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Stress And Parenting

How do you know you are stressed?

Do you:

  • Get headaches?
  • Have neck or shoulder tension?
  • Have an upset stomach?
  • Have sleeping problems?
  • Feel sadness?
  • Feel irritability?

Each person is unique in how they experience stress. Noticing when you are stressed (external link) is one of the steps you take to start coping with stress.

Wondering what your stress level is? Complete the Stress Index (external link) from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Where can I get help?

Seeking help when you are not coping well with stress is very important. There are many places to turn to for support.

Coping with the demands of raising a family can be stressful. It is a challenging job with an endless to do list. There can be the added stressors of increased financial pressure, balancing work, coping with illness, relationships challenges or caring for extended family members. Given all these demands it is not surprising that parents can feel stressed.

Stress affects how you parent.
You might:

  • Spend less time with your child.
  • Be less likely to be calm and consistent.
  • Provide less supervision.
  • Have decreased energy and concentration.
  • Be irritable and impatient.
  • Be more likely to criticize your child.
  • Have explosive outbursts.
  • Lose control and harm your child.

What can you do to take control of stress?

Top 3 ways to manage stress:

  1. Take care of your yourself.
  2. Take a break away from the kids.
    • How:
      • Try to arrange on a regular basis so stress doesn't build up.
      • Have someone you trust look after your child.
      • Maybe arrange an exchange with another parent if only for an hour.
      • Find quality childcare.
  3. Connect with other parents.
    • Why:
      • Helps you feel you're not alone.
      • Can be a source of support.
      • Some parenting programs offer childcare.