LIFE

6 Techniques To Help Mums And Dads Calm Down When Parenting Gets Too Much

Remember, there is no such thing as the 'perfect parent'.

06/06/2017 10:45 PM AEST | Updated 06/06/2017 10:45 PM AEST

There’s no shame in admitting that as a parent, sometimes life can get a bit too much.

While juggling school runs, work, housework and everything else you have on your plate, it can often feel hard to stay afloat and as a result you may find yourself being short with your kids.

One mum found a unique solution to help cope with the stress and avoid snapping at her kids. Shauna Harvey, from the US, advised parents to wear five hairbands on their wrist.

She explained in a Facebook post that parents should move one band to the other wrist each time they lose their cool.

To “gain the band back” to the original wrist, they must do five positive things with their child

Harvey wrote on Facebook: “I read that science shows for every bad reaction, it takes five positive reactions to regain a positive relationship.

“I’m going to be using this method until it becomes a habit and basically turns into an auto-pilot ritual. I’ve found myself so incredibly stressed out.”

Her advice, posted to Facebook on 17 May, has been shared more than 11,000 times.

So what else can parents do to regain their cool when everything seems to be falling apart?

1. Use Mindfulness

Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a step back when you’re in a stressful situation and reminding yourself you can get through it.

“We know from our supporters that mindfulness techniques can be very helpful in managing stress when it reaches ‘boiling point’,” Clare Keeling, from Rethink Mental Illness, told HuffPost UK.

“These can include taking a step outside for a few breaths of air, or even just taking a moment to drink a glass of water.”

These techniques may also be useful to begin or end your day, to relax your brain. You can meditate through the Headspace app for free or find mindful meditations on YouTube.

2. Breathe Deeply

“One simple technique is to breathe deeply when you feel your temper rising, take a moment to compose yourself, before responding in a calm tone of voice,” a spokesperson from SANE mental health charity told HuffPost UK.

“This can help to avoid shouting or the use of threats when disciplining a child who is misbehaving. 

“This may feel easier said than done, but children are more likely to respond well to a parent demonstrating self-control than to an angry parent yelling at them.”

Geber86 via Getty Images

3. Take Regular Breaks

To avoid constantly getting to the point where things get too much, Keeling advised parents to take breaks, albeit small ones, throughout the day.

“Taking regular breaks and making time for yourself can ease stress in the long run,” she said.

“This can be difficult with a toddler at home but even short breaks to do something for yourself, like reading or walking, can be a big help.” 

4. Talk To Others

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the worst thing to do is to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself. It will only make matters worse, said Keeling.

“If you can find other people who are in a similar position then it might be helpful to share tips and advice, and talk about how you’ve been feeling,” she said.

“You can also talk to family and friends, sometimes just a quick cup of tea and a chat can be really useful to get things off your chest.”

Parenting forums such as Mumsnet or Netmums are helpful, as well as local parenting groups that can be found on Facebook.

5. Forget The ‘Perfect Parent’

Mental health charity Mind reminds parents that they should not overcompensate by trying to be the “perfect parent”.

“It’s important to remember that all parents have difficult times and there is no such thing as being ‘perfect’,” their website states.

“Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or give yourself too much of a hard time. Remember that you have general skills as a parent – regardless of any mental health issues – that will remain useful.”

6. Don’t Suffer Alone

“If you feel like your mood is being severely affected then you can go and talk to your doctor about how you are feeling,” said Keeling.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel like you need it.”

More information on mental health services can be found at rethink.org/advice and www.sane.org.uk.

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