Amber Allen

Parents often find themselves stressed by everyday words and thoughts.  As they navigate their daily lives thoughts like “where did the time go”, “I feel exhausted”, and moments of “I’ll get to that later” or “I can do all of this at the same time” can overwhelm them. They find themselves in autopilot routines and jumping from one activity to another. With their lives filled with various responsibilities including kids, spouses, jobs, household chores, and various other aspects of life, they often feel stressed.

Anything that causes strain or tension is known as a stressor. Each individual may have a different stress reaction to a particular stressor depending on the way the stressor is perceived; the level of control that is felt; and the individual's ability to cope. Researchers have concluded that how parents respond to stressors is much more important than the stressor itself in determining the outcomes for themselves and their children. If one member of a family is stressed it causes a ripple effect to the rest of the family.

The goal is learning how to deal with stress effectively as a family. How a family meets the challenge of stress and their ability to adapt to changes will help them effectively manage stress. Learning to deal with stress and change creates opportunities for families to become stronger and more resilient.

Resilience is the process of managing stress and functioning well even when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma. Parents and other adults’ model what resilience looks like for the children in their lives. Modeling resilience can help children learn critical self-regulation and problem-solving skills. Some tips to help families build resilience: 

  • Make connections by joining local groups related to your interest such as a sports league.
  • Embrace change by trusting the process and looking at how outcomes will affect you positively.
  • Establish goals like setting a monthly budget.
  • Develop your problem-solving skills for example by learning about a new subject.
  • Have positive beliefs in your abilities.  
  • Look for opportunities of self-discovery.  

Families will experience difficult times.  However, learning new healthy ways to cope with stress can help make families stronger. No one should try to do it alone and should find support in family, friends, schools, and other local organizations.  Remember your family is resilient.