Coping with stress as a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. As a parent you’ve probably read and heard a million things about how hard parenting stress can be and how you’re doomed to failure if you don’t get it under control.
The problem with that is, while there are lots of opinions and advice columns, no one has systematically addressed the question “What is the best approach to coping with stress as a parent?” This article will try to give some pointers about how to go about doing so.
Parenting stress and child behaviour issues are posited to have an associative impact on each other during development.
But, very few empirical studies have tested the validity of that model empirically. So we have this whole range of ideas about parental moods and parenting stress that’s currently flying around the internet. And, unfortunately, most of them are just not very accurate.
Let’s start with the idea that your parental mood is important because it impacts your children. So, first of all, you should know that this isn’t actually what is happening.
What is happening is that your children are reacting to the parental stress that you are experiencing. You can actually look at your reaction to the high degree of social pressure from time to time and identify if you have some sort of empathy or other emotional well-being processes that are working to reduce your stress levels.
If you do have some sort of empathic process going on, then you are not alone and dealing with stress related to parenting as a parent is perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. On the other hand, if you do not have any emotions associated with your response to stress, that may be different and you might want to take a closer look at the nature of your stress related to parenting.
You see, the overwhelming majority of people who are dealing with some kind of stress related to parenting or high levels of time pressure as a single mom or father are simply not having any emotional contact with anyone.
They are not having any interactions with anyone, and yet their emotional state is consistently elevated and they are always complaining. They are using every part of themselves to try to figure out how to deal with the social support and the time pressure. That is absolutely normal.
On the other hand, what is unusual in this situation is that these mothers and fathers are generally not getting any better at handling the stress. Their coping skills are basically getting worse. In fact, their stress and their behavior are even getting worse.
Now, there is one possibility that I have mentioned here that may help. It has been noted in studies that women who participate in some kind of social support group, such as a religious group, community organization or soccer team, are much less likely to experience stress related to parenting.
In addition, the women who participate in this type of group also tend to get better mental health, and they are also much more likely to be physically active. Why is this? Well, it appears that the increased social interaction helps to create a “wellness” for mothers and fathers to help them better manage their stress, which in turn provides them with increased physical activity as well.
When you think about this, it really makes sense. As a matter of fact, I believe that learning to manage stress as a parent can be significantly beneficial to your child. Let’s take a look at some key components of parenting. These include: cognitive empathy, affective empathy, assertive parenting, compliance parenting and social skills.
Interestingly enough, when you add in the emotional and social components, it looks like this: physical activity, compliance parenting, cognitive empathy and social skills. If you work on all of these areas, you will be well on your way to parenting well!
However, don’t think of this as something that can be done once and it’s done. Rather, consider this as something that is going to need to be worked on consistently, both through difficult times and good times, in order to effect positive changes in your children.