How to Cope With Parenting Stress and Anxiety

Coping With Stress: A Guide For Struggling Parents

How to Cope With Parenting Stress and Anxiety

Life comes with many stresses: working, paying bills, staying healthy, and making sure your kids are safe and happy are just a few of the things you have to worry about on a daily basis. It can be difficult to know the best ways to cope with those feelings without taking them out on your children, especially when it’s been a long day and everyone is tired.

However, it’s imperative to learn healthy coping methods to keep from having emotional outbursts directed at your little ones, which can give them their own anxiety or cause them to lash out at others in return. If you’ve ever found yourself yelling over something a spilled cup of juice, you can probably benefit from a break so that you can step back, look at the issues at hand, and make some changes.

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Fortunately, it’s a cycle that can be prevented if you have a good plan. Taking good care of yourself is one of the best ways to start, and that includes being careful about substances.

Abusing drugs or alcohol in order to cope with stress is an easy path to go down, but it can be a dangerous one that leaves you feeling worse than before.

It’s important to find healthier ways to deal with your feelings, in part so that you can lead by example for your children.

Here are the best ways to get started.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care involves many different things, and it’s different for everyone.

Some people feel they get more exercising every day than they do relaxing, so if that makes you happy and more energized, go for it! Or, you might find that making time for yourself to sit with a good book or have a long lunch with friends makes you feel good. Think about the activities that will help you feel relaxed in a healthy way, and try to do at least one a day in order to reduce stress.

This will also keep you from turning to substances for relief because when we let the stress pile up, it can be harder and harder to find positive ways to cope. Keep in mind that drugs and alcohol are only a temporary relief and that your problems will still be present after the effects wear off. Learning how to cope in the moment will help you figure out a solution that really works.

Think About The Big Picture

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget to look at what’s truly important. When work has you stressed and the bills are piling up, it’s often difficult to take a breath and remember that it’s just a season; everything will pass, but your family will be yours forever.

Make it a point to think about all the good things in your life, and talk about them over dinner with your loved ones. Have everyone say one thing they’re grateful for. Not only will it help you see the positive side, but it will also allow your children to take a step back and look at the big picture, as well.

Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To

Getting caught up in the monotony of work and responsibilities can make life seem one long, never-ending job. Having something to look forward to can ease those feelings and help you look to the future with hope, so plan out a family vacation for the summer or just a short road trip for yourself and a friend.

You can also promise yourself a treat, which can be as big as buying a new piece of furniture or as small as enjoying an ice cream sundae at the end of a long day.

It doesn’t have to be something expensive; just knowing that you have something you really want waiting for you can help you stay positive and keep stress at bay.

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

Most parents know what it’s to feel guilt over an outburst directed at their child; it happens.

When it’s been a long day, and everyone is tired and hungry and pushing one another’s buttons, it’s very easy to let your stress or anger over something that happened at work come out toward someone else.

Try not to be hard on yourself if this happens; simply take a deep breath, take a time-out if possible, and talk to your child about your feelings (and theirs). Let them know that you aren’t upset with them and listen to what they have to say.

Communication is a big part of reducing stress, even if your child is very young. Coping with stress and anxiety isn’t always easy, but learning the best ways to do so in a healthy manner can allow you to be the best parent you can be. Remember to practice self-care, get adequate rest, and do things that help you stay relaxed and happy.


Parenting While Anxious: 5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety as a Parent — Therapy Blog

How to Cope With Parenting Stress and Anxiety

Parenting is one of the hardest, most stressful, yet rewarding experiences a person can have. We love our little ones with all our hearts, but they often test our limits. Being a parent can bring out the best and worst in each of us. Parenting with anxiety, however, can make the experience more challenging for parents and kids a.

Let’s set the scene: You are out to dinner and your child starts to throw a massive temper tantrum. You feel the eyes of the other diners and wait staff trained on you, waiting to see what will happen next.

At home you could simply ignore the fit, but in public something must be done. The pressure is on to resolve the situation so your child can calm down and the other restaurant patrons can go back to a peaceful dinner.

Not an easy feat, right? You feel the tension rise in your mind and body, but you manage to resolve the situation in one way or another.

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Next, consider how you might feel in this situation with an anxiety condition. You might have already been in an anxious state just leaving your house and going into a public space.

You could be preoccupied with fears of judgment from others, germs, or a catastrophe taking place. You may sweat when you look in your server’s eyes to order because of social anxiety. You may ritualistically count in your head to manage the rising panic.

These are all examples of how different anxiety conditions can affect your frame of mind when you leave the house.

Now let’s add that lovely temper tantrum your toddler is throwing. How well will you be able to problem-solve while in a heightened state? Will you be able to deal with your child calmly or will your anxiety morph into extreme irritability that gets taken out on your child? What is the lihood it might escalate into a panic attack and you won’t be able to handle it at all?

