Modern society places extraordinary demands on parents and without a support network close by to help when needed, many are anxious, tired and stressed out. They are juggling competing priorities, getting conflicting advice on parenting from everywhere and feeling guilty because they are not perfect.
In my practice as a Brisbane City Psychologist I often need to remind my clients that parenting is one of the most difficult roles anyone can undertake. Every day is filled with moments of love, joy, pride, frustration and sometimes anger at their small charges. It is little wonder that with these strong emotions bouncing back and forth, parents fall into bed exhausted most nights knowing they face more of the same the next day.
Sometimes it becomes overwhelming, especially for a sole parent who has no respite from the constant responsibility. Left to cope alone and not knowing where to go for assistance, sometimes the unthinkable happens and a little one suffers severe injury or worse. Striking out with anger and adult force against a small body can only have one outcome, and the real tragedy is that it is preventable.
Negative Feelings about Parenting are Normal
Many people don’t realise that every parent has negative feelings towards their children at some stage. When I tell them that this is perfectly normal, an enormous weight lifts off their shoulders and they begin to enjoy their little ones. Up until hearing this, some of my clients had believed that they were somehow abnormal, were not good parents and felt inadequate and guilty as a result.
For parents who are really struggling to cope there is a range of options available. Simple techniques for managing anger and frustration work well in the short term and diffuse volatile situations. Making sure the child is safe then by leaving the room for a short time, this gives the parent time to cool off, and coupled with some deep breathing, it allows the adult to regain control. Physical activity also works well, so sprinting across the back yard a few times or punching a pillow helps the body to release tension.
Manage Stress Triggers with Professional Assistance
For parents who know that simple measures are not enough to relieve their stress, I recommend seeking professional help. Here at Brisbane City Psychology I treat many stressed parents and provide them with the psychological tools to manage their own behaviour. They gain a better understanding of their stress triggers, how to diffuse situations before they get out of control and the importance of finding time for their own needs.
With helpful Brisbane psychology tools and techniques, my patients are able to connect with other parents and share experiences, take time out for themselves and be the parents they want to be. My website at www.brisbanecitypsychologist.com.au has more information.