Eight steps to de-stress your parenting
Family life is a wonderful thing, but inevitably comes with its own stresses and worries. As a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to get the balance right, but with love, patience and humour, you can keep parenting pressures to a minimum. Follow my eight steps to keep your kids on the right track and minimise family tension.
Be a guide
Children need you to give them guidance and boundaries. They may not know it or realise it, but they will feel more secure when they know and understand your rules. Children are learning from day one and you, as their parent, are their teacher. By giving them clear boundaries as to what is right or wrong, you are teaching them acceptable behaviour and respect. Be consistent with your guidance, and your children will feel secure.
Explain your reasons
‘Because I said so!’ is a familiar cry in most households! It may be tempting to use this as an explanation, but try to see things from your child’s perspective, and remember your own feelings when you were a child. Whenever you set a boundary always explain the reason behind it. Speak to them with respect and compassion, but at the same time be firm.
Always encourage your children and let them believe they can achieve anything. Young children believe in magic and have unlimited imaginations, and as adults we can learn a lot from them. If you are constantly encouraging your kids and empowering them from an early age they will prosper and flourish throughout their lives. Tell them often that they are good, clever, smart, funny, bright and talented and that is what they will become.
Watch your words
You should never criticise your children or use destructive language when speaking to them. Children are like sponges and they absorb everything. If you make a habit of telling your child they are stupid or hopeless, that will become self-fulfilling. So cut this language out of your vocabulary when you speak to them. And never shout at them because of the mood you are in. If they play up, count to ten, then tell them in a firm and controlled way how you want them to behave.
Children thrive on fun and adventure at all ages. Get into the habit of playing with your kids. Not only will you will build a strong bond with them that will last for life, there is nothing more liberating than being silly and having fun with your kids. It will connect you to a carefree fun part of yourself.
Ditch the screens
Modern technology is a great thing, but try not to use tablets or phones as a way to keep your child quiet. If you are in a restaurant, include your child in your conversation, or take a more traditional, mindful activity such as colouring books or puzzles to entertain them. This may seem old-fashioned, but experiencing boredom is beneficial to children’s brains, as it actively encourages them to use their imagination. Learning patience and the art of conversation sets them up well for life too.
Ride the storm
At some stages in their development your children may begin to distance themselves from you. This can make them rebellious and argumentative, and if this occurs, try not to judge them. Give them a bit of space and try to understand what is at the bottom of any sudden changes in their behaviour. Being a difficult teenager and rebelling against your parents is completely normal. They are naturally breaking away from you to form their own identity. It is healthy and should be understood, even if it makes you feel sad. They will always come back to you if the bonds are strong.
Show the love
Most importantly, let your kids know you love them. You may think that they already know this, but they will believe and accept it more readily when you actually say it to them. If you get into the habit of saying to your kids ‘I love you’, it soon becomes the norm and not an embarrassment. Obviously, choose your moments, but do get this message across in a clear way as often as you can. Nurturing and empowering your kids is the most important thing you will do in your life.
P.S. My “Children’s Confidence” hypnotherapy recording can help your child relax. Diviniti Publishing also have some fantastic titles by Christiane Kerr, Heather Bestel and Jan Yoxall, so do check them out! Download these recordings now!