You can see how anxiety can become so distracting that your ability to effectively parent in a high-stress situation is compromised. Yes, being a parent is hard and can make anyone anxious. But when you are living with an anxiety condition, it can be downright overwhelming.

Anxiety stems from a deeply held core belief that we are unable to control or resolve a stressor. This belief causes us to question our abilities, doubt a positive outcome, and overestimate a potential danger. It takes away our ability to have faith in the future and trust our judgment.

The resulting thinking patterns can significantly affect our parenting.

Anxiety stems from a deeply held core belief that we are unable to control or resolve a stressor. This belief causes us to question our abilities, doubt a positive outcome, and overestimate a potential danger.

If you have a fear of infection from germs, your choices to wash your hands excessively or avoid certain activities may have an impact on your children.

If you have social anxiety and avoid leaving the house or meeting new people, your children may follow your example.

If you are preoccupied with your children’s behaviors for fear of what they might lead to 10 or 15 years down the line, you may not be able to be present with them to teach them how to behave.

There is so much pressure on parents, especially mothers, to be perfect and to have perfect children. Parents are exposed to more information than ever about how their parenting may affect their children long-term.

From screen time to nutrition to discipline, it is easy to find a multitude of articles or studies to suggest you are somehow damaging your children.

These sources of information can be helpful, but can also give us a false sense of control over how to avoid anything negative happening to our kids.

So how can people with anxiety conditions parent effectively while maintaining their own mental health? Here are five ways to parent while anxious:


Self-care is the first and most important method to improve parenting skills—and it applies to everyone, regardless of whether you have an anxiety condition. Simply put, you can’t give your kids everything when you have nothing to give.

Take the time to consider what you need to do for yourself to keep your symptoms under control. There are things everyone needs: exercise, good nutrition, time to recharge. There are also things that are unique to you.

Do you love reading? Biking? Kickboxing? Time with friends? Think about what helps you recharge your batteries so the mental and physical energy to care for your kids can be there.

2. Know Your Limits

When you have an anxiety condition, your comfort zone can be smaller and more defined than for most. If you know going out to dinner with the kids is stressful, don’t go unless you can’t avoid it. If you can’t handle watching your kids play in the dirt, have your partner or a family member oversee cleanup.

Don’t sign up for every committee at school if your social anxiety makes it feel overwhelming. There are always unavoidable triggers, and it isn’t advisable to avoid everything that tends to make you anxious, as doing so can ultimately increase anxiety.

If you know you are going into a stressful situation, try to do it sans kids.

3. Have a Handy List of Coping Skills

When you get a moment, sit down and think about helpful ways to resolve your anxiety in the moment.

Deep breathing, visualization, meditation, and 5-minute time-outs are all examples of ways to potentially reduce anxiety. When your anxiety is on the rise, you are not thinking clearly.

Having these coping skills written down and available may make it easier to do what is necessary to calm down.

4. Give Yourself a Break

We all have ugly parenting moments for one reason or another. You deserve compassion and forgiveness for yourself in the times your anxiety negatively affects your parenting. Remember, you are doing the best you can do and beating yourself up won’t help you be a better parent.

5. Get Help

Speak with your doctor, family, friends, or anyone else you trust about your anxiety. Making an appointment with a therapist who specializes in working with anxiety is a good step in learning how to feel better and be a more effective parent. You don’t need to suffer alone with your symptoms. There is help for you.

© Copyright 2017 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Levana Slabodnick, LISW-S, Topic Expert

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.


Top 10 Tips for Managing Parenting Stress & Anxiety

How to Cope With Parenting Stress and Anxiety

Raising a child is not an easy job and it would not be completely wrong to associate the two words – ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ with parenting. As parents, you are ly to worry about the well-being of your child. The day to day issues that concern your child can even make you stressed and anxious.

The important thing that will convince you is that these feelings will go away once you know how to deal with them effectively. Any kind of unnecessary worrying will do no good to you or to your child. Therefore, you need not stress yourself for no reason.

Here is how you can deal with parenting stress and anxiety.

Parenting stress is associated with feeling that parents may develop regarding various aspects related to their child’s life. Here are issues that may evoke parental stress:

  • Whether a child is achieving various developmental milestones in time or not.
  • If a child is spending too much time at the daycare centre.
  • If a child is friendly enough or does he have enough friends.
  • If the child is getting good grades in the class or not.
  • Whether a child is good at extra-curricular activities or not.
  • Whether a child is getting enough nutrition or not.

The above-mentioned are some of the issues that we pointed; however, there can be numerous such issues that can cause stress in parents.

What Causes Parenting Anxiety and Stress?

