practice, this means that life, in general, is much more unpredictable than we tend to think, and it becomes even more so once kids enter your life.
Sometimes, all the preparation you do won’t be enough for you to manage to leave the house on time. Nose bleeds and temper tantrums and many other things you couldn’t possibly even imagine can and will happen. And that is OK.
Parenting stress – Do not neglect yourself
As a devoted parent, your first instinct will always be to put your kids’ needs above your own. While this is an admirable quality, do not forget that you are only human and have wants and needs.
You should eat well, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Doing so is particularly essential during the most stressful times.
Learn to filter out the bad news
Ever wondered why all the news headlines lately have become so clickbait-y and why everything has to be shocking, tragic, or amazingly awful to grab our attention?
The reason for this is that we as humans have become too inert when it comes to news, and only the extremes grab our attention.
Now, while this might be fine and dandy for someone who is not a parent, we as parents tend to zone in on the bad news that we perceive as bad things that might happen to our kids. Now, combine this with the fact that the human brain cannot comprehend just how big the world really is, and you might find yourself worrying over things that are beyond your control and beyond your country’s borders.
Learn to appreciate the good things in your life
Believe it or not, being happy is a skill that you can and should learn. While negative emotions can put our minds down a dark, hopeless spiral, the positive ones tend to have the opposite effect if we let them.
Focusing on the positive doesn’t require a complete makeover of your personality. All you have to do is learn to recognize and appreciate the good in your day to day life. A bus that came when you were sure that you’re running late? Your child smiled at you? Your significant other gave you an unprompted hug?
Take note of these things and remember them when times get tough.
Control your empathy
Out of all the advice listed here, this one might be the hardest one to follow. When your kid is suffering, you feel their pain, and it’s only normal to want to do something to make that pain go away, for the both of you.
However, a study has demonstrated that parents (in particular mothers) that experience this phenomenon of so-called affective empathy suffer from a significant amount of stress, which causes them to become snappish, harsh, or controlling.
In essence, this means that sometimes you need to resist the urge to fight your kid’s battles. Let them figure out some things on their own. In the long run, this will be beneficial to both of you.
Teach kids how to handle the problems on their own
We aren’t born with the ability to self-regulate our emotions. The same is true for social skills, empathy, and self-control. Proactive parents can teach their children these skills, making life more comfortable along the way.
When discussing emotions with your kid, be calm, respectful, and upbeat. This will assure your child that emotions are something they can and should talk about with you. As your kid grows older, you’ll see how valuable it is to know what your child feels and thinks.
Parenting stress – Don’t be afraid to speak up
If something is bothering you, it is essential to talk to someone near and dear to you about it. Most importantly, confide in your significant other, but don’t put all the pressure of your troubles on them, since they are most likely facing the same issues you are. Instead, work together on overcoming these obstacles.
You should also seek out help and guidance from other parents. If there aren’t any in your family, consider joining a parenting group. Sometimes, just knowing that other people are going through the same troubles as you are can help.
Seek help if you need it for parenting stress
Sometimes, all of the things listed above simply aren’t enough. Luckily, some professionals can provide guidance, tools, and strategies to help you deal with parenting stress.
Parenting is an ever-evolving skill. Besides, each kid is an individual from the moment they are born, with a unique set of needs, demands, problems, and rewards. It’s OK to seek help if you feel overwhelmed.
With that in mind, here’s the ultimate piece of advice.
Treat your kid as the unique individual they are
Peer pressure doesn’t only affect kids. Parents can feel it, too.
Don’t be discouraged if your kid isn’t the star athlete, the most popular kid in the kindergarten, or the star pupil. That has no impact on their future.
And, and this is more important, your kid is perfect just the way they are.
I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveller, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.
If ou have found this post on parenting stress to be useful you might also like my post on Create Your Own Calm