Parentingis a fun, exciting, rewarding, busy, and stressful job! Family lifethese days means being on the go and trying to do it all without enoughtime or enough support. If you are a parent who is feeling overwhelmed,remember that you are not alone. There are many ways to manage yourstress before it becomes overwhelming. Most importantly, dont beafraid to reach out and ask for help.
Common Needs for Parents
- The need to vent
- The need to feel validated
- The need to learn
- The need to socialize
- The need to believe there is hope
- Too many demands are causing you stress
- You are frustrated because your children don't listen to you
- You feel as though your children misbehave on purpose
- You find yourself yelling at your children or saying hurtful things
- You feel that your children rarely do what you expect them to do
- You feel as though you take your frustrations out on your children
- You feel overwhelmed and see no way out
- Make sure your kids are safe and then give yourself a timeout. Five minutes alone can give you time to calm down and regroup.
- Set realistic goals. Dont try to be a super-parent.
- Sometimes its ok to take the phone off the hook, put aside the mail, use paper plates, or get pizza for dinner.
- Giveyourself credit for doing a good job and try not to compare yourself toother parents. However, do share and compare your experiences withother parents because you may learn something new that works.
- Askfor help. Share your feelings with a friend, family member, orprofessional. Get a babysitter or ask a trusted friend or family memberto watch your kids and do something for yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of exercise, rest, and nourishment and HALT if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
If you are the parent of:
- A newborn: Naptime for baby means nap time for you. Leave the housework alone.Getting the sleep you need is more important. If your baby just wontstop crying and you feel yourself becoming very frustrated, leave himsafely in the crib on his back for several minutes while you leave theroom to cool down.
- A toddler: Childproof your home so you can enjoy your babys exploring rather than dread it. Get a babysitter to give yourself a break.
- A preschooler:Enroll your child in a preschool program a few days a week to giveyourself a break. Check out One Tough Jobs information on preschoolersto enjoy the time you spend with your preschooler and make it go smoothand tantrum-free.
- A 6-10 year old:Find other parents you can talk to on a regular basis at activities orparent groups. Dont overwhelm yourself and your child with activities.
- A pre-teen or teen: Youare not the meanest parent! Check out the rules with other parents andremember that this phase will pass. Enjoy your child while he/she isstill a child.
- Get involved with child-centered activities (Boy/Girl Scouts)
- Introduceyourself to other parents at your child's school or after schoolactivity, at the library, in your neighborhood, or at your work
- Attend Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meetings at your child's school
- Volunteerin your child's classroom, even just by chaperoning a field trip, atthe library or other community organization, or by coaching yourchild's sports team or leading a youth group at your church
- Organize a social gathering for your neighborhood or join a mothers' group or playgroup
- Ask neighbors or parents of your child's friends for help and reciprocate with giving rides and watching each other's children
- Tips for finding a parent group
- Contact a number of groups to find the one that's right for you
- If an organization doesn't have a group that fits your needs, ask to be referred to other organizations
- Check the phone book and internet for possible groups
- Checkplaces such as hospitals, health centers, childbirth educationorganizations, churches/synagogues, public libraries, college oruniversity education departments, parenting newspapers or magazines,and community organizations (YMCA, YWCA, United Way)
- If you can't find a group that suits you, consider starting your own
- Tips for starting a support group
- Thereare plenty of other parents who need support. The best way to find themis to start locally. Post signs in your childs school, in a religiousorganization, or at the public library. Even if you can only find oneother interested parent, have a meeting to talk about what each of youneed and hope to get out of the group. Define the groups goals, decideon a meeting place, time, and frequency, and talk about whether youwant to set a size limit or other criteria for joining (such as the ageof your children, just dads, etc).
- Other resources for parent support
- Parents Anonymous: http://www.parentsanonymous.org/paIndex10.html
- Nationwide program that offers parents support through parent support groups and childrens programs free of charge.
- Circle of Parents: www.circleofparents.org
- Nationwide program that offers support to parents and caregivers on raising children through free, weekly support groups
Information provided by OneToughJob.com and the Massachusetts Childrens Trust Fund.
Last Modified on September 11, 2011