Parenting Tips

Handling Stress in Parenthood

By October 17, 2019 No Comments

Whether you’re the parent of a newborn or a 15-year old; whether you’re in a strong financial situation or facing some hard times; whether your kids are generally healthy or have a life-long challenge or medical condition, you’ll be faced with stressors in parenthood. Gathering tools and building a strong network can help you weather the ups and downs of raising children.

Any Baby Can’s Family Education Program uses the research-based Nurturing Parenting curriculum, which is proven to increase positive parenting behaviors such as parents’ sense of self-worth, attachment and empowerment. As parents grow in their skills, they have confidence in their ability to handle challenges and feel more empowered to support their children.

One of the areas that the curriculum covers is understanding and handling stress. Helping parents prepare for difficult situations provides a sense of self-sufficiency and control that can improve outcomes and reduce disciplinary challenges.

Stress and Unmet Needs

Stress drains us. It can make parents feel weak and powerless. It can make minor issues seem huge and add to a full plate of raising children, providing basic needs, succeeding at a job, and preparing for the future.  Nurturing Parenting underscores that “getting our needs met reduces our stress, allows us to be the caring parent we want to be, and allows us to help our children get their needs met and, in turn, reduces their stress.”

Meeting needs may look different for every person. For some, that may be physical, such as getting regular exercise, improving diet, learning relaxation skills and getting adequate sleep. Other people may benefit from a more emotional response, and those individuals benefit from increasing self-worth, keeping a positive outlook, getting organized and improving communication skills, among other strategies. In others, social approaches to handling stress may work best. Strategies may include developing a support network, building a stronger social life, or volunteering or developing hobbies.

Take time to understand how you uniquely need to have your needs met. Soon you will feel more empowered in your own parenting.

Preparing for Stress Exercise

Since it’s WHEN, not IF stress will come into your life, use this worksheet to prepare a practical approach that makes you feel empowered to manage stress1. Our instructors encourage parents to focus on one stressor at a time and learn to avoid or develop appropriate responses to the situation.

For example, you may identify that an untidy house is a stressor for you. You can make strategies to reduce this stress by changing your cleaning routine or asking for help before it becomes overwhelming for you. If your kids don’t clean their room, you can make a plan to react with a more playful approach, such as racing them to pick up toys or shooting baskets with dirty clothes into a hamper.

  1. Identify five stressors (things that cause stress) in your life.

a) ____________________________________________________________________

b) ____________________________________________________________________

c) ____________________________________________________________________

d) ____________________________________________________________________

e) ____________________________________________________________________

 

  1. Make a plan how you can reduce or prevent these stressors from dictating the quality of your life.

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

 

  1. Develop a plan to cope with the stressors you can’t change.

____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

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Learn more about Nurturing Parenting and find an upcoming parenting class.

 

1 Nurturing Parenting ® Family Development Resources, Inc., Understanding and Handling Stress

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