Recently, I was tagged to a post on social media where people shared their experiences of parental abuse and trauma while growing up. I shared some of the stories in The Intentional Parent Facebook group and some members also shared their experiences. I was completely heartbroken reading some of these stories and realizing the traumatic childhood that people have gone through.
You should not trivialize these traumatic experiences by saying things like “We still turned out okay”. There is nothing okay about going through such traumatic experiences and trivializing it, it will later result in us becoming exactly what we hate. Instead, you need to look at what happened in the past and work towards raising better people. This is the reason for selecting this topic.
Parenting trauma actually results from parents who lack knowledge because knowledge should be at the forefront of parenting. It is about how much tools and skills you have built on the journey. You cannot assume parenting because assuming parenting will result in failure. It is undeniable that parenting comes with a lot of stress and challenges, however, we can, and we need to rise up above these to the responsibility of parenting. What is parenting frustration? It is the moment when a parent feels he or she has failed. Where you feel chocked and cannot cope with the stress of parenting, desiring to get away from everything. To get past this, you need to build yourself up and the process starts with you admitting that you need this building. This building is a journey of re-parenting yourself. It is not about competing with others or being judgmental, instead it is about being a better parent by being intentional and taking action.
Parental stress and anxiety come with a lot of high demands and sometimes we may not have enough resources for it. This means that knowing what to do but not having enough resources to do it can result in stress. For instance, you may know you need to spend time with your child, but you may not be able to make that time out because of a busy schedule. All the joy ,the love and pride in parenting have the tendency of moving to anger, hate and guilt as a result of this stress. Guilt parenting happens when you substitute valuable things (like spending time with children) with things that are not valuable. Hate does not mean hate for your children but you hating that you have children; you see your children as a limitation to you and resent the idea of being a parent. This hate can result in you acting in anger towards your children either through physical or emotional abuse. It is important to note that parenting is an emotional journey and it is important that your emotional health is dealt with. Avoid repeating mistakes made by your parents by taking responsibility for where you are today.
To raise a child who can control himself, trust and respect others, manage his emotions, have compassion and empathy, you have to be all these yourself. It begins with coping with parenting stress and frustration.
How to cope with parenting stress and frustration
1. You must learn effective skills to help you sail smoothly Parenting with peace and calm is a skill, it is a skill that you build it cannot be inherited. Cane wielding parents and parents who regularly yell will be stressed all the time. If you have to beat or yell to achieve a result with your children, then something is wrong. Yelling will never get you to parenting with peace and calm you need skills like discipline, emotional and communication skills. There are no shortcuts in developing these skills, you need to work through the process. for instance, if you want to stop yelling you have to learn through the process.
2. Be careful how you pay attention to the negative: Stress zeroes in on bad things around you, anytime you are stressed watch the negative you pay attention to. Many times, parents remember only the negative their children do, and they do not take note of the good they do. You have to be careful about your beliefs and biases and what you say to your children they can easily become self-fulfilling prophesies. Note that: when you assume the worse you are liable to provoke negative behaviour from people around you.
3. Deal with any parental abuse or trauma from the past: If you have experienced any childhood trauma or abuse from your parents, you need to deal with it because they show up even when you do not want them to. Those experiences and memories are lying in your subconscious all they need is a little trigger and they come later and overwhelm you. Note that parenting characteristics are reflective and if you do not deal with them, they will make a mess of your parenting process as well and the cycle will continue. You must deal with it now and if possible, take one therapy.
4. Focus on the good: Whatever you focus on is what will grow . If you keep thinking on only negative, it will thrive. Instead, concentrate on the positives, think on them and build on them.
5. Create more time for things that are important to you: Most of our parents in the past reacted with violence and abuse due to stress. Not having time for yourself makes you blame everything negative on your children. It is important to create time for yourself and do things that are important to you.
6. Reappraise your process every time your child misbehaves: Flogging your children is a lazy Man’s way out of problems or misbehaviours. Children are going to end up misbehaving it is your responsibility to remain an adult. Whenever you child misbehaves, ask yourself what your routine is check if your routine is working and make necessary adjustment.
7. You need to seek help: Do not think that seeking help is a bad thing Nobody can help you beyond the effort that you put in, you must be part of your rescue mission for that mission to work. If help comes embrace it the more. No parent is perfect we are all going on this journey and learning every day.
8. Help your children cope with their own stress: The more stressed your child is the most stressed you will become. You need to teach your child to regulate their emotions else they will struggle and if they struggle you will also struggle. You need to first deal with your emotions to teach your child as well because you cannot give what you do not have.
Dealing with parenting stress starts with the choices you make from today. The choices you make today will affect your journey tomorrow; to be better you have to work at it starting now. Be honest with yourself about where you are now and start working towards a better person and parent. Whatever skill you lack, you need to intentionally work on it, else there will be no change.
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