Hi! I'm Coach Franny, and I empower families with challenging children to come together as problem solving teams through a Mindful-Ish® approach to parenting.
Despite its many joys, parenting or caring for children also comes with a fair share of challenges. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when dealing with a challenging child. The constant juggling act of meeting the child’s needs AND your own can be draining. Difficult behaviors, such as tantrums and defiance, only intensify stress levels.
Let’s Make Shift Happen™! Managing stress as a parent or a caregiver requires patience, but it’s possible to develop healthy coping skills and make small changes that lead to big victories 💪
In this article, we’re going to unpack caregiver and parent stress and coping strategies to help you feel more Mindful-Ish® and relaxed.
As a parent or a caregiver of a challenging child, there are many reasons to feel stressed. Here are some of the most common ones:
Recognizing and figuring out how to handle stress is crucial for parents and caregivers of challenging children. Here are the five Mindful-Ish® ways to help caregivers and parents cope.
It can be hard to find the time to take care of your mental and physical health when caring for a challenging child, but it’s one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Prioritizing self-care can enhance your resilience, patience, and overall ability to provide the child with the necessary support. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s essential to see taking care of your well-being as an investment.
Caring for a challenging child can often be filled with uncertainty. You may not always know how the child will respond to certain situations or even ordinary routines. What works today might not work tomorrow, which adds a taxing layer of unpredictability.
A well-structured routine offers a sense of stability and predictability for both the parent/caregiver and the child.
It provides a roadmap for the day and minimizes surprises and chaos. It also helps with time management. That said, when caring for a challenging child, it’s important to leave some room for flexibility. If the schedules and routines you set are too rigid, it can backfire and increase stress.
When parenting or caring for a challenging child, not every day will be perfect. Setting realistic and flexible expectations can help you maintain your well-being, effectively deal with setbacks, and cultivate resilience.
There’s a powerful stress-relieving technique called Plan C. A core principle of Dr. Ross Greene’s Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model (CPS), this technique helps parents and caregivers recognize that removing expectations is not about surrendering or conceding. It’s about fostering stability and promoting healthy relationships between you and the child.
➡️ Setting unrealistic expectations is detrimental for everyone involved.
Continuously correcting the child’s behavior causes parents and caregivers to constantly live in a state of high alert. For children, feeling like they never live up to expectations can lower their self-esteem and make them “tune out” their parents or caregivers.
When caring for a challenging child, the importance of protecting your boundaries cannot be overrated. It’s easy to feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility. Saying no becomes a powerful tool of self-preservation that allows parents and caregivers to avoid burnout and maintain their well-being.
Remember that you don’t have to be available to everyone. You can say no to additional commitments or unrealistic expectations. Focus on what matters and make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin.
Raising or caring for a challenging child can often feel lonely and isolating. Many people don’t understand the unique difficulties that parents and caregivers of challenging children encounter, which can lead to stigma and judgment. Unsurprisingly, social pressure negatively impacts stress levels.
Sharing experiences and forming connections with other parents and caregivers who face similar challenges can provide comfort and alleviate stress. These relationships can become a source of strength and inspiration, making it easier to stay Mindful-Ish® even when things get tough.
Wondering where to start with lowering your stress levels? Take the Parenting Playbook Quiz to reveal how you can use your unique parenting/caregiving style to coach your family toward success.