While being a parent is one of life’s joys, let’s be honest, it isn’t always easy. As parents, we strive to create a supportive and nurturing environment for our children and keep a level head. But that can be easier said than done…
Perhaps more often than we’d care to admit, the demands of parenting can lead to stress, anxiety, and anger, which can ultimately negatively impact our children’s emotional well-being.
And this emotional rollercoaster is only added to by the stress of our jobs, finances, personal health and other factors in our daily lives. Understanding calmer parenting often comes down to a more holistic approach to managing our own emotions.
In this guide we’re going to look at some actionable steps you can take to be a more calm parent. This can lead to not just a better relationship with your kids, but also a deeper sense of personal self satisfaction and lower stress levels across all aspects of your life.
Understanding Children and How They Affect Our Emotions
One of the first things to remember when you want to master becoming a calm parent is that kids are not ‘naughty’ on purpose. In fact the concept of ‘naughty children’ is one that has now been recognised as both outdated and damaging.
Putting it simply: Children have less control over the emotions and actions than us grown ups. While we might see them crying because they didn’t get the snack or toy they wanted, the truth is they don’t understand why they can’t have it and can’t manage their emotions to control their response.
And they often model their own behaviour on us. This is another reason why calm parenting is so important to the mental and emotional development of children.
Once you realise that children are not ‘naughty’ intentionally, this changes how you see their behaviour and can be a great step towards calm parenting.
Understanding the Impact of Stress, Anxiety, and Anger on Parenting
Another key step in becoming a calmer parent is understanding the impact of our personal stress, anxiety, and anger on parenting.
Parental stress can trickle down to our children and affect their emotional well-being, behaviour, and overall development. Research conducted by the mental health charity Mind reveals that a significant proportion of parents experience high levels of stress (74%) and anxiety (50%). Furthermore, negative parental emotional outbursts can cause children to feel upset, unsafe, and emotionally insecure in their home environment.
So it makes sense that to become a calmer parent, we’ll need to find ways to manage stress, anxiety, and anger proactively. The following strategies can be helpful:
Mindfulness is a technique that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgement. Elements of this echo is practices such as yoga and meditation, both of which can help your practice mindfulness.
Once you understand mindfulness, as a parent you can create emotional space and respond to your children’s needs in a more calm and centred manner.
Some steps you can take to practise mindfulness include:
- Taking time to focus on breathing and relaxing
- Studying meditation
- Taking up yoga
- Making sure you include screen free time in your day
There are plenty of mindfulness and meditation courses on YouTube which you can take for free. Or you can even find a local mindfulness class near you…
Self-reflection is an essential practice for becoming a calmer parent. By stopping to take time to reflect on our actions, emotional responses and thought processes, we can learn what makes us react in a specific way.
Of course, this is a key step on the route to self improvement, especially when learning to become a more calm parent.
Only by understanding ourselves better can we respond to our children’s needs more calmly and positively.
Vocalising your experience by discussing with your partner or friend, or even discussing with a therapist, can be a great step to understanding your triggers. If this is not something you feel confident doing, you can also try journalling or speaking to an online therapist about challenges with your child.
Using Stress-Reducing Techniques
Stress-reducing techniques can provide much-needed relief during particularly challenging parenting moments. These are usually techniques that you practise to improve your general stress levels across your life.
Techniques could include exercise, stretching, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, and engaging in hobbies or activities we enjoy. Finding time to participate in these activities can help alleviate stress levels, allowing parents to approach parenting with greater calm and positivity.
Once you have managed stress across your life, it can be a relatively simple process to take a deep breath and stay calm when faced with a difficult moment from your kids. Put simply, managing your stress can help you find more patience when you really need it.
Changing Your Approach to Conflict Management
Conflict management is a critical aspect of parenting. Conflicts with children, co-parents, or spouses are inevitable, but how we manage them significantly affects our children’s emotional well-being.
With younger children, this can sometimes feel like running into a brick wall. Kids and toddlers can get stuck in their emotional response, crying and generally having a meltdown until they get their way.
Older children can also not be much better – with adolescent tantrums a major cause of family life and strife for many.
However responding to conflict with anger, frustration, or aggression often has the opposite of the desired effect. It negatively impacts relationships and results in a negative environment for our children which makes it harder for them to express themselves properly.
Understanding conflict management can be half the battle, and sometimes finding that patience and level head can change the dynamic on multiple levels. But how can you be that calm parent with the soothing voice and understanding ear?
Active listening is an essential aspect of effective conflict management. The key is stopping and listening to the other person’s viewpoint without judgment, and clarifying that you understand their perspective. Even if you don’t agree with it.
