Quite often young parents are told: “Come on, here our grandmothers gave birth to ten children, and nothing, and you can not cope with one.” But really, cultural norms, attachments, and expectations as parents and towards children has changed considerably.
If earlier the baby could spend half a day alone in a cradle, which from time to time shakes some average girl, not very well-fed and with wet diapers, while the mother takes care of cattle or engaged in other things, of the born ten children survived half, and every third woman died in childbirth (not necessarily in the first, but nevertheless), now the situation is different – we do not rely on natural selection, and we know that every step we take, every investment we make will respond to what the child’s fate will be, how society will treat parents, and how likely it is that a grown child will want to see us.
This creates huge pressure on parents: whether I feed him, whether I keep, whether in that garden sent?
This is how parental stress is born – it also leads to parental burnout, loss of empathy, feeling of powerlessness, helplessness, and sometimes – to aggression against the child.
How to cope with such stress? There are several recommendations.
1. Creating new meaningful relationships – interacting with others helps reduce anxiety and loneliness.
Especially recommended long joint leisurely walks in beautiful places once or twice a week – in this case, there are several factors that reduce stress: a sense of intimacy in the dialogue, physical activity, sensory stimulation.
2. It is recommended to pay more attention to the positive signals in the child’s behavior. Quite often, a parent looks at what children do worse, or worried about the future of children because of their difficulties. It is especially typical to pay attention to the words of teachers about the problems of the child (they often do not speak about achievements) – and this leads to the fact that negative things are more supported and reproduced.
If you pay more attention to the strengths: “He is stubborn – will be able to stand up for himself”, “He comes up with cunning traps – will be able to get out of difficult situations”, “It is important to my opinion – I will always be able to support him with advice”, then fear and anxiety are somewhat reduced.
3. It is better to concentrate on the good news – especially those that are close to you. The closer the good news – the better. If you have the opportunity to participate in parades, carnivals, fairs, taking place in the neighborhood – it is a very useful and helpful experience.
This information reduces stress and increases the feeling that we live in a good and safe place or at least can somehow diversify despair and sadness.
4. Do not try to anticipate future dangers – research shows that we are bad at predicting what will cause us inconvenience later. But we can plan what will benefit us.
Therefore, it is better to build plans not from what will reduce discomfort then, but from what will bring comfort in the near future.
5. Add +50% of the time to the expected when scheduling tasks.
One of the strongest stresses parents have is the pressure of time. At the same time, mothers are much more vulnerable than fathers – they also feel more financial and social pressure.
At the same time, for children, time flows differently – they react longer, gather worse and are more slowly involved in the work. Therefore, usually mothers, children and fathers live on three time lines – the longest in children, a little shorter – in fathers and the shortest – in mothers who need to do everything in time, which provokes conflicts and irritation, and is almost the main cause of breakdowns in mothers.
It is better to live according to the schedule of children and slow down.
6. Bad things happen.
In this case, those parents who manage to rethink the situation from another angle are better able to cope with stress. Therefore, if everything goes wrong, it is recommended to write twice about the situation: the first time to tell your thoughts and feelings. The second time is to think about what opportunities this situation has brought me, what I have learned, how can I help myself?
Habit to do so regularly, significantly reduces level of parental stress.
7. Different types of empathy.
Quite often parents are subject to affective empathy – they feel the same as the child. There are advantages, but this type is very dangerous if the child is angry, frightened or injured – the parent feels the same, scared, upset or angry – and paradoxically breaks down on the child.
Much more effective in this case is cognitive empathy – not to feel what the child feels, but – on the contrary – to think about what could help him in his siutation. Thus, we disconnect from the source of negative experiences and begin to treat the child as an object of care again.
8. If children have problems with sleep – in some cases it is better not to make this a big problem, but on the contrary – a week or two to leave the child and just go to bed yourself. Many parents are afraid that in this case they will be left without personal time – because that hour or two, when the child is already snoring, and you can still sit – almost the only period when the parent is free. But sometimes this is the reason for the difficulties.
Paradoxically, the more parents spend the effort to put the child, the more stress and problems he provokes.
Tired of putting the baby to bed? Go to bed yourself.
9. Do what brings you pleasure. Do the kids have homework? It’s important.
Done your homework? Do something for yourself. Immediately. Right now.
Something you like very much. Dance, shout, walk, go out on the balcony and look at the evening city.
Include joy, pleasure and pleasure in your day – the more, the lower you will have stress.
10. Add sports, dancing – anything. Reducing stress has nothing to do with weight loss – so even 10-15 minutes is enough to get better.