Does My Stress Affect My Kids?

24
Sep
2013


I’ve been under a bit of stress lately – I hate to admit it, but there are times it gets the best of me.   Stress for me not only reflects in my attitude, but higher levels of stress can trigger my depression and anxiety to begin to rise, which is not healthy at all and I want to keep far away, {thank goodness I have immediate help with my depression and anxiety right at my finger tips!}  I know we are commanded to not worry or be anxious, but the flesh so wants to take the drivers seat – can you relate?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, my prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

“These kids are driving me crazy and no one is helping!”

When things get to be too much, often the ones in mom’s direct path take the brunt of the frustration. The way we deal with stress can affect our kids and will create a less than desirable atmosphere in our home.  In the moment, we forget the damage that can be done.  We yell, scream, roll our eyes in frustration, lose our patience and show our inability to control our emotions.  We act like children.  Embarrassing.  We teach our kids to do the same, which is really the wrong message.

Stress can be both good and bad. When we respond favorably in stressful situations, we learn to cope with the event and go on.  I’ve managed to become much better at running interference with rising stress.  I’ve been able to recognize the signs before I end up blowing my top.  I am so thankful, more often than not I just need to stop in my tracks, say a prayer and then breath deep.  When my kids see me stepping back and taking control, it teaches them a life skill that is extremely important.

I loved how in Lisa Byrne’s book, “Replenish:  Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life” that she gives practical strategies to counter-act stress in our lives on a daily basis – no one is going to do it for us, we’ve got to focus intentionally.  When you take proactive steps to reduce the stress, you help everyone, not just yourself.

Stomp out distress

Distress is when stressful situations turn bad. Instead of directing our frustration in the direction of the problem or seeking someone to listen, we make our kids the target.  When I was a single mom, I especially made the mistake of turning my frustrating out on my kids.  It was horrible.  We don’t set out to do this, but high stress has a way of making us act in a manner that is not the way we normally act or even think we could act.  Then we carry guilt about our actions which produce nothing positive.

Watch the Attitude

Kids are visual people. They learn by watching us. If our attitude is negative they will pick up on it.  What can you do during your day to keep your attitude in check?  If I am not up before my kids in the morning and getting my own ‘attitude check’ in with the Lord, I certainly struggle more through out the day.

Determine the climate

Kids sense changes in the climate of their home. This includes a change in a our temperament. When mom gets angry, kids know it. If children are used to seeing their mom smiling and laughing, hearing her get angry or shouting can frighten them. They may run and hide or begin reacting to your emotions in other way.

Whenever mom is like that, kids will turn away. They may learn to shut down themselves if they think that something they say or do will cause mom to get this way. When stress causes a mom to lash out at her kids, they may believe that they are the cause of the anger.  Learning to express ourselves with our kids in a way that helps them learn how to talk about when their angry or hurt instead of yelling or acting out in negative ways is one of the best things we can teach.  I am currently reading, “How We Love Our Kids,” by Milan and Kay Yerkovich {I’ll be sharing more on this book soon!}and helping our kids express themselves is a life skill that no one else can teach them.  I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to be better at expressing their emotions in healthy ways.

Impatience

Stress can lead to impatience – which then leads to moms becoming impatient with their kids.  You know the scenario, the morning rush, everyone is going slower than molasses and you need everyone out the door by 8:15 AM so you can make a Dr. appointment.  The stress rises and we begin throwing out commands right and left and our frustration kicks into overdrive.

Kids learn to be impatient with others when we display this towards them.   Moms may notice this when they see their child playing with its siblings. The child will rush others or snatch toys away even if it makes the other children cry. I know I’ve had to take a look at certain tones of voices or behaviors in my kids and reflect back to where this could have come from…..ouch, bingo – me!

Can you find ways to add time in your morning to have less chance of these costly outbursts or hurried mornings?  Look at patterns that are consistent in causing this type of stress and find solutions.

Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.    Marilu Henner

Stress affects kids. When mom is stressed and it shows in her behavior towards the kids, they learn to become guarded.  I know that is not what we want for our kids.  Stress management is important to maintain a healthy relationship between mother and children.  The relationship you develop with your kids is more important than almost any other issue you can face in a day.  Check out other ways mom can manage stress in their everyday life.

What is your best stress reducer tip?

 

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Help Susan Help These Children!