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How to Be Less Stressed Around Your Kids

How to Stop Dumping Your Stress Onto Your Kids

"I was wondering if anyone has noticed a correlation between their level of stress and the way they have handled their child?" writes Circle of Moms member Haley H. "For instance being short fused on bad days, etc.?"

Absolutely! I think parents are just plain worn out! Many parents, especially in this economy, are working hard, feeling stressed, and can't make adjustments to how many hours a week they work. They arrive home frustrated, angry, sad, and tired. They wonder, "What happened to the life I planned to live? Parents ask me all the time, "How do I stop dumping my stress all over my kids?"

Who Has Time to Relax?

Many experts and articles suggest you take time for yourself, do some breathing, find your passion, have a date night, or add some "me time" to your day. Those are all great ideas; I've suggested many of them myself.


Even though those are all great ideas, I find I never use them. Why? Those suggestions all require that I do something. I don't know about you, but when I come home frustrated, angry, sad, or tired, I don't have an ounce of energy left in me to do one more thing — I'm spent and ready to pounce! This week's tip is very simple, very heartfelt, and reduces parental stress!

The one thing that children want from a parent is their attention. If you break down what attention really is, you'll see that it's a connection, plain and simple.

"Essential Connection" Dissolves Stress Fast

When a parent and a child connect, their hearts open. Both parent and child feel the love surging back and forth between them. When they're both filled up with the love that naturally flows between them, they feel renewed. Both feel whole and connected to each other again after being separated or busy all day.

Focusing on love and creating a connection causes unseen properties to magically eat up stress. It's as if stress and love can't exist in the same space. When a stressed-out parent takes a few minutes to just sit and loving reconnect to their child, heart to heart, it's like a key has been inserted and the stress begins to dissolve.

The key to really making this work is to change your mind. If you're convinced that it won't work, then it won't. If you let go and believe that love is the key, then it will work. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can — or you can't — you're right." All you have to do is change your mind. As my wise friend and many others say, "Once you shift your thinking — your world changes."

The best thing about reconnecting is you don't have to do anything to make it happen. All you have to do is stop and give each other a true-real-essential hug, really connect. Then let your child do all the work. Ask her to tell you about her day. Acknowledge how well she's doing. Make no mention of the things that have to get done or the things she's done wrong today. That's what an essential connection really is. It's a moment that's sacred and stands outside of daily life.

When you focus on the heart, on love, you change your biological chemistry. Happiness, softness, warmth, and kindness begin to take the place of frustration, anger, sadness, and exhaustion. Love and essential connections tend to fall by the wayside each day due to the fast pace of life. That's how stress creeps in and takes the place of calmness and love. Essential connections are a magical thing that happen between a parent and a child. Make them happen more often, use them as a resource to de-stress.

The next time you're feeling out of sorts, stressed to the max, pulled in a million directions, take five minutes to sit down, reach out, and create an essential connection with your child. Open your hearts to each other again. And sooner rather than later you will feel renewed and ready to face life again.

Sharon Silver is a parenting educator and the founder of Proactive Parenting. She's also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be.

Image Source: Shutterstock
Join The Conversation
DoritLevyHelmer DoritLevyHelmer 4 years
I love this tip! Thank you! Makes such great sense! I'm going to try this tomorrow!~
feliciajames76610 feliciajames76610 6 years
MaryVersaggiGarcia MaryVersaggiGarcia 6 years
I thought this was a well timed article. As a single mom, stress and fatigue are often a huge proplem and my daughter and I are always trying to find ways to advert tense moments and arguements. The best way to achieve this (we've found) is a HUG. Hugs cure everything and are HUGE stress busters. And as I always say to my little girl, mommy's need lots of hugs!
VanessaDavies VanessaDavies 6 years
Thanks for this article, it's just the reminded I needed. Things like "me time", dates and the like take me even further from my kids, when what they need (and what I need) is positive time together.
DeniseMcClure DeniseMcClure 6 years
Great advise and really simple
FawziaSalahuddin FawziaSalahuddin 6 years
Thank you very much, I spent a hugging moment with my little witch after reading your article - and felt better.
BrandyShalabi BrandyShalabi 6 years
Alot of us can truly learn from this, and it honestly works!
BrookePhoenix BrookePhoenix 6 years
I just wanted to add, I have children with autism. My kids need hugs, i hug them all the time, its how i keep them calm. If I get upset or frustrated with them, they immediately know and I lose them to a huge meltdown (like a tantrum) which can go on and on and on. So I know I have to keep calm and give them this time or I wont be able to do the housework! especially with my son, he always comes home from school tired, stressed and yelling. Its so hard when I am feeling the same, but I just have to calm him down or I will spend the rest of the afternoon trying to calm him, put him in time out, stop him from fighting the other kids etc. On the other hand I know other parents of autistic kids that dont get this opportunity to connect, as their child cant stand to be touched (its a sensory issue) and some are non verbal, so the parent doesnt get to hear 'Í love you mum'. But its the most magical moment when they do get to hear it. My daughter is non verbal, she is 4, so I havent heard it yet, but the tears will be flowing on that day! Heck they flow now, when i hear her say a new word. :)
Rachel3790 Rachel3790 6 years
I know i see everyone say "if you feel stressed out" Get away, do something out with your husband, spend time alone. Ok now really... I am stressed out and you want me to go out, I have no money EVERYTHING costs money anymore. Setting outside in the yard alone costs money. You can't set there was nothing to drink. You go to a park it costs Gas, drinks while your there and normally a meal on your way there or home. That's the thing. People need to stop being money hungry. If they had more free outdoor events. Where people could unwind relax spent time with family. We would all be more productive people. We would do better at work, which in turn would mean products would be made better, sell quicker, employees would be more helpful. Than thing would sell because they wouldn't feel the makes didn't give a crap. Which in turn would make more workers would be hired to make the more items being sold. But as it is no one can afford to relax so they don't get a break and do a shitty job at work, which makes the people buying the products not want to buy them. So everyone gets layed off because nothing is being sold so it doesn't need to be made if it's not being sold. So no one works....yea! But this might very well be a start... for sure!
SarahRobinson75960 SarahRobinson75960 6 years
All of this is soooo very true. I've been EXTREMELY stressed out for a while now. I notice on the days that I take time to actually sit down and connect with my son that he gives me WAY less of a hard time. I'm really working on it both for myself and him. Love is a very powerful thing ♥
CharlotteTerbot CharlotteTerbot 6 years
I do believe one of the important features given here, is the power of a simple hug. The power of a hug, of holding someone for just a few minutes, saying I love you, is healing on so many levels. Wonder how I teach this to grown daughters and the grands.
KrisAcker KrisAcker 6 years
Thank you for this gentle reminder. I hope to be able to put this into practice with my teenager where the stress is very high. My four year old will be easier. Thank you again.
SharonSilver SharonSilver 6 years
Mitzi, I hear you. The concept is about 100% focus. I know you are with your child all day. And all day you are doing things and going places, and correcting behavior. If you took 5 minutes 2 times a day for "Mommy and Me time" and focused your 100% attention on her and nothing else, it would achieve a similar result. Hope this helps.
TheresaHoneycutt TheresaHoneycutt 6 years
I have been struggling with this a lot lately. Thank you for this article. I feel like work is consuming all of us and this is something I will definitely try. Thanks again!
SharonSilver SharonSilver 6 years
Thank you Mary, Jo DE, and Pat for your comments. How funny that when I post something so essential and simple I get low results, but when I post about yelling, I get tons and tons of comments and likes! I see where parents want the help and will go there. But you 3 made me feel really good! Thanks.
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