When you sign up to become a parent, you know it’s not going to be all sunshine and roses. You might think you’re prepared, but after the third night of no sleep, you realize just how overwhelming this whole parenting thing is going to be—and that’s just the beginning. You might have gotten a clue talking with others who had kids, but until you experienced it first hand, you couldn’t fully grasp what they were talking about. Well, now you know. And I’m going to share with you a few ways on how to stop feeling overwhelmed by parenting, so keep reading.
The demands of raising children—tantrums, moods, sibling rivalry, helping with homework, orchestrating schedules with after-school activities, sports, doctor’s appointments, etc., is not for the faint of heart. And quite frankly, it sometimes gets the best of us. The key is finding ways to navigate parenting challenges successfully to limit the times we feel overwhelmed.
LOVE AND DISCIPLINE
“The most important thing parents can give their children is love. The second most important thing is discipline.” – T. Berry Brazelton, MD.
Many parents today struggle with creating healthy boundaries with their kids. The next time you are at the grocery store, restaurant, or local park, etc., take notice of the overwhelmed (and frustrated) parents asking (or demanding) their kids to do/or stop doing something over and over to no avail.
I had a front-row seat to this type of behavior when my children were young. Whenever I visited with a particular family, their approach to discipline was to count to three to get their child to stop unwanted behavior. In between the counts, the parent would keep repeating the instruction to stop the misbehavior and then start the count again. The child kept acting up as if the parent was talking to the wind; meanwhile, I would watch the parent’s frustration climb.
Of course, I have also witnessed a somewhat different technique of “discipline.” And that is where the parent tries to ignore the misbehavior until they can’t stand it anymore and eventually scream at their kids in anger. Both of these examples are extreme and not conducive to a favorable outcome
Establishing age-appropriate behavioral boundaries for children is not always easy, but it’s a necessity that parents must do. Why? Because boundaries give kids a sense of safety and security. And we know that a lack of clear boundaries often results in behavior problems.
LEARN HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ANGER
While talking about boundaries and kids, keep in mind that if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s this — your children will push those boundaries. And it’s times like that as a parent, it’s hard to know how to stop feeling overwhelmed. Don’t take it personally or think that you have failed. It’s just what kids do. Children are hard-wired to “test the waters” or see how far they can spread their wings of independence.
But when we shout, lose our cool, or give overly harsh punishments, we provide them with a lesson on how to control (or should I say, not control) their temper when they are frustrated. I know it’s hard, but you must find a way to keep yourself calm. Try taking a moment to put a gap between what is happening and how you react to it—take some deep breaths and remind yourself that you are the adult and can remain calm.
KIDS NEED ATTENTION
All in all, kids need attention. And if you don’t supply them with positive attention, they will find endless ways of getting even negative attention. To them, even negative attention is better than no attention at all. Sometimes, kids act out because they respond to a situation that has upset them and are overwhelmed and unable to manage their emotions.
Taking a few minutes, giving them your undivided attention, and doing something they want to do will go a long way to encourage good behavior. This is especially important during transition times, such as when parents come home from work, or when kids come home from school, or being at the sitter’s all day. Sometimes kids can find these times difficult to transition, making them susceptible to being moody/naughty toward their parents or siblings.
5 Points to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed As A Parent
We are all unique when it comes to managing stress. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for others. But I believe that everyone can benefit from the five points below. Which can help keep feelings of being overwhelmed from becoming too much to handle.
- Acknowledge there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
- Have realistic expectations of you as a parent as well as age-appropriate expectations for your children.
- You can’t do everything.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Take time for yourself.
Every parent has periods of feeling overwhelmed; that’s a given. When you know how to manage the stresses and responsibilities of parenting, you will be on your way to stopping the stress from spiraling into a storm. If you would like to learn more strategies to manage stress, working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching is a great way to do it. They can help you discover and master anxiety relief techniques that will enable you to navigate the challenges that family life brings.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. Together, we can work on strategies to manage the stresses that family life can bring to become the happy parent you want to be.