Building Resilience: Parenting Together Under Stress
Parenting Together Under Stress
Some of us are parenting solo, some as couples, and some in other caregiving arrangements with family or friends. What unifies us in this moment is our need for compassion both for ourselves and for one another.
It is natural that we are stretched thin right now and perhaps feeling a little brittle and vulnerable. Not to mention exhausted! It is not unusual for loved ones to be more impatient and irritable with each other. Tempers may be flaring more easily, criticism may be rolling off our tongues, and we may be feeling underappreciated or overlooked. Taking a moment to acknowledge that each of us is struggling in a unique way may create a little space for us to take things less personally. Perhaps we can counterbalance the effects of stress by finding small ways to show our partners that they are appreciated and heard. Saying a simple thank you or perhaps sharing with our partner one thing about them that we genuinely appreciate at the end of the day may help ease some of their burden. A small note of admiration placed in an unexpected place may be enough to leave a smile on their face. While these gestures of affection may not erase the very real struggles that we are facing, they may lift some of the heaviness of the burdens placed on our shoulders by strengthening our connection with one another.
When we do need some help or support from our partners, carving out time to clearly and respectfully make our request can lessen opportunities for misunderstanding. If we are on the other end of the request, listening intently to what our partner is really saying may prove to be insightful. Giving our partners a much needed 30-minute break from kids and household responsibilities may be enough to sustain them for the rest of the day. Perhaps finding fifteen minutes to cuddle on the couch and listen to music or share a foot rub can be enough to strengthen a sense of connection and togetherness.
Don’t forget that we need the same basic things that our children need – recognition, empathy, understanding, patience, love. Sometimes, especially under stress, it’s even harder to give those things to our partners and to ourselves. Remember that we’re all in this together and we’re all important to our children, no matter the specifics of our roles and responsibilities. Cultivate that sense of compassion for yourself and for others.
Note: Mental health is always important, but during times of crisis it is paramount. The following guidelines are designed to support you in finding ways to cope, understanding how to practice self-care, and nurturing your connection with your child. Building Resilience: Parenting During a Pandemic is a joint effort between Louisiana Children's Museum and Tulane Institute of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.
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