You’re drained from another sleepless night with your newborn, frustrated with your middle schooler who’s failing math and at your wits end with the toddler who decided crayon drawings belonged on the wall. Parenting is supposed to be joyful – so why is it so exhausting?
Raising children is a challenge, no matter how experienced you are. It’s an enormous task that doesn’t come with clear instructions. There will be angry moments, defeated moments and moments where you just want to quit. And yet, parenting doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you find yourself in a constant state of stress, we offer these five tips:
It’s easier said than done, but children learn their coping skills by watching how their parents react to hard situations. Stay calm and do whatever you must do to ensure immunity against kids who want to push your buttons. Timeout isn’t just for the naughty toddler’s sake, after all. If you feel your stress levels and frustration quickly escalating, take your child by the hand,
guide them gently to a 5 minute timeout, then release your anger into a pillow. Slowly, your child will learn that Mommy and Daddy don’t have tantrums, and neither should they.
Manage your expectations.
You may worry about how your kids will turn out – most parents do. And yet, wishing for perfect children is unrealistic and can harm the relationship you do have with your kids. Love them, encourage them and allow them to grow at their own pace. More importantly, have confidence in your kids. When you believe they will succeed, your outlook, tone and connection with them will change and can even help them get there.
Take a break, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Raising a family is no easy task, and it’s a 24/7 job. Everyone deserves a vacation. Hire a babysitter to get out of the house, visit a therapist to let your feelings go, or simply call a friend to vent. Sometimes, a quick mental break can help you regain composure.
Distraction is key.
It’s easy to lose your temper and yell at the 3-year-old for throwing their cereal at you, but sometimes words don’t work. Instead, redirect their attention. Remove the cereal and avoid a tantrum with a quick walk outside or a discussion about the interesting bird you suddenly noticed on the windowsill. By the time they return to eating, the spark in their “game” will be gone.
Create good moments.
Bring peace into your home by spending quality time with the kids playing games, exploring the backyard, taking a drive, making dessert, crafting, washing the dog or shopping for clothes. Build a connection with your children so that the bad moments don’t outnumber the good. Healthy family relationships are built over time with love, care and empathy. Give each child one-on-one time, listen to what they have to say and allow your children to grow up in a safe, secure environment. That alone can kick stress out the door.