We all know that there are times when we feel stressed due to the many demands of being a parent. It can feel like your kids know exactly the right buttons to press, and when!
How do you stop blowing your top? How can you make parenting less stressful? It is possible!
Give yourself permission to take some pressure off by trying these nine simple strategies:
#1: Focus On What You Can Change
Recognise the difference between the things you can change and those you can’t change.
Don’t waste time and energy worrying about the things you can’t change and concentrate on what you do have some control over.
#2: Look At Concerns, Problems Or Issues Objectively
What is the worst that could happen if you allow it or overlook it? In the “big picture” is it worth all the stress it is creating? Maybe it’s not a problem at all?
#3: Remember That Children Are Not “Bad”
It’s just that sometimes their behaviour is not what you would like. Congratulate yourself and your child at times when their behaviour is what you like.
#4: Know That All Behaviour Has A Hidden Meaning
Don’t just look at what the child is doing/not doing now that you’re not happy with. Think about what has led up to this situation, consider your own actions and ask the child some questions. How is the child feeling? Has something happened to cause this behaviour? What does the child need? You may find that there is a pattern. In any case, it is usually easier to deal with problematic behaviour if you know what is behind it.
#5: Take A Few Seconds
Before you react to a situation, take a few seconds to calm yourself down.
Use it as an opportunity to think about the words you will use or the actions you will take. Consider the effect on the other person of what you are going to say and how you will say it. It’s amazing how a potentially explosive situation can be diffused by 10-20 seconds of silence!
#6: Simplify Your Daily Activities
Prioritise tasks, keeping the children’s needs and your needs in mind. Does it really matter if the children’s clothes don’t get ironed? Do you really need to go out to the shops today? What is the most important thing for you to get done today?
#7: What Behaviour Do You Want To See?
Is there is a particular type of behaviour you would like to see in your children?
An example of this might be good manners. Instead of continually reminding them about saying ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’, simply be their role model and say it yourself every time. Children copy what they hear and what they see.
#8: Make Family Social Activities Less Stressful
Keeping family social activities child-friendly and appropriate to the children’s ages.
A three-year-old is unlikely to be able to sit still in a café, theatre or restaurant for two hours. A trip to the park or children’s library might be easier to manage.
#9. Remember That Children Are Not ‘Mini-Adults’
They don’t have the same material expectations and needs as adults, and they are not capable of making decisions about everything. So remember to treat your children as children and keep it simple. They do want and need your love and guidance above all else.