Isn’t there too much stress in your family?

Stress is a part of our lives. We both need it and have too much of it. How to find the happy medium?

Unfortunately, stressed parents “infect” their children with stress as well. Bad atmosphere spreads out very quickly, and home – the place which is supposed to be the oasis of calm and to help family members relieve the whole work or school stress – becomes the field of a battle. It is almost impossible to get rid of stress entirely.

However, what should we do if our family suffers from too much stress which results in health and relationship problems? First, identify the source of stress, then do something to make it less harmful. We have some ideas how to do it.

  1. Take care of a good night sleep. You have probably heard that sleeping well is healthy and helps relieve stress. It is true, and what is more, problems with sleeping are…another stress generators. Make your family go to bed earlier, have some “sleep weekends” and apart from this, find some time during the day to close your eyes and clear your head for a few minutes (or have a nap if it is possible).
  2. Stop yelling. Yelling is almost inevitable if we feel stressed and overwhelmed. But it does not help, it makes even more problems and strain between family members. Showing respect towards each other and talking calmly can help get rid of the strain and build trust. Children rarely listen to yelling parents, they just start yelling themselves.
  3. Have family dinners. Nobody wants to spend time with cranky people, even if these are their parents. Do not expect you children to cheerfully come to the family table if you are angry and depressed. Make this time more appealing and pleasant– for example, you can play a game in which you tell, in turns, something nice about other family member.
  4. Help your children cope with stress by setting a good example. If you manage with stress by eating too much or drinking alcohol, do not expect that your children will learn good habits in this area. You observe that your child is withdrawing? Talk to each other, take him/her for a walk, bike ride or to other place.
  5. Do not burden yourself and your children with too many activities. Running from one extra activity to another can cause a lot of tension. This tension can, in turn, cause many health problems. First of all, think if it is not too much? You can either reduce the amount of activities or just change the attitude and make it less hectic (being punctual is important, but it is not worth your terrible headache afterwards).

Find your own family stress-remover. If you observe that your family is more and more under the weather, have some sleep, stomach or back problems, it is time for all of you to calm down. Chronic stress harms our immune system and influences negatively our whole body. The only way to relieve the stress and unite the whole family at the same time is to find an activity which will enable you to both get rid of stress and spend time together.

Problems with your children’s behavior? Repair your relationship with them!

All parents have some problems with their children. These are different depending on the age of the offspring, but most of them comes from the wrong parent-child relationship. In the book The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Laurence Steinberg, PhD, we have found a lot of very useful advice for parents struggling with this complicated task which is upbringing children.

The first common mistake is using violence – both in the shape of words and slaps.  Then we have implementing very strict discipline and becoming “a boss” not a parent which also brings bad results. In short, your aim is not to make your child afraid of you, totally obedient and feeling worse – your aim is to help your child become the “healthy” and strong adult.

If your child is, let us call it, difficult, it is time for you to take a closer look at your relationship with him or her and your parenting methods because there is probably something wrong with them. Do you want to cooperate with people you do not like? Or who yell at you to make you obedient? Probably not, just try to see yourself through your child’s eyes.

Here are 10 commandments for you as a parent:

  1. Set a good example. It is not a secret that children just copy their parents.
  2. Love, love and love. What can spoil your child? It is not too much love, these are love-substitutes like being too lenient, having no expectations and showing love through giving loads of presents instead of devoting time and attention.
  3. Engage in your child’s life. Be here and now for your child – both mentally and physically. Show you are interested in his or her life, not only in his school performance and homework.
  4. Make systematical adjustments. Remember that your child is constantly growing and changing. You must be up to date with your parenting.
  5. Make rules. Childhood is this precious time of shaping your child’s future adult life. If you fail now, he or she would have trouble in the future. Do not let your child for him/herself now, it is a way to a disaster.
  6. Let your child be independent. Do not treat your child’s will to be autonomous as a rebelliousness and something wrong. Set limits where it is necessary, but allow for independence – there must be balance between the two.
  7. Consistency is the basis. When you have problems with consistency, your child gets confused. You should know what you expect and inform your child about it, then stick to it and avoid changing your mind every day.
  8. Harsh discipline causes aggression. If you are aggressive towards your child, you make him or her aggressive too. Harsh discipline very often just humbles children and shows them that they are worse and weaker just because they are children. Is your goal to damage your child’s self-esteem?
  9. The policy “No, because I said so” is not very successful. Explain your children – especially adolescents – the rules and decisions you make. Once again, you are not a boss who just gives orders, you are a parent who wants to teach children how they should behave.
  10. The key to success – respect. You want to be respected by your child? Show your child that you respect him/her. The relationship you have with your children builds their future ability to build healthy relationships.

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. That is why, we all should be more or less prepared for the huge amount of effort we will need to put in upbringing our children. Luckily, seeing our child as a happy, self-confident and decent adult in the future will pay everything off.