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Coping With Parenting Stress and Anxiety 

Being a parent is a rewarding experience. At the same time, there will be moments of stress and anxiety. Rest assured that this doesn’t represent any weakness or failure in your parenting. Rather, it’s a testament to how deeply you care about your children and their wellbeing.

However, when left unaddressed, these stressful elements can have a detrimental effect on your physical and emotional wellness. It may even have an impact on your ability to support your family. 

Let’s dive into a handful of ways to help you cope with and mitigate the impact of parenting stress and anxiety. 

Prepare for Protection

One of the most consistent sources of stress and anxiety is likely to be your child’s health and safety. Nevertheless, you can help reduce the pressure you feel about potential injuries and illnesses by taking safety precautions to minimize their likelihood of harm.  

Younger children are particularly inquisitive about the world around them. It’s therefore wise to be diligent about child-proofing your home. Keep toxic chemicals and sharp objects in inaccessible areas. Consider fitting tamper resistant electrical outlets to prevent your kids from sticking their fingers or objects into the sockets. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to retrofit your home with these measures, but it can make a difference to your peace of mind.

It’s also important to remember that the age and the cognitive abilities of your child can impact what the risks are. It’s worth performing yearly assessments of your home to identify what may represent a current risk. Check both indoor and outdoor areas. You don’t need to be obsessive about this to the point it adds sources of stress and anxiety. Just go around your home with a checklist of areas to childproof. Try to see it from your kids’ perspective, and take steps to minimize danger. 

Seek Support

The phrase “it takes a village” can feel somewhat cliched. But it has some important ideas attached to it. As a parent, feeling alone in your child’s upbringing can make your life more stressful and the challenges more anxiety-inducing. But there are likely to be resources in your community to help support you no matter what your needs are. 

Particularly if you’re a divorced parent, juggling aspects like childcare, housework, and your career can add to your mental load. Don’t feel as though you’re being a burden by reaching out to friends and family; they care about you and want to help where they can. You should also talk to your child’s school teacher to enquire about before- and after-class programs to help lighten the childcare load. Your local council will also usually keep a list of both government-run and private organizations that provide assistance.

However, stress and anxiety are elements of your mental health. You should prepare resources for addressing the immediate effects and long-term impacts of these. This may mean connecting with a local parenting support group where you can share your concerns. It could involve speaking to your doctor about mental health services in your area. There is also a growing number of remote counselling services you can utilize on your schedule and from the comfort and privacy of your home. Consider consulting an NDIS psychologist for personalized, accessible support – find out more here. The point is, don’t try and take it all on your own shoulders. 

Make Backup Plans

Your kids and your experiences as a parent will often surprise you. This can certainly be a positive and enriching part of your life. But the unknown can also be a particularly potent source of stress and anxiety. One effective way to handle this is to prepare solid backup plans.

You can start with the larger concerns of being a parent. If you or your spouse find you need to be away — for work, as active duty military, or for health reasons — you may be worried about who will care for your kids. Talk to your family and friends about who will be the most appropriate care provider in these scenarios. You may also need to arrange to follow the power of attorney process to make sure a guardian has legal rights to make decisions about your child’s care. This arrangement is designed to be temporary and the rights end at a specified point, but having this plan in place can relieve some of your stress around the matter.  

Ensuring you and your partner have adequate life insurance is also a sensible backup protocol. Nobody likes to think about the potential of your kids losing one or both of their parents. But arranging this can help mitigate the anxiety surrounding your kids’ financial wellbeing and care should the worst happen.

This backup approach can extend to day-to-day tasks, too. Make sure there are alternative options in place in case you are unable to take your kids to school, or discuss work-from-home arrangements with your employer in case you have to stay home to care for a sick child. Confirming these elements in advance can be simple but effective stress relievers.

Commit to Self Care

Parents too often put their personal wellbeing on the backburner. You may even legitimise this behaviour by telling yourself that your kids are always a priority. But if you’re getting stressed and burned out, this impacts your ability to parent. So you need to consider regular self-care a priority too.

Build it into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Create a relaxing area in your home where you can be alone and decompress for an hour. Take 20 minutes each day for some meditation and mindfulness. Allow yourself the space to pursue your hobbies, and consider using cbd for anxiety if you feel you need an extra boost. This can bolster your mental wellness, feed into your parenting efficacy, and just make you a happier human.

Conclusion

Stress and anxiety can feel part and parcel of being a parent — but they don’t need to have a persistent negative impact on your life. Prepare measures to limit the potential for your child to have accidents and make backup plans for the unexpected. Reach out to local sources of support whenever you need it. A certain amount of stress is unavoidable because you care so much, but it’s important to address this so it doesn’t become problematic.  

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