Help! My kids are driving me crazy! — Tips on how to deal with parenting stress
What do you do when your kids are driving you crazy? We share with you some tips for dealing with parenting stress.
Life is stressful as it is, but entering the world of parenthood can usher in unimaginable bouts of anxiety and strain — enough to test the patience of a saint.
Whether you are handling a colicky newborn, a whining toddler, or a troubled teenager (or all three!), frazzled nerves and ruffled feathers definitely come with the full-time job of being a parent.
All these, combined with a severe case of sleep-deprivation, can easily turn your home into a crazy circus show.
In such situations, it’s normal to lose your cool. But venting anger in a wrong way can easily leave physical and emotional scars on your children.
In fact, shaking an infant — even for just one heated moment — can easily lead to death.
That’s why even in the face of extreme anger and exasperation, it is important for us to stay calm and collected.
However, counting 1 to 10 when you are about to throw a royal fit is not that simple, and may not even work most times.
That’s why we’re sharing these 10 tips to help you deal with parenting stress:
1. Take charge of your emotions
While this may be difficult to do when you are just about to hit the roof, take a moment to breathe deeply and remember the times you were successful in controlling your emotions.
Keep in mind that we all have the power to change our moods — you just need to have a reminder that it is possible, despite seemingly intolerable aggravations and provocations brought about your little one’s actions and/or words.
2. Be prepared
Beat anxiety attacks by being prepared for whatever life may bring. This includes having a least a month’s worth of salary tucked away for a rainy day.
You also need to make sure you have ample emergency supplies such as water, food, and a first aid kit, in case of any untoward incidents like flooding during heavy rains, which may lead you to feel even more stressed.
3. Identify what triggers your anger
Self-awareness is important. Keep a journal for recording those situations when you feel like you are about to fly off the handle.
See if you can notice a certain pattern such as a particular time of day, or ‘triggers’ like lack of sleep/exercise, hunger levels, or an extra busy calendar. Even the noise level of your TV can significantly contribute to emotional outbursts.
Taking note of such things will help you understand your emotions better so you can be more at peace with yourself — and with your kids, of course!
4. Take care of yourself
This tip is somewhat related to tip no. 3. More often than not, anger is often due to our reaction to a certain situation, which is surprisingly triggered by simple aggravators such as hunger and lack of sleep.
So, to help you avoid parenting stress, make sure to get enough shuteye at night, and to start off a busy day with a light breakfast. Continue to eat healthy and energy-giving food throughout the day, and to rest whenever you can.
Remember: You can’t take care of your kids if you don’t take care of yourself!
5. Keep a regular routine of meditation and/or prayer
To help you calm your chaotic mind and frazzled nerves, make sure to allocate at least 15 minutes a day to simply sit quietly and meditate (or pray, if you’re into it). This will help you keep everything in perspective.
6. Understand your children
This may be surprising but there is actually a reason behind your child’s seemingly obnoxious act, tantrum, or mischievous prank. Oftentimes, there is a developmental milestone that is usually associated with your kid’s behavior.
Take time to understand the underlying reasons. This will help you develop a better sense of compassion, empathy and, ultimately, tolerance.
7. Take deep breaths
There is actually a scientific explanation behind this tried and tested advice.
Diaphragmatic breathing effectively reduces stress and will give you enough time to make a more rational assessment of any situation.
It will also help you regain a stronger sense of control.
8. Visualise who you want to be
Imagine yourself as a calm and cool person as you strive to be one. This may be easier said than done though.
You can start off by visualising a person who best embodies your desired traits of patience and tolerance. Now imagine how that person would likely react in a particular situation.
9. Stop, think, then speak/act
Just when you feel anger swelling up within you, remind yourself of the importance of keeping a firm control of your emotions.
Avoid picking up the baby (or talking to your older child), ask for help, or wait until you regain your composure.
10. Consciously lower your voice
Shouting will only serve to scare your young child. Try to keep your voice even and maintain a soft tone to exude calmness, even if you are tempted to do otherwise.
For more suggestions on how to deal with parenting stress, check out these suggestions shared by other parents on Facebook.
Have you other nuggets of wisdom for handling parenting stress? Do let us know by leaving a comment!