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As a parent, you are juggling everything from work deadlines and keeping the house clean to making sure your kids brush their teeth. New parents are navigating concerns they have never experienced as they figure out life with a baby. Even as your baby grows, teenage years can bring new sources of anxiety. On top of it all, many families face tensions surrounding financial and safety concerns.
By understanding your stress sources and finding ways to cope with your emotions, you can successfully manage it long term. As you manage your stress, you will model positive coping skills
that your children can use in their own lives.
What Causes Stress
Experiencing stress as a parent is completely normal
. However, according to Psychology Today
, “parents with high stress demonstrate less warmth, lower levels of responsiveness, less affection, and are more likely to use discipline that is (…) harsh.”
Feelings of limited time or energy
due to work/life demands, busy schedules, and a lack of sleep, can exacerbate anxiety.
With limitless information online, in books, and from people in your life, it can be overwhelming to get answers when you have parenting questions. This age of unlimited data causes more stress as parents or sources may share differing advice.
Tips to Manage Stress
Talking through issues allows you to put “feelings into words and process
” the things that are happening. By discussing age-appropriate topics with your family, you can take the opportunity to discuss your emotions and create solutions. For concerns that should not be discussed with your kids, consider writing out your feelings in a journal
, or calling someone you trust.
By unpacking your thoughts out loud, you are normalizing conversations about feelings and labeling emotions
with your kids. Working through these emotions may also help you identify the root causes of your stress
Stay Organized, but Not Overscheduled
By getting organized, you will experience less last-minute stress. Spend time on Sunday night, writing down any deadlines, extracurricular activities, and social events that you have planned for the week. If the kids have school projects or field trips, make sure that you have noted any equipment that they might need prepared ahead of time.
A family calendar is a simple tool that allows you to map out your time visually. Use our free downloadable daily planner to schedule day-to-day routines and activities.
By eating healthy, staying active, and getting enough sleep, you can reduce cortisol and adrenaline
linked to stress. Additionally, taking care of your physical health will help you fight illnesses.
Take time to connect with the members of your family. Building a trusting relationship with your children can create secure attachment relationships that reduce the effects of stress on them.
Mary Alvord, Ph.D.,
suggests creating a “compliment basket,” where each family member writes something nice about others. While you eat dinner, pull out compliments and read them together. Going on walks in the evening or starting a bedtime routine lets you discuss your child’s day and gives you extra time to connect.
Talk to Other Parents
Connecting with other parents can help you discover that you share stresses and are facing similar issues. Talking it out with people who understand what you are going through can help you find social support
You might enjoy joining a book club in our neighborhood or finding a class at a local fitness facility that allows you to connect with like-minded people. Schools, community centers, and places of worship often have groups for parents or organized activities. Similarly, the National Parent Helpline has a list of resources
As discussed in our article, Self-Care for Parents
, it’s important to understand that parents can more readily help others when their own needs are met. Some ways to practice self-care include finding a form of movement or exercise that you enjoy or spending some time unplugging from the internet.
Alternatively, reading a book while you drink your coffee or cleaning up before bed so that you wake up to a tidy home are all small moments that will allow you to recharge your batteries.
Ask for Help
If you feel overwhelmed and unable to manage your stress, reach out to a professional
. Your family doctor or therapist are great places to start exploring your options.
Some resources include the Parent Toolkit
, Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist
resource, and BetterHelp.
For co-parents, finding a service that helps keep them accountable is a way that can reduce stress by improving communication.
TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.