How can parents feel support in their parenting role?

This blog article is written by Chris Hutchinson,
Trainer and Consultant in the Parenting
and Early Years Team at the Australian
Childhood Foundation.

 

Parenting today has all types of stress and pressure and parents don’t need the added stress of unhelpful, negative comments even if they are intended as constructive advice.

Parents should feel confident and positive in their parenting role and assisted to understand their children better.

With so much information bombarding parents from every angle, it is important that there is positive, simple, less confusing information that makes them feel supported.

Some quick and easy strategies that might take the pressure of parents when they are feeling stressed and which can promote a more harmonious home and family:

Remember that children are not “bad” – it’s just that sometimes their behaviour is not what you would like. Congratulate yourself and your child at the times when their behaviour is what you like.

Recognise the difference between the things in your life that you can change and those you can’t change. Don’t waste time and energy worrying about things you can’t change and concentrate on what you have some control over.
Before you react to a situation, take a few seconds to calm yourself and think about the words you will use or the actions you will take. If you consider the effect on the other person of what you are going to say and how you will say it, you will be amazed how a potentially explosive situation can be diffused by 10-20 seconds of silence!

Look at concerns or problems or issues objectively. What is the worst that could happen if you allow it or overlook it? In the “big picture” is it worth all the stress it is creating? Maybe it’s not a problem at all.
Simplify your daily activities. Prioritise tasks, keeping the children’s needs and your needs in mind. Does it really matter if the children’s clothes don’t get washed/ironed? Do you really need to go out to the shops today? What is the most important thing for you to get done today? What can you manage with your children today.

Make family social activities child-friendly and appropriate to the children’s ages, this will assist in preventing stress. A three-year-old is unlikely to be able to sit still in a café, theatre or restaurant for two hours however atrip to the park or children’s library might be easier to manage. It is not stress itself, but adults’ reactions to stress, that influence children.

For more ways to support parents see ACF’s Bringing Up Great Kids website for resources or programs.