Bringing up children is not always easy and it can be stressful.
Here’s how to manage stress so that you stay calm when managing children’s behaviour.
Why it’s important to recognise stress
Being a parent/carer can be very rewarding but it can also be very challenging when your patience has run out, trying to deal with misbehaviour. When you reach that point, and you are exhausted or stressed you can make decisions that you regret, such as taking your frustration out on children. You may snap at them and shout or
have a lower tolerance for behaviours you would normally accept. Recognising when you are stressed allows you to seek help and take back some control.
It is useful to recognise the signs that you are close to your limit and to know how to stop yourself losing control.
The effect on children
You may not realise just how much children pick up on tension. They become worried and anxious and may choose to trigger a situation which relieves the tension rather than live with the uncertainty.
Children may find how you deal with stress frightening – hitting out, shouting or tensing muscles. If children witness this it can be scary and emotionally upsetting to a child to witness a parent becoming angry or losing control.
Children often think they are to blame for the outburst and this can damage their own emotional development.
How to manage stress
Identify the signs you are becoming stressed and try using these techniques to calm you.
- Count to 10 and take deep breaths
- Take time out. Walk away and take a few minutes out in another room or outside if you need air. Are you really angry at your child – or is it something else?
- Visualise somewhere calming like a beach.
- Remind yourself you are the adult and you are setting an example to your child. Would you like to be shouted at like that?
- Phone a friend. Talking things through helps with perspective.
- Scream into a pillow – away from the kids. You can let rip – it will absorb the noise.