Note to Reader: Parenting is the most demanding responsibility in the world. Many of us are not prepared for the new levels of stress put upon us while raising children. I have learned that a parent sets the tone for the whole family…yet many of us forget to take care of our own needs. I love the following tips on parenting stress from Jill!
by Jill Hope
Parenting is one of the hardest roles to play. When coupled with jobs and household responsibilities, it’s no surprise that parents nowadays feel a great amount of stress. These stresses can take a toll on the best of parents, leaving them short on patience. This often leads parents to resort to shouting or saying things to their children they later regret. Unfortunately, our children absorb our stress; they are affected by our shouting and harsh words. They learn how to respond to life by modeling how we respond.
The bottom line is this: You have to get a handle on your reaction to stress. And the good news is: It’s never too late to make a positive change. In fact, “now” is the only time to do anything about it! You can’t change the past. You can’t take back the shouting or the negative words. That’s a fact. But you can act now to make things dramatically better for yourself and your kids. Wishing you didn’t do or say something, or planning on how you will act differently tomorrow do nothing to impact your life right now. All of your power is now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, only now.
So, let’s take a look at the 4 strategies you can implement right now to make an improvement for yourself and your kids when you feel you have “wronged” them with your words:
Strategy #1: Apologize to your children
Children are very forgiving. By apologizing to your kids, they learn to take responsibility for their actions. You acknowledge that YOU were responsible for your own behavior, and you show that you are taking steps to make amends.
Strategy #2: Forgive yourself
As a parent, you are responsible for raising another human being. You are their role model. With that said, you are also human. And human beings make mistakes. In fact, mistakes are one of the best ways to learn and improve. When you continue to hold on to the negative energy of self-abuse after making a mistake, your children will absorb this energy. They will learn that when they make a mistake, it is okay to continue beating themselves up about it. By acknowledging your mistake, learning from it, and then forgiving yourself for it and letting it go, you are letting go of the negative energy field that has formed around you. And you are also teaching your kids to forgive themselves.
Strategy #3: Make time to be “present” with yourself
With all of the demands on you, the last thing on your mind is probably finding time for yourself. But finding a consistent block of time to become quiet and settle in to yourself can take the intensity off your reactions. It can take you down a notch. When you feel anger bubbling up inside, you may find yourself better able to “soften” before you blow up. You’ll find it easier to put some space between your angry thoughts and your true, peaceful and loving self. Again, this is about “quality” time and not “quantity” of time. Ten minutes a day of sitting with yourself, closing your eyes, and quieting your mind by focusing on your breath is a huge step in the right direction.
Strategy #4: Start each day fresh
Each day you have an opportunity to make a fresh start; to act in a new way. If you’ve behaved in a way that you are not proud of, don’t dwell on it. Before you get out of bed, spend a few minutes thinking about how you want to day to unfold. Don’t focus on what you ‘don’t’ want to happen, only think about what you ‘do’ want to happen. Don’t think “I am not going to yell today”. Instead, think “I am going to remain calm and peaceful today.” Focusing how what you want to see, instead of what you don’t want to see, attracts that. If you focus on the negative, you attract the negative. There is a saying “that which you give your attention to expands.” Put your attention on what you want to see and watch it expand.
Make a commitment to yourself and your children to try these 4 strategies steps for the next 30 days and see what unfolds for you. When you can control your own stress, you model for your children how they can handle their stress. The power to change is before you right now, so get started and reap the benefits!
Jill is a parent, author, and creator of I Shine. I Shine offers programs that facilitate character building and spiritual development in children, as well as tools and teleseminars for parents that provide spiritual solutions to parenting problems.
To learn about I Shine’s character building and spiritual development programs, and to download my free report, “The 7 Mistakes Good Parents Make”, please visit http://ishinekids.com
Parents can incorporate relaxation techniques into their lives with Indigo Dreams:Adult Relaxation. Guided Relaxation Techniques and music help adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Calm parenting makes for calm children.