Parents’ stress is normal. After all, you want to be the best parent possible for your children. Too much anxiety isn’t good for anybody concerned. What’s a parent to do?
– “Why am I stressed?” This question should sort out those that are parenting issues versus those that are related to other life concerns. Once the child-related items have been identified. Ask yourself further questions such as, “Can I do anything about this?” In some cases, in the case of a separation or divorce, the problem lies with the other parent and there is nothing that you can do to change things. However, if you are basing your criteria on how things were when you were growing up, you may need to re-examine current trends. For example, your child’s attire looks as if they pulled clothes out of the rag bag. When you look around, many of the kids today are following similar dressing styles. Therefore, it may be best to lighten up on your traditional beliefs and accept your child’s independent choices, as long as they are not illegal. Once you recognize your source of pressure, you can do something about it and prevent potentially explosive situations.
– “Am I involved in family matters?” Sometimes we become so wrapped up in work and outside curricular activities that we don’t know what is going on with each family member. When an incident arises, such as a child misses a day of school and you receive a phone call about the absence, you are at a loss as to what’s going on. Had you been at the dinner table the prior evening, you would have learned that your child wasn’t feeling well. They weren’t able to get up for school due and you didn’t phone in to notify the Attendance Office. Being tuned-in to the lives of your family members keeps you abreast of what’s going on, thus alleviating potentially troublesome future occurrences.
– “Do I talk with my child or do I talk to my child?” Stop and think about how you feel when another person is talking to you. You feel useless? Do you tune out what’s being said? Do you fill in-between the blanks? These are how your child reacts when you do lecturing. By building a communication based on mutual respect, you will learn more about what your child thinks and feels. Repeat what you thought you heard, which indicates to your child that you are hearing what’s being said. Ask how they believe a situation should be handled. Oftentimes, their answers are harder on them than you would have been.
Finally, parents must remember that they are not the sole influence on their children. Peer pressure plays an enormous part in your child’s development. Reactions and statements made by other adults – in school, stores, doctors’ offices, etc. – all influence how your children see and feel about themselves. Some degree of trust is necessary. Pray and then trust in the Greater Power to guide you and your children. Relax and enjoy your family. They are a blessing.