Parenting During Challenging Times
One of the biggest categories of stressors that families can face is times of change. These periods of transition can bring about significant challenges and adjustments for both parents and children. Times of change can mean all different things for different families, but some common categories are:
- Changes in employment
- Family changes (such as the birth of a child, or a child going off to college)
- Loss of a loved one
- World events
Parenting during periods of change can add even more complexity and stress to your life. Here are some practical tips to help you successfully navigate and adapt to various changes while ensuring your family’s well-being.
We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect as parents, employees, siblings, partners, or friends, especially when our families are going through changes. But it’s important to understand and accept our limits. We need to be truthful with ourselves and realize that we can only do so much in each of these roles.
When things get tough, especially during times of change, it’s even more important to take care of ourselves and not try to do everything. Remember, it’s okay to admit our limits, and it doesn’t mean we’re not good enough. By looking after ourselves, we build a strong foundation to support our families during challenging times.
And when you accept yourself, you can also learn to accept others. Nobody’s perfect, so it’s important to understand people for who they are and what they can do in different roles like being a parent, a child, a worker, a family member, a partner, or a friend. Don’t expect too much from them or ask them to do things they can’t handle.
Being honest about what others can handle lets us treat them with kindness and understanding. This helps us make room for empathy and build better relationships, especially when things are changing. Remember, accepting and understanding others can make our connections stronger and help us deal with the tough times.
One of the most important things we humans need is to be connected to each other. Sometimes, when life is stressful, we forget to spend time with our family and just be together.
These connections are like the building blocks for being good parents and getting through tough times as a family. When we spend time together and connect, we create a safe and supportive space where our kids can share their feelings and ask for help. This helps us build trust and make our bond with our kids stronger, so we can support them better when things change.
Spending time as a family, whether it’s doing fun things, having deep talks, or just enjoying each other’s company, really helps our family stay strong, emotionally healthy, and ready to face all the changes life throws at us.
Set aside a specific time every day or week for your family to come together without any distractions. Dinner can be a great time for this. During this time, look back at the day or week and ask, “What went well? What didn’t go well?” This time is a good opportunity to check in with everyone and give your kids a chance to share any problems or successes they’ve had. When things get tough, having this regular check-in can help start a conversation and deal with issues.
Ask each family member, “What would you like to see happen to make things better for you or other family members?” and “What can you do to make things better for other family members?” This way, you can take action together and work as a team to solve problems, whether they’re big or small. It’s a great way to involve the whole family and face changes and challenges together.
Even when things get tough and challenging, it’s still important to make sure there’s room for happiness, fun, and staying healthy in our families.
Taking time to do things that make us happy can make a big difference in how we feel and how our family works together. It doesn’t matter what you do – play, dance, sing, exercise, take a walk, cook a meal – the key is to do them together with your family.
These activities can help relieve stress and make good memories, even when things are hard. So, don’t forget to have fun and stay healthy as a family!
Take Care of Yourself
When we’re dealing with challenging situations, it’s common to want to be perfect or feel bad for not living up to our usual standards. But it’s crucial to be kind to yourself – show yourself some compassion and know that you’re doing your best within your limits.
Allow yourself to put self-care first and focus on what really matters when things are hard. It’s okay to change your expectations and focus on the most important stuff. Remember, being a good parent doesn’t depend solely on how much you get done or meeting impossible goals.
By being kind to yourself and having realistic expectations, you create an atmosphere of understanding, patience, and support in your family. This way, you can get through tough times with gentleness, strength, and a better appreciation for the small victories along the way.
It’s also important to know that you can reach out for support when you find yourself struggling or facing challenging times. Services are available through your EAP. Depending on your needs, you might connect with a short-term counselor, use self-directed digital skill-building modules to develop your resilience or manage stress, or explore parenting resources in the Uprise Health Member Resource Hub.
Parenting is a journey with its ups and downs, twists and turns, and unexpected challenges. During times of change, it’s normal to doubt yourself and your abilities. But remember, you have a special connection with your kids, and your love and dedication make a big difference in their lives. Believe in your ability to handle change, adjust to new situations, and create a loving environment for your children.