It’s been said that being a parent is the most demanding and rewarding job you’ll ever have. And I can truthfully say for me, that turned out to be true. How about you? I know when I was in the thick of raising my little ones, there were days that the parenting stress had me wanting to pull my hair out. But now that my children are all grown, I remember the rewards of raising them way more than I remember the stress I felt at the time.
So, for you parents out there still raising your littles, tweens and teens, hold on, your day is coming. But in the meantime, let’s look at ways of coping with parenting stress before you become overwhelmed.
4 Steps To Cope With Parenting Stress
1. If you can’t beat stress—accept it.
Well, this sounds counterintuitive. But one of the best ways to reduce stress and take the edge off a stressful situation is to accept it. No, I’m not saying you should just sit back and not do anything about the situation. Instead, come to grips with the environment you are in and the feelings that go with it. Even accept that you really are stressing!
Taking a moment and accepting what is happening allows you to dial down your stress level immediately. How so? Because it will enable you to manage your emotions. After all, chances are, the real source of the stress is not what is actually happening but the feelings that are being stirred up.
Once again, I’m not saying to ignore or deny your distressing emotions, but just the opposite. To be in charge of your emotions and not let your emotions be in charge of you. And then take whatever actions are needed to change the situation. This leads me to the next step.
2. Try to remain calm and regain control.
We’ve all lost our cool and resorted to shouting at our kids. The problem is, yelling never feels or does any good for anyone.
When you respond out of your stress, it’s like adding fuel to the fire. And if you’re honest with yourself, in some respects, isn’t it really just a grown-up hissy fit?
I know, it can be tricky.
Especially when you’re listening to your kid’s whine and fighting with one another or trying to communicate with a cocky and defiant teenager, however, your most important responsibility is to manage yourself, and that begins by pushing back against the overwhelm.
Using practices that calm your anxiety and restore your well-being can help you choose not to let the moment overwhelm you.
3. Take care of yourself.
Children will wear you out. Can I get an AMEN?
Many parents feel overwhelmed and overloaded by the relentless stream of pressures and obligations of raising a family. When you’ve got a lot going on, it can be challenging to find the time to give yourself a break from the parenting stress. But believe me, time away from your parenting responsibilities is just what you need.
Often, as parents, we get so caught up in the rat race and keep telling ourselves when things slow down, we’ll take a break. Well, how’s that working for you? Do things ever slow down? I didn’t think so.
Listen, you have to schedule some downtime to refuel your engine. It doesn’t have to be a week in the Bahamas (although that would be lovely). It could be a twenty-minute coffee break, a warm soak in a bubbly tub (minus the kid’s bath toys, of course), or a night out with friends. Whatever works for you that reminds you of how good it feels to have a break and have something to look forward to will motivate you to schedule the next one and the next.
4. Develop a support system.
Having a support system you can turn to when you are feeling overwhelmed is one of the best tools to deal with parenting stress.
Your support system can include people who fill different roles in your life, such as family, friends, other parents, or community groups, providing listening ears, helping hands, and words of wisdom.
In the end, creating a network of supportive friends may take some effort, but the benefits to your general health and well-being are well worth it. The more people you have in your life, the more likely you are to experience genuinely supportive relationships that can encourage you every step of the way.
“No matter how stressful your day is today, you get a brand new day to look forward to tomorrow, and you can make it better.” — Eun Yang.
Being a parent is such an exciting time in your life, and you will want to enjoy every moment. I believe if you practice these four steps, you will be able to cope with your parenting stress before you feel overwhelmed. Just remember, all parents have both good and bad days. And if you would like to discover more strategies for coping with stress, working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching is a great way to go. They can help you learn how to manage stress, which will help you to succeed and develop a healthy family.
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, let’s work on strategies to manage the stress that comes with raising kids. I’m confident the more successful you become coping with parenting stress before becoming overwhelmed, the easier it will be to handle your parenting challenges with grace.