Yes, your teenager might think its part of their human rights to go to a music festival with friends for the weekend. Sometimes just listening to their grievances and accepting that this is how they feel can help them calm down.
That calming might not happen immediately, but given time to process the situation, kids big and small can start to see the big picture and improve their own emotional intelligence.
Active listening helps promote understanding and allows both parties to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Open and Honest Communication
Being open and honest communication is a major factor in children of all ages feeling both respected and appreciated. Once children feel they can express themselves openly, they can feel empowered to say whats on their mind without resorting to tantrums. This is true for both younger and older kids too.
Expressing our feelings and needs in an assertive, non-confrontational way can promote understanding and help everyone find solutions to disagreements.
Children benefit from seeing constructive and respectful communication, which creates a more positive home environment.
Finding compromise is an important skill for conflict resolution. Work towards finding solutions that benefit everyone involved, not just one person.
Collaborating on solutions creates a sense of shared responsibility, which helps to build stronger family relationships.
The Role of Self-Care in Parental Calmness
Self-care is essential for maintaining parental calmness. When we neglect our well-being, stress and anxiety levels rise, making it challenging to be calm and patient with our children. It’s crucial to prioritize self-care and make it a part of our daily routine. Some self-care techniques include:
Physical activity can provide much-needed stress relief. Exercise helps to release endorphins, which can improve our mood and promote a sense of well-being. It’s essential to find an exercise that we enjoy, so we’re more likely to stick with it long term.
Relaxation techniques can help us find calmness amid our daily challenges. Techniques include meditation, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, and progressive muscle relaxation. Try different techniques to find what works for you, so you can quickly make it a habit.
Pursuing Hobbies and Interests
Engaging in hobbies and interests outside of parenting can provide a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment. Pursuing a hobby can help us relax and destress, providing us with positive energy that can benefit our relationship with our children.
Improve Sleep Health
Tiredness is a major factor in stress in our lives. And with more people choosing to stay up late and watch Netflix, or browsing their phone, our sleep health is declining. Make a point of getting more and better quality sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours each night to help you become a naturally calm parent.
Supplements for Relaxation
Using vitamins and supplements can aid relaxation and lower stress. Some popular supplements for stress relief include Ashwaghanda, Magnesium, Cannabidiol (CBD) and medicinal mushrooms such as reishi or cordyceps.
Connecting with family, friends, or support groups can provide much-needed emotional support during challenging parenting moments. Having someone trustworthy with whom we can share our feelings and experiences helps us regain our calm and perspective.
Using CBD to Promote Calm Parenting
CBD has been growing in popularity for its potential treatment for stress and anxiety. You have probably noticed that CBD products are available in many high street shops across the UK (and the world). In fact CBD could be a great addition to your toolkit as you strive to be a calm parent.
Some studies of CBD have shown that it might be a solution for emotional burnout, anxiety and that CBD may reduce the stress response in people. (source)
Putting it simply: Using CBD regularly could help adults to manage their stress responses such as anger and negative emotions.
There are several ways to use CBD, including CBD patches, which can provide a consistent dosage throughout the day, through to edibles and consumables.
Implementing Strategies for Long-Term Calmness
Becoming a calmer parent is a journey that requires consistency and persistence. The following strategies can be effective long-term solutions for cultivating parental calmness:
Building a Supportive Environment
Creating a supportive and stable environment for ourselves and our children helps us to remain calm and level headed. Setting clear boundaries for ourselves and our children, establishing routines, and developing positive habits can promote long-term stability and calmness.
Fostering Gratitude and Positive Thinking
Practising gratitude and positive thinking can cultivate a sense of inner peace and reduce stress levels. Take time each day to recognize the positive aspects of parenthood, acknowledge tasks and challenges that have been overcome, and develop a positive outlook towards the future.
Seeking Professional Support
Sometimes, despite our efforts, stress and anxiety can become overwhelming. Seeking professional support, such as parenting classes, counselling services, and support groups can provide necessary guidance and support during difficult parenting times.
Parenting can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that we’re not alone. Incorporating mindfulness practice and changing our approach to conflict management can help us become calmer and more present parents.
There are lots of ways you can be your best self as a parent. Focus on improving your lifestyle to reduce stress, embrace supplements such as CBD, and understand that no child is intentionally naughty.
Let us embrace self-reflection and continuous growth, nurturing a positive and peaceful environment for our children to thrive. Becoming a calmer parent isn’t about perfection; it’s about progress and creating lasting connections with our children.
Want to find natural ways to find your calm?