Let’s face it. Today’s lifestyles are incredibly full and busy. It’s more of a norm for both parents to work than for one parent to stay at home, and that is if the home is comprised of two parents in the home. Of course if parents are raising children in two separate homes, then this greatly increases the stress load for everyone involved.
Family stress management is crucial, in order to create a healthy family unit and to provide a healthy and emotionally safe atmosphere for children. Most of the time, managing the stress levels in a home only takes a little effort on the part of parents. Here’s a look at some simple changes that parents can make, in order to connect with their kids and create unity and calm in the home.
Connect During Meals
Make it a habit to share meal time around the table together with the kids. It’s so easy for the family to disconnect, especially since kids like to eat microwaved convenience foods alone in their rooms. However, meal time around the time encourages the family to come together to share an intimate activity.
It’s during these times that the family can learn what is going on in each other’s lives. Parent can learn about the activities and the concerns of their kids. For most families, the evening meal is the perfect time to reflect on the day and touch base with each other. This activity can go a long way, with regards to family stress management.
Plan Specialty Family Outings
Parents can make their family outings or activities as elaborate or as simple as they wish. For example, they could take charge by instituting a family game night, a family movie night, family pizza night, etc. Or, parents can plan road trips, field trips, or a vacation or two a year. If the family is facing financial struggles, then the family can simply whip up sandwiches and plan a day out in the park with a picnic. The important thing is that the family is spending quality time with each other. When the family is having fun together, this creates bonds that open up lines of communication that may have previously been blocked..
Here are some more tips for parents, with regards to this issue:
1. Don’t shut down discussion issues, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. It’s hard for parents to hear what their kids have to say sometimes. As the children grow, they will ask questions that might be embarrassing for parents. Or, the parents themselves might be coping with issues that cause stress and discomfort. It’s very important to face the issues and the questions head on, in order to overcome them in a healthy manner.
2. Don’t downplay or minimize the issues of another family member. Don’t make members of the family feel as if their issues aren’t important or that one family member’s issues are more important. Following this advice can do a lot for family unity and harmony. It’s important for all of the family members to feel as if they count and that their voice and concerns matter. What might not be that important to one family member could be life changing for another.
- If you really are struggling to communicate with one of your children then consider a third party whether it be a trusted family member, friend, or school counsellor for them to talk to. Gaining an adult perspective will help them not to over inflate an issue, that may seem like a very big deal to them. If the family as a whole is under stress, then gaining counselling as individuals as well as a family unit may be beneficial to help you to cope with the stressor or trauma that the family is experiencing.