Parents must take care of their mental health for the sake of their children. I often tell parents that children are very intuitive and will reflect their mood and energy. If a parent is feeling stressed, anxious, or down, their children will sense that. On the other hand, when a parent is happy and at peace, their children will feel that also. Therefore, parents must find ways to manage their stress and keep their mental health in a good place. When parents take care of themselves, they can better take care of their children.
FALLING APART AT THE SEAMS
No one can deny that parenting is tough. It's a full-time job with no breaks, and it can be overwhelming at times. I know this all too well. As a parent educator, I've seen firsthand how the pressure of parenting can lead to mental distress. Stress-related conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are risk factors for adults as well as children.
When you're a parent, you're constantly giving of yourself. You're always on the go, and it's easy to forget to take care of yourself. It's important to find time to relax and recharge. Otherwise, you'll just end up burning out.
If you feel like you're about to reach your breaking point, I recommend reaching out to your doctor, minister, counselor, friend, or family member for support or even attending a parenting class where you can learn new, practical skills. It's important to have a support system in place and ask for help when needed.
KEEPING IT TOGETHER
Parents must also learn to regulate their emotions. Because they play a huge role in the development of their children, it's vital for caregivers to maintain a healthy emotional state. Parents should learn how to relax and not put too much pressure on themselves. No one has it ALL together. By taking care of themselves and taking time to relax, they show their children by example how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
REPAIRING THE RELATIONSHIP
If you lost your temper with your child, you can still recover. The task is to repair that relationship. Consider how you may have hurt your child and take responsibility for it. Acknowledge that your child is a human being and has feelings, too. Allow them to express how they felt without being defensive. They are telling you how THEY expoerienced the situation. It's not about you agreeing, but about you listening and validating their EXPERIENCE.
There are many ways to keep the relationship strong, which are different for every family. Some things that may help are spending time together, communicating often, being consistent with rules and expectations, showing affection, and being involved in your child's life. Working to keep the relationship between you and your child is important because a strong, healthy connection is key to providing your child with the guidance, support, and love they need to grow into a healthy and whole individual.