If other people’s social media feeds were to be believed, we’d think parenting was all cupcakes and cartoons, but it’s not. Parenting is hard. It’s signing up for a minimum of 18 years of patience and understanding. Here are our 5 tips for keeping your cool when dealing with your beloved bundle of added stress.
- When you find yourself frustrated by your child’s behavior, remind yourself that you need to set age appropriate expectations. As adults we often forget what it felt like to be a child. We don’t remember the limitations on our thinking imposed by lack of development and experience. A good way to keep this in mind is to check out Kaiser Permanente’s milestones for childhood development and remind yourself what your child can and can’t be expected to accomplish so far.
- When in doubt, empathize. When your child is pushing all your buttons, try to remember to see it from their perspective. Use the milestones above to think about where your child is coming from. Remember too, that you’re often their whole world. Unlike adults who have friends (or therapists) to vent to, children can often only vent their frustrations at their parents. You are both sounding board and an example of behavior for them. Don’t take it personally when this results in them throwing anger and frustration at you. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
- If you reach the end of your patience, try recalling a particularly helpful adult you knew as a child and using that as a model for your own behavior. Let the person you communicated best with as a child become your mentor in communicating with your own child.
- As important as being a parent is, remember you are a person first. You get tired, you get worn out, and you deserve time to yourself. Let yourself take this time even if it’s only in short snippets between other things. Even a 5-minute break will help you center yourself. Whether it’s power nap or a quick phone call to a friend, allowing yourself a break is essential.
- When you can’t spare a full 5-10 minutes, take a few moments to breathe instead. Even brief moments of meditation are proven to have profound benefits on your mental state and health. Spire provides free guided meditation on our site, with some starting at just 31 seconds. Give one a try when you are caught in a moment of intense stress.
Do you have a tip for stress-free parenting? Leave it in the comments below!