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6 Ways to deal with family stress

6 tips for dealing with family stress

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Stress in varying degrees, is part and parcel of modern-day living. But recognising that it affects everyone in a household and dealing with it in a positive way is critical to family wellbeing.

Stress in varying degrees, is part and parcel of modern-day living. But recognising that it affects everyone in a household and dealing with it in a positive way is critical to family wellbeing.

A 2010 survey conducted by The American Psychological Association (APA) found 73% of parents reported ‘family responsibilities’ as a significant source of stress.

A recent straw poll of friends with kids covering the same subject came up with an even more overwhelming statistic. Of the dozen mums and dads I spoke to 100% said things like domestic chores, childrearing and the big one – worrying about household finances, made them feel stressed regularly.

Interestingly the APA’s research found that 69% of surveyed parents thought their stress level had “slight to no impact on their child’s stress levels” – a finding that is as surprising as it is false.

I don’t know about you but my kids are far from oblivious when it comes to my stress levels (actually they are pretty perceptive when it comes to most emotions - even if they don’t always show it).

If mum and/or dad bring stress into the family home, kids pick up on it. Fact. And unfortunately, stressed-out parents tend to equate to stressed-out kids. But this situation is far from a lost cause.

There are lots of ways to better manage household stress.

Here are 6 golden rules to better manage household stress:

1. Admit that stress isn’t healthy for anyone - conceding that parental stress levels can, and often do affect children (even if thought to be hidden) is motivation to do something to rectify the situation rather than opting to ignore it

2. Communicate feelings whenever possible – if you’re feeling anxious, rather than try to hide such emotions, be open (when appropriate) and talk to the kids about how you are feeling and how they may be able to help. Children will feel more at ease and it encourages the same sort of response when/if kids are feeling uptight about something themselves.

3. Evaluate self and lifestyle – kids model themselves on their parents so monitor your stress responses closely and make changes where appropriate i.e. overeating when feeling worried or having a glass or two of wine after a tough day at work might not be setting the best example to kids of how to manage stress. There’s a fantastic ad called by Drinkwise Australia  called “Drink cycle” that shows just how easily kids mirror their parent’s drinking behavior. It might make you think twice next time you ask your child to grab you another beer!

4. Identify triggers – understanding what triggers stress in a family is half the battle. Simple preventative measures (once trigger/s are recognised) such as cleaning up a cluttered space to create a more relaxing environment or organising kid’s lunches andschool bags the night before to avoid stress during the morning, might sound trivial but can help avoid unsightly melt down moments.

5. Get active – getting physical i.e. out for a regular jog, swim or even a quick game of hide and seek is a great natural stress reliever for parents and kids and a great habit to get into for overall mental and physical wellbeing

6. Be kind to yourself – everyone feels stress from time to time but getting everyday things right like making sure you eat wholesome foods,  ensuring you get enough essential nutrients, adding appropriate vitamin supplementation for fussy eaters, along with clocking up enough sleep each night will assist in more positive stress responses

How do you manage stress in your home?

Take Blackmores stress quiz and find out how you compare to the rest of Australia.