Take a Break When You Have Reached Your Limit
Our local schools had a break recently, and I took some vacation time to be at home with my kids. We had a great time during our “staycation,” and did lots of fun things around town. While we were out and about, I observed lots of parents interacting with their children. It seemed to me that many children and their parents were having a good time with one another. As the week progressed, however, I noticed more and more parents appearing to be a bit overwhelmed and stressed. Now, this is a very common pattern when our schedules change and everything seems a bit off-kilter; but it made me wonder—how many parents feel this way most of the time?
As parents, we all go through phases when we are feeling stressed and worn out. Sometimes this stress comes from work, finances, or difficulties with a spouse. Other times it comes from managing our children and their needs. It really doesn’t matter what is behind our own stress levels. The important thing for all parents to remember is that it is not our children’s fault that we are feeling this way, and we should not take it out on them by being short-tempered and irritable. It is our responsibility as parents to make sure we are adequately prioritizing, finding, and utilizing outlets for our own stress. We need to make sure we are finding time for ourselves, to be ourselves, and to not always be in the role of a parent. When is the last time you read a good book, worked out at the gym, went out for coffee by yourself, or did something that you used to enjoy as a hobby? If you are sitting there pondering this, than it has probably been way too long!
Children regulate their own emotional states off of the emotional states of the adults in their lives. If we parents are in a good spot emotionally, then our children are more prone to better regulate themselves. If we are in a more stressed state, than our children will be more prone to behavioral upset. This especially holds true for children who struggle with emotional and behavioral dysregulation. These types of children especially need calm, consistent, and emotionally regulated adults in their lives to guide them through their ups and downs. The bottom line here is that we all need to remember that our children regulate their emotions and behaviors off of our own. What are you modeling for your kids currently? Does it need to change?
Do you find that you get stressed out by all of the changes when your kids are on school break? If so, then your children probably also experience that to a certain extent. Be sure to find time, especially during stressful moments in your life, to do something for yourself. Taking a quick walk around the block, or enjoying a chapter in your favorite book can do a world of good. Be sure to find time for yourself individually to de-stress. After all, we need to keep ourselves in a good place so that we can help our children stay that way, too!
Written by: Courtney Kowalczyk MS LLP
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