Strategies to help parents experiencing parenting stress (continued)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends and families of new parents will often offer their help by way of babysitting services, or cooking meals for the new family in the early days after baby’s arrival home. New parents may accept this help in the beginning but begin to feel they need to cope alone and refuse later offers of assistance. If you have more than one child, the load becomes even greater and asking for assistance may become vital to the well being of everyone in your family.
- Spend time together: Spend time with your family doing something fun. Parents have so many daily demands on them that it is common to feel we don’t have time to enjoy our families. It may seem ridiculous, but consider scheduling in fun time with your family – we schedule everything else and those things that don’t get allocated time often don’t happen. Spending “quality” time with our family members alleviates stress, improves relationships, improves the behaviour of our children, and reminds us why we decided to have kids in the first place.
- Manage mental health issues: Recognise when your own anxieties and worries are playing a role in your overall stress levels. Many parents find they have a set of their own personal concerns regarding their new family that contributes to their overall level of stress. Be this financial concerns, anxiety about raising children or other personal worries that may be contributing – it is important to seek professional assistance in working through those issues.
We all have ideal notions about what family life will be like but, unfortunately, daily demands of parenting, job requirements, running a household, financial stressors, and other responsibilities can tend to drain our mental and emotional resources, leading to stress. However, there are a few simple things you can do to alleviate some stress in your life and take the time to enjoy the family you have created.