It’s not a secret. Parenting is a stressful job. What happens when stress becomes too overwhelming? Is there a point at which normal parenting stress is too much?
Sometimes, a little bit of stress can be beneficial. It can help you adapt and grow, and to expand your horizons or change your perspective. It can strengthen your personal relationships.
If stress is affecting your health or if it has a negative effect on your parenting style, family, and kids, it may be time to make changes. These are some things you can do to reduce stress if you are a parent.
Recognize the Signs
First, recognize the signs and symptoms. You may believe you are not stressed but your body may be telling you otherwise.
Do you feel the effects of stress on your physical and emotional health, such as headaches or stomachaches, gastrointestinal problems, stomachaches, or back pain? Do you find yourself relying more on your coping strategies (healthy or not, such as three glasses of wine per evening or more time alone) than usual?
Every person experiences stress differently. Knowing your stress symptoms can help you manage your stress as a parent.
Focus on the real cause of your stress
Try to identify the root cause of your stress if you can. Sometimes, it’s not as simple as it seems. It’s possible that your stress is not caused by your child’s behavior or because you spend more time with them than usual.
Perhaps it’s more likely that you have lost your “me time” or stopped exercising, which can adversely impact your mental health.
Your stress might not be related to your child. It could be related to money, work or relationships with your partner. However, your child’s mischievous behavior may seem 10x worse due to these other areas.
Instead of blaming your frustrations on your parent identity, instead, focus your efforts on the root cause. Next, take action to resolve those issues. This could be enrolling in marriage counselling with your spouse or hiring a babysitter two times a week so that you can go to the gym with a friend.
Recognize your own psychological responses
Recognizing that a bad habit exists is the first step in breaking it. You can identify the root cause of your stress and identify the symptoms that are causing it. Then you can identify patterns in your behavior. Perhaps you fight with your partner every time you have a bad work day. Perhaps the kids find it a bit more difficult to deal with when you don’t do your morning yoga.
You can break the patterns once you begin to identify patterns in your emotions and behavior. Perhaps you are realizing that yoga is a must-do activity in the morning. Perhaps you need to ask your spouse for some quiet time before you go. This will help you avoid potential arguments that could arise from your high emotions.
Set up a Support System
Finally, build a support network for yourself. Although this is not an easy task, it is worth the effort. Talking to your partner, talking to a therapist for an hour twice per month, or talking with your children’s teachers or caregivers about your difficulties is a good way to let people in your life know you are having trouble and might need some extra support.
Even if the person you talk to isn’t able or willing to help directly, they might be able point you in the right direction.