Parenting stress is a problem sometimes.
Ask any parent.
No matter how much joy and love we are able to experience because of our children, the truth is that regardless of what our parenting arrangement (whether you are a single parent with almost no help from anyone else, a married parent with a lot of help from your spouse and others, or somewhere in between), it would be safe to say that all parents experience it at times.
The problem is that stress affects our kids. And not in a good way. When parents are stressed, it spills over.
1. Remember that you are a guide to your children and you set their behavior by your example. So, breathe and act well in stressful moments.
2. Read the book called How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Maslish. It shares how to acknowledge when someone is upset instead of immediately trying to fix it.
3. Read Barbara Colorosso's Kids Are Worth It! Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline. Colorosso really teaches us about not getting into stupid power struggles with our kids. Parenting stress declines when we are not in power struggles with our kids.
4. Breathe deeply three times before losing our cool. A wise person once said that life is always better after three very deep breaths.
5. Rise a bit earlier than your children so you have some alone time and calm.
6. Focus on what your kids are saying while they are saying it (think of their words as gems and that their words are hugely important). Another great book is How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk.
7. Do one thing at a time. Don't drive while you are on your cell phone while you are listening to the radio etc. (it is not only illegal, but increases the sense of life being very very hectic)
8. Take a walk in nature with your kids, everyone will love it and it is worth the effort.
9. Simplify your life and your environment (think about how the cost and clutter of toys and other items add up causing a chaotic environment.
10. Don't over-activity your kids. Some parents are continuously rushing their kids around from one activity to the next without taking the time to talk to them and simply be with them. Get your kids involved in things that interest them, sure, but allow them (and you) free time for play also.
11. Create your community. Don't hesitate to seek support from friends, family or anyone else that can lend a helping hand when you need a bit of assistance with the many jobs of life and parenting.
12. It takes a village to raise a child (and family). Create your village by doing stuff with other families. Share a pot of soup, have a potluck, take a walk together, meet at a playground and share around some snacks and thermos of tea with other parents, you name it.
Written by Val Hemminger, long-suffering law boss at Hemminger Law Group Westshore