Where some parents may get all stressed about certain aspects concerning their kid’s life, others may not and hence they may not create hoopla over the situation. The question here is why parents get all stressed up or anxious. Here are some common causes that may lead to anxiety and stress in parents:

  • The constraint of time and the guilt of not spending adequate time with the child.
  • When other relationships take a back seat and parenthood becomes the prime focus.
  • Being uncertain about your parenting duties.
  • The protective instincts of parents toward their kid may make the parents anxious.
  • The growing financial expenditure of the kids and meeting up their demands may cause stress.
  • Lack of personal time and space may make the parents anxious too.

If you are also dealing with parenting stress, then you need help. Here are some parenting stress management techniques that will help you deal with parental anxiety and stress:

Every stage of parenthood brings along a different set of challenges with it. The things that you could earlier do with ease and within your planned time, may take days to finish.

You may find yourself struggling to do the same things and the inability to get the tasks done in time may trigger panic. Therefore, it becomes important that you prioritise things and postpone the lesser important things.

Planning in advance will come handy when you have a child in your child.

Don’t behave a superman or super-woman, thinking that you have it all under control. It is okay to seek help from your partner, family, and friends too. If you can afford house help or hire a maid, you should do that. If someone can share your household responsibilities to ease out the feelings of frustration, it would be a bonus.

3. Talk to Your Partner

The best way to feel relaxed and calm is by talking to your partner and sharing your feelings.

This is because it is your partner who is on the same journey as you are and he may be able to relate better to your problems and concerns.

Sometimes you may not be looking for solutions but just wanting somebody to listen to you tirelessly and your partner is the best person to share these feelings with.

4. Get Professional Help

It is looked with raised eyes, whenever someone thinks about taking help for their issues. Don’t mind what others say, what matters here is you and your children. Getting professional help and guidance will help you deal with your issues in a better way and thus may help you become a better parent.

5. Pamper Yourself

From the time you become parents, your kids become your first priority and your needs take a backseat. But don’t let that happen. Prioritising your child is fine, but along with that, you need to prioritise yourself, too. Pamper yourself, take care of your needs. When you will do things that make you happy, your stress or anxiety will go away.

Easier said than done! When you are a working mom, and you have a child and a house to look after too, things can go crazy. However, the best you can do is either look for work from home job options, or you can opt for a job that offers you flexible timings. You can rely on a family member, or you can hire some help to take care of your kid and household chores.

The best way to get rid of stress is to meditate. Breathing and concentration techniques work wonders in making one feel calm and relaxed. Seek professional help to learn the correct way of mediation. Once you learn it, meditate regularly and keep the stress at bay.

8. Listen to Music

Listening to some soothing music can help you relax and lower your stress. Music is the food for your soul and may help you feel calm in no time. Take out time for yourself and enjoy the music of your choice.

9. Spend Time with Friends

Going for a cup of coffee or movie with your friend can be an ultimate stress buster. When we become parents, we usually forget that friends hold great importance in our lives.

Hold on to your friends who are always there for you. Socialise with them often, as it will shift your focus from and help you de-stress too.

You will feel happy after spending some quality time with your friends.

Apart from fuelling your mind with happy thoughts, you should also fuel your body with good food. Exercise is also necessary to keep the mind and body healthy. If you feel healthy physically, you will be able to handle any kind of emotional issues more effectively. So, eat good food and make some time for exercise.

Parenting is difficult but don’t let any kind of negative feelings stress and anxiety shatter your confidence. Refer the above-mentioned ways to get rid of these feelings and enjoy your time with your kids.

Also Read: Ways to Enhance Your Parenting Skills


Stress and stress management: grown-ups

How to Cope With Parenting Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a normal part of life, something that everybody experiences.

Some stress can be OK, giving you the motivation and focus to face challenges and get things done. But too much stress can be overwhelming, making it difficult to cope with everyday things.

Managing your stress is good for your emotional and mental health and wellbeing. And when your stress is under control and you’re feeling well, you’re better able to navigate the challenges of family life. This helps your children grow, develop and thrive.

What causes stress?

Changes in your life, even positive ones, can be stressful. For example, moving house is a stressful event for many people.

Feeling uncertain, not having control over your environment, and having too much to do and not enough time to do it are also big causes of stress. It’s easy to see how a new baby might create this kind of stress, or a toddler who has public tantrums, or a teenage child who’s pushing the boundaries.

And then there are the everyday challenges – for example, getting yourself and the children out the door and off to school and work on time.

Signs that you might be stressed

If you’re stressed, your body will probably let you know. In a stressful moment, your heart rate might go up, your breathing might get faster, and your muscles might tense up.

Sometimes these short-term stress reactions can actually help you deal with stressful situations. For example, they might give you the adrenaline rush you need to get to the bus on time.

