While stress is far from being my favourite topic of discussion, I’m all about growing awareness. 

Let’s have a (quick) look at stress, what it is and how it shows up in your parenting. 

Google’s definition is: “Stress is how we react when we feel under pressure or threatened. It usually happens when we are in a situation that we don’t feel we can manage or control.”

Well done Google, that’s a spot-on definition for the underlying feelings many parents have on an ongoing basis. 

Notice the first little nugget of  information, “How we react.” There’s a lot in these three words. 

Reactions are instant responses 

Reactions are:

  • Highly individualised
  • Based on our past experiences 
  • Affect our current expectations
  • Come from within us
  • Frame the way we think about, talk about and take action on the events that are happening around us
  • Arrive in a split second

Some of our reactions are useful; others just aren’t. 

Unpacking our reactions gifts us priceless information as we strive to parent our rangatahi with love and compassion. 

As we grow the awareness of our reactions we can begin to weed out the not-so-useful ones. 

Ideally, we’d like to have useful reactions that

  1. Keep our rangatahi safe
  2. Decrease the pressure of a situation

It doesn’t always happen that way thanks to the second piece of the Google definition which reads, “when we feel under pressure or threatened.” 

How often do we feel like this when we’re a parent? 

A lot! 

Even if the situation is calm, safe, and nurturing many of us carry a mountain of pressure in our minds. A constant chatter of things to do, deadlines to meet, worries, and regrets. 

Left unchecked, pressure builds and our ability to feel safe, grounded and connected diminishes. 

We have a lower tolerance for threats and a heightened response system. Which leads to … more stress. 

We are wound up tighter than a spring in a jack-in-a-box, ready to respond to every drama in a way that only winds us up tighter, depletes us faster, and ultimately disempowers the learning that arrives with every interaction. As stated in the third piece of the Google definition,”‘when we are in a situation that we don’t feel we can manage or control.”

When we’re parents there is a lot we don’t feel we can manage or control. As the pressures from both inside and outside of our families push in on us our responses take over. And the stress keeps building …

No wonder stress has such a bad rap. 

If you are ready to take a deep breath together, let me guide you to change the stressful responses that impact your parenting ability and family fulfillment. 

Book in for a kōrero to find your next steps to family success.