SURVIVAL TIPS FOR THE STRESS THAT COMES WITH PARENTHOOD
There is no question that being a parent is the toughest job in the world and comes with the least recognition. Parents are expected to play so many roles and often are feeling overwhelmed and out of their depth.
The past 18 months have seen the pressure parents are facing multiply significantly due to COVID. Parents have had to cope with their regular support systems being removed and having to wear a greater number of hats than ever before.
With so many parents looking for support and guidance on how to navigate these difficult times and parental stress in general, I hope that these tips will help you to feel more in control and on top of things.
1) HAVING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF YOURSELF
We live in a world of constant comparisons and social media allows us to see glimpses into our friends’ and families’ worlds. The picture we often see is that everything is perfect, colour coordinated and calm. What I see in my practice however is that this is often not the full story and the images we are holding ourselves up to emulate are often not realistic for ourselves. It can help to alleviate some pressure by thinking about what specific parts of parenting you struggle with and consider if there is anything you could do to lighten the load in these areas.
2) INCREASING YOUR CHILDREN’S INDEPENDENCE IN DAILY TASKS
Many parents struggle with the feeling that they are responsible for all of their child’s self care and routine. Whilst this is to be expected with little ones, the pressure doesn’t always disappear as children grow. One idea that can help is to see what tasks can be set up so your children can attend to them without you. Eg: Set up breakfast as being self serving. The night before have out anything your child would need and have a shelf in the fridge and the pantry where all the breakfast items live. Over time they will grow in their ability to do this for themselves.
3) LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF
When feeling completely overwhelmed, it is almost impossible to attend to anything properly. It is crucially important that parents take time for themselves even for a few moments when they feel out of control to be able to calm down and get back on track. It is ok to say to your children that you are unavailable for a few minutes. Building a support system of good people around you is a vital component in looking after yourself as a parent.
Remember that your children being safe and loved is what matters and if that is all that is manageable at times, that is completely fine.
Written by Ariella Lew – Kids on Track Consultancy – https://www.kidsontrackconsultancy.com/
Ariella Lew is a highly qualified paediatric nurse and Director of Kids on Track Consultancy. Ariella consults both locally and overseas. She is an expert on topics including parenting, behaviour, family dynamics, sleep and toilet training. She also has specialisation in providing strategies for families of children with special needs.