But if you keep going at this speed, your body will get exhausted. You might end up with headaches, sleep problems, digestive problems or the feeling that you just can’t cope. This obviously isn’t good for your health and wellbeing.

So it’s important to watch out for signs of stress. You might be stressed if you’re:

  • worrying most of the time
  • drinking too much alcohol, smoking or using drugs
  • finding it hard to be tolerant with your partner or children
  • having trouble sleeping
  • not feeling well – perhaps you have headaches or other aches and pains
  • not wanting to get bed in the morning
  • having thoughts ‘I’m never going to get this mess’
  • feeling that you’re not managing practical everyday things, family routines and finances.

Knowing your stress triggers

If you know what your stress triggers are, it can be easier to deal with stress. You might be able to avoid stressful situations, or prepare yourself. A useful exercise is to write down what makes you feel stressed.

For example, your child crying for a long time might be very stressful for you. If it’s important for you to be on time, you might find it stressful when you can see the clock ticking but your children are moving slowly. If you love a clean and tidy house but no longer have one, this could be stressful.

Simple stress management: five tips

1. Think and talk positively
Unhelpful thinking makes it harder to deal with stressful things – for example, in a stressful situation you might think, ‘What’s wrong with me? I can’t get things together’.

But you can change unhelpful thinking into helpful thinking and positive self-talk, which are good ways to deal with stress. They increase your positive feelings and your ability to cope with stressful situations.

To put realistic thinking and positive self-talk into action, try the following:

  • Challenge unhelpful thoughts about things that cause you stress. For example, your child cries in the supermarket. You think, ‘Everyone will think I’m a bad parent’. But you could ask yourself, ‘How do I know that people will think this?’, ‘Would I think this about someone else?’ or ‘What can I do to deal with this problem?’
  • Be realistic about what you can do. For example, it might be too much to expect your child never to cry in the supermarket. But perhaps you could change the situation so the crying is less ly to happen. Would your child cry less if you went shopping at a different time of day, perhaps after your child has had a nap?
  • Develop positive self-talk statements that help you. For example, you could say to yourself, ‘The shopping won’t take much longer – I can get through it’, ‘People are minding their own business – they’re not looking at us’, ‘I can do this’ or ‘I will stay calm’.
  • Know your limits and choose your battles. It might be best to avoid overwhelming experiences if you can. For example, try online shopping if supermarket shopping is too hard for you and your child.
  • Practise positive self-talk. The more you do it, the more automatic it will become.

2. Focus on what’s essential
Stress often means you’re trying to do too much, so try setting realistic goals for your day. You could also avoid taking on more than you can handle.

Making a plan and having some family routines can help you feel more on top of things and take your stress down a notch or two.

And if you have some large tasks to deal with, they might be more manageable if you break them down into smaller chunks. You might also think about asking for some help from family or friends.

3. Stay connected with others
Talking things over with your partner or a friend can help you keep things in perspective.

Spending some time with friends can be a real help too. Even meeting for a quick coffee can be enough, because sharing worries can help you feel supported and better able to cope.

If you have limited time, connecting with other parents through social media or email can help you stay in touch with -minded people.

4. Focus on your physical health
Look after your physical health by eating well, getting some exercise, and making time for rest.

If you find it hard to get to sleep, do quiet activities reading in the hour before bed.

If you’re lying awake at night for more than 20 minutes, get bed and read something non-stimulating until you feel sleepy. You could also try doing some guided meditation to help you relax. If stress or worry is keeping you up, it might help to write down your worries and look at them the next day.

Avoid stimulants cigarettes and caffeine, and depressants alcohol if you can.

5. Try to make more time for yourself
If you’re working long hours, think about whether there are ways you could cut down or make work more flexible.

Make time to do things you enjoy, whether that’s reading, watching television, gardening, having fun with family and friends, and so on. Try to do one thing on the list every day, or every couple of days, and especially on the weekend. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, it’s still time for you.

Be aware that you might not be able to ‘give to others’ if you’re under stress yourself. It’s important to give to yourself at these times. This might mean that you need to slow down your social life for a while or learn to say no sometimes.

Humour does wonders to melt away stress. Smiling and laughing is one of the best relaxation techniques, and enjoying yourself can really help your stress levels. Try talking with a friend who makes you laugh, or watching a funny TV show.

If stress continues: seeking help

If you’re still feeling very stressed every day, it might help to talk to a health professional. You could start by seeing your GP, who can help you make a plan for managing stress. This might include referring you to another health professional for some specialist support.

Stress is often the result of trouble with time management or other issues. It can help to work with a professional on identifying the issues and coming up with solutions.

You can find more stress management techniques in our activity guides on breathing, muscle relaxation and mindfulness. You can also search online for stress management and relaxation apps, books, videos and so on.


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