Parent well-being: 5 ideas to boost your well-being
- Posted by:
- Michael Grose
My book Thriving,
which helps parents develop their children's psychological muscles (resilience & confidence) started with a section devoted to parent well-being. Get that right and most positive parenting flows from there. The impact of good parent mental health and well-being is often under-estimated.
Psychologist and author Jodie Benveniste talks and writes a lot of sense about parenting well-being. Her article in the lastest issue of Parentingideas Magazine
is a beauty. I've reproduced in my blog below........
We all know that there are many things that are amazing about raising kids – the love, the cuddles, watching our kids grow and learn, and having fun with our kids.
But we also know that the challenges – exhaustion, being on call 24/7, behaviour and discipline – can often seem to outweigh the good stuff.
Many of us get caught in the day-to-day grind of raising kids, keeping a house functioning and pursuing our job outside the home. It’s hard work!
But as the year ends, it’s a good time to reflect on how we can maximise the good stuff and get through the daily challenges with minimum stress.
Here are some thoughts that might help:
Look at the big picture
The cliché is absolutely true. Our kids do grow up so quickly! But when we’re going through a particular stage – sleep issues, fussy eating, defiance – it can feel like it will never end. But each stage does end. Our children master new skills – walking, reading, making friends – and each leads onto a new challenge and new aspects to admire. We don’t want to miss too much of the good stuff because this too will pass.
Focus on what's important
Where we place our attention can have a big impact on how we experience family life. We can focus on our kid’s messy bedroom or the fun they’ve had playing with their friends. We can focus on the big pile of clothes that need to be ironed or the fact we got a heap of washing done. We can focus on the time ticking away at the playground (when we’ve got a million other things to do) or how the kids are being active and getting some fresh air. Sometimes shifting your attention slightly can lead to a much better outlook.
Have realistic expectations
Having realistic expectations helps us to struggle less. If we have some knowledge of child development, and the stage our child is at, we can understand what is reasonable to expect of them. A newborn probably won’t sleep through the night. A toddler will probably have a tantrum (or two). A teenager will probably break one (or more) family rules. When we expect that these things will happen, we can often deal with them better.
Accept what you can't change
There are also many things in life we need to accept: Kids won’t always do what we say when we say. They will ‘misbehave’. They will push the boundaries. They will make mistakes. That’s life. Our children aren’t perfect, and neither are we. Once we accept that kids will be kids, we don’t have to struggle so much. We can accept, and then focus on how we want to address the ‘misbehaviour’, the boundary pushing or the mistakes. All of these are opportunities for our kids to learn and grow.
Learn and grow together
We teach our kids by loving them, setting boundaries, and establishing a family culture. But our kids teach us too. The more we continue to grow and learn as a person, the more we can help our kids learn and grow. We do it together, and we both benefit. That is the richness of family life.
Jodie Benveniste is a psychologist, parenting author and the director of Parent Wellbeing – worry less and enjoy parenting! Find out about Parent Wellbeing’s online programs, books, and parent presentations, and sign up for free parenting advice and inspiration at www.parentwellbeing.com