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Published: 4 June 2015

Coping with the Stress of Parenting

In today’s ever changing and challenging environment, pressures on parents have intensified and parents are often faced with managing a busy schedule including job related responsibilities, household duties, as well as raising their children.

Let’s face it.  All parents will experience parenting stress on many occasions during their parenting life, and for some the parenting stress will be so persistent that this can lead to psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.  When parenting stress is persistent it is time to seek help.

We can assist with this at Go Psychology (Ph 0755809212).

The constant daily demands of being a parent places place a great deal of stress on parents. Parenting stress is associated with both parenting behaviours and child adjustment. A number of studies have shown that parents who report higher levels of parenting stress are more likely to be authoritarian, harsh, and negative in their interactions with their child.  On the other hand lax and passive parenting where the parent tries to befriend their child can also result in negative outcomes for their child.

We recommend taking a positive approach to parenting and there is a large body of research supporting the effectiveness of this parenting approach now.  Parenting is a skill and like any skill, we need to firstly learn the processes and then apply them over a period of time to get better.

Many parents are out there doing their best and doing what their parents did.  It didn’t harm you right??  If you want to learn about positive parenting, then there are very good programs available.  Remember, good parents seek parenting help, the same way that good tennis players seek further coaching.

Parents of children who are diagnosed with a behavioural disorder or developmental disability can be at increased risk of suffering from parenting stress.

At Go Psychology we specialise in helping both parents and children deal with the effects of parenting stress. Seeking professional counselling support early can help overcome some of the long lasting effects of stress on the family relationship.  Whatever stage you are at with your children we are here to help and can assist in offering advise.

We recognize that you are the expert in your family life.

Below are some tips to help decrease parenting stress.

1. Seek professional help to address any personal issues

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, you should seek professional help from a psychologist. Psychologists can be helpful in providing strategies to help you cope with life’s challenges. In addition, they’ll be able to provide you with resources to help improve your child’s functioning and help decrease problem behaviours that are the result of parenting stress.

2. Increase quality time with family

Find ways to do enjoyable activities with you and your family. Spending more quality time together, improves the parent-child relationship. It is not helpful to overly focus on everything that is not going well in your child’s life. Though it may be difficult to incorporate extracurricular activities into the family’s schedule, consider being creative by having a family game night or engage in other activities that your child enjoys.

3. Make time for yourself 

Parents of children with special needs or mental health conditions have a hard time taking a break. This is partly due to the time required to care for your child. However, many also feel they need permission to have some alone time. It is okay to take a break for yourself. It’s actually healthy and more beneficial for you and your child to have some time apart.

4.  Both parents should be united as a team

Parents will often have conflict over how to parent their children and will bring different attitudes towards parenting.  It is vital that parents stay united (at least in front of the children) and save any parental conflict for when the children are in bed.

5. Use your support systems 

In helping to overcome parenting stress it is very important to make use of your support systems. Social support networks are very helpful in decreasing parenting stress.

For example, if extended family is available ask them to provide child care for a few hours during the week so you can engage in self-care. Support systems may also be helpful in providing an avenue for you to talk with others about how they cope with being a parent. It is always good to hear how others have addressed a problem or find that you are not alone.

Tap into your local community and inquire about agencies that may be able to assist, even if this just frees up some time for yourself.

6.  Attend a positive parenting program

Good parents seek parenting help.  Parenting is the most important job you will do in your life, so why not take a short course to learn a thing or two.  Inquire in your local area. Triple P parenting is the most evidence based and comprehensive program and is now an internationally run program which hails from the University of Queensland (Brisbane).

Go Psychology is able to give you expert advice in relation to coping with the stress of parenting.  We can be contacted on (07) 5580 9212.

Dr Paul Bowden, is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of Go Psychology Robina on the Gold Coast.

To assist parents we have made this article Coping with the Stress of Parenting available as a PDF, you can download the article for reference purposes by clicking on the link.

Book an appointment with Paul now