Home should be a sanctuary, a place where once the door is closed, we have peace with ourselves and each other. Though it’s easy to assume stress is all about work, homes can also be a catalyst for stress.
Children also have their own stresses to deal with, but they may not always be able to express themselves, or talk about what they feel. They may also not always feel they can talk to their parents or that their parents will understand what they are going through, particularly during their teenage years, and as parents, we may not always feel our children understand the pressures we’re under.
It is hard being a child because they have worries and responsibilities of their own, but being a parent is harder still, with all the expectations and responsibilities that come with the role. Behavioural standards placed on children by society can be difficult for some parents. Not everyone is equipped mentally to take on the parenting role.
Being expected to parent well, means the pressure is always there. Understanding each other’s needs is often difficult. Others may sense when someone is stressed, but may not always be totally aware or understand why. Parents who are stressed may switch off to what’s going on around them.
They may not always make an effort when they’re stressed. They may also perceive and interpret discussions wrongly because their mind’s elsewhere and they’re not listening. Parents may also take their family for granted and therefore will make less of an effort. All of these things bring about added stress, but it’s important parents are able to stand back and deal with their stress, think about what they say and how they say it, so as not to offend.
As parents, it’s important we listen, it’s important we’re compassionate, tolerant, and caring. As a family, we must all work together to limit the amount of stress that’s brought into the home. We must talk about things.
When it comes to my own children I have always taken an interest in my children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health: I was always aware of their struggles, their hopes, their fears and when things bothered them. Although, I was aware I needed to find the right balance, I felt it important my children knew they could also approach me.
Over the years, I have encouraged them to talk about things. Not having had any emotional support as a child, I understood even more how important it was to get that part of my parenting right.