9 Parent Tips to Teach Children to Manage Stress

Traditionally, many school-aged children love school and look forward to start of a new school year. But for other children, it’s also a time of great stress. In fact, stress—those overwhelming feelings of doubt about ourselves or our ