Parenthood may present moments that are exciting but also moments that are challenging. Difficult situations arise not only in your role as a parent but in other areas of your life. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from adverse situations. Modelling resilient skills to your child will help them to learn how to tackle difficult situations they encounter in life. What makes a difference to how a person experiences a challenging moment is the perspective one adopts; this is key to adaptation and to move forward.
The following are 8 ways that can help you be a more resilient parent and take your parenting to the next level:
Taking care of your child may come naturally but frequently, parents put themselves second, taking little to no time at all to take care of their wellbeing. Self-care should not be stolen from busy schedules. Find some time during the day to do something for yourself, this could be as simple as drinking some tea at the end of the day when everyone is asleep and recharge by reading a book or watching some TV. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.
2. Supportive networks
When you feel alone, the problems you are encountering seem a bigger load to carry. Develop strong relationships with family members or close friends whom you may want to talk to when you are going through a difficult time. You may want to connect with another resilient parent who can understand what you are going through. This supportive network may also babysit your child whilst you can take some time for yourself.
3. Here and now
As a parent you may frequently find yourself worrying about your child and what can go wrong. Try to focus on the here and now, you cannot predict the future and what has to happen, will happen. Children grow up quite quickly and they will never be at that specific age again. Try to treasure the moments you have with them. Although some moments are tougher, being present for your child and guiding them through life is the best thing you can do for them.
4. Dealing with the unknown
This relates to the previous point. The unknown can be scary and cause anxiety. Remember that you cannot control everything in life. When we do not have control over certain situations, all we can do is accept what is and learn to cope with it.
5. Prioritising what is important
There is always so much to do and finding time to fit everything into a day seems an impossible feat. This can undoubtedly cause significant stress. Focus on what is a priority; don’t stress so much on trying to have a perfect clean house or to make super fancy lunches for your child that will require so much time to prepare. Whether their sandwich is cut in the shape of a star or not, they will still eat.
6. Accept you will make mistakes
Every parent makes mistakes which can be hard to accept. As a resilient parent you would want to try and be as perfect as you can in raising your child however, this is not realistic. It is okay to make mistakes, use them as a learning experience and do not be afraid to apologise to your child when you have wronged them.
7. Dealing with stress
How do you deal with stress? Having a hobby that can help you de-stress is important. When you start to feel the stress building you can also practice some breathing exercises that can help you feel calmer in that moment in time.
8. Emotional intelligence
When you are upset about a situation you need to learn how to regulate your emotions. It is okay to talk about why you are upset or sad, you are modelling to your child that you have different emotions and that you can express them. Of course, you need to adapt what you say according to your child’s age. Tell them how you cope with these emotions e.g. talking to someone about it.
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Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.