Stress is perfectly normal and incredibly common for all of us. When you’re a parent, however, you might feel as though the stress never ends. Unfortunately, that can sometimes lead to lashing out at your family when you don’t mean to.
Children are often challenging. Any parent would say that. And, while some stress is unavoidable, there are ways to manage it that can help you to keep your cool. Not only is learning how to keep calm in times of stress good for your family, but it’s better for you, too.
So, how can you manage your stress as a parent and keep your cool when it really counts?
Take a Breath
One of the best things you can do when you feel yourself about to lose your cool is to take a step back from the situation. This can take quite a bit of discipline, but it can make all the difference internally and in your relationships.
Removing yourself from the stressful situation, even for a few minutes, can help you to check in with your emotions. Ask yourself what has made you so upset. Try to really gauge how you’re feeling and why. When you are better in tune with your own emotions, you can keep them under control.
That doesn’t mean you should hide or suppress your emotions. But, there are usually better ways of handling them than losing it with people you love.
Listen to Your Children
Once you’ve calmed down and de-escalated your emotions, take the time to listen to what your children have to say. If you are calm, they’re more likely to be calm as they explain things to you, too.
This sets the tone for a less stressful environment. You’ll find that you can get more accomplished with a calm, productive conversation than you ever would by yelling or making demands that may fall on deaf ears. When everyone feels heard and understood, feelings are less likely to be hurt, so you can get to the bottom of the issue.
Don’t Let Their Emotions Fuel You
If your children are upset, angry, or sad, don’t let their emotions roll infect your reaction negatively. Respond with calmness and kindness. What you give to them, they are likely to give back in return. By letting their emotions take over yours, you’re more likely to continue to argue back and forth. Nothing gets accomplished that way, and you will only continue to build up stress.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the best ways to keep your cool in stressful situations is to be more mindful, overall. Again, stress is just a part of life. But, it doesn’t have to completely take over your life. Claim a few minutes each day to meditate or practice mindfulness. Take deep breaths and focus on them. Let your thoughts come and go freely for a few minutes at a time, instead of hanging on to them.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t address the needs of your children or help them work through their problems when you are completely drained and overwhelmed. In fact, when your energy levels are low, you’re more likely to lash out.
So, make self-care a priority in your life. It can help you to have more energy and feel less stressed, even when situations feel tense or fraught with conflict.
By keeping your cool when you’re stressed (even when you don’t feel like it), you’re setting an important example for your children. When they see you reacting and coping positively, they’re more likely to start adopting those habits, too. Over time feeling stressed out will and disagreeable will become far less automatic and ongoing. Furthermore, stress-management and coping skills will stick with your children for the rest of their lives.
If you’re ready to make a lasting impact on your emotions, your family, and your children’s well-being please contact us for a consultation.