Stress and Parenting

I’m really enjoying getting advice, strategies, practical ideas and coping skills from experts through the online “Happy Child Summit”. A highlight so far was Dr Christine Carter, author of ‘Raising Happiness’ and ‘The Sweet Spot’, who really got across the idea of how we can influence our kids by changing ourselves. 

A key takeaway for me was Dr Carter’s own words about how she’s not great as a parent, if she’s not managing her own stress well. And the research supports this, routinely finding that the top three influences on how parents positively impact their kids, in terms of measures like happiness and school success, are:

1.     Love and affection from the parent

2.     How wall the parent manages their own stress

3.     What types of relationships the parent has; their healthy adult relationships with partner, friends etc, and the degree of conflict in those relationships. 

 Dr Carter’s focus was wonderfully positive; rather than beating yourself up for being stressed, look for the ‘bright spots’. Think of what you are doing well to manage stress, or things you’ve previously done well, like exercise, getting more sleep, and start building on those positives.

Many things came up that I talk to clients about, like mindfulness, gratitude and focus. I loved Dr Carter’s advice for one actionable thing to do to improve wellbeing at home: switch to a single task focus. Forget multi-tasking; focus on one thing, one single task at a time, and notice how it positively affects everything that you’re doing. And, my own add-on point to that advice, make sure sometimes that single focus is on you!