Let’s face it. Stress happens. Every parent feels it! Trying to manage the anxiety or obsessive behaviors that can sometimes accompany stress is difficult in and of itself. Trying to prevent it from affecting your children can seem impossible. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few ways to work through your anxiety and avoid transferring it to your kiddos.
Reach Out and Get some Help
This may seem like an obvious choice, but for some people it’s the last thing they consider. Whether getting help means speaking to your clergy for spiritual guidance, joining a support group for other parents working through anxiety, or seeing a therapist who can help you decide if medication is the best choice for managing your anxiety – these are all great support options that will only benefit you (and your little ones) in the long run.
Work on Your Stress Management Techniques
In order to avoid transferring anxiety to your children, you’ve got to learn how to manage it for yourself.
- Just breathe – Practicing deep breathing techniques can make a world of difference when trying to manage your anxiety. Try practicing your deep breathing techniques during your average day for a minute or so several times throughout your day. By making this a common practice, you are more likely to recall it when anxiety strikes.
- Know your triggers – If you are aware of the situations which cause you anxiety, you can be better prepared to deal with them. This is all about knowing your body and understanding how it responds to certain environments. The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to help yourself.
- Accept it – Sometimes, the more you try to control things, the more you feel surrounded by chaos. Life is messy, and learning to accept that you cannot have perfection in every aspect of your life will be a tremendous relief. And learning to accept that you are a person who experiences anxiety, rather than fearing it, can be life-changing.
This is SO important. Managing your anxiety alone, trying to mask it, will only damage you and will surely affect your children. Kids are incredibly perceptive and capable of reading unspoken cues better than you may think. Staying silent about noticeable tensions in the house could cause your children to experience anxiety without an open line of communication to talk about their own feelings.
Anxiety shouldn’t be a dirty little secret. Remember, your kids don’t expect you to be superhuman, and admitting that you feel stress sometimes and showing how you manage that feeling could be a very valuable lesson for them. And by having an open line of communication with your kids, you are also reassuring them that your anxiety is not their fault – which is a common fear for children who observe their parents’ stress and anxiety.
Give Yourself Space
And then there are just those times when deep breathing and talking don’t make the feelings go away. And that’s okay, too. Sometimes you just need to step away and give yourself some space. Know your limits, understand your body’s cues, and don’t be afraid to call a time out when your anxiety is just not willing to back down. Sometimes the stimulation of a busy household doesn’t allow you the opportunity to properly organize your thoughts. Create a space in your home that is off limits to others where you can take whatever time is needed to set yourself right again. Close your eyes, practice that deep breathing, and quiet your mind.
So, if you are experiencing anxiety and you’re worried about how it could affect your children, just remember that all these tips add up to one crucial word of advice: Take care of yourself – body and spirit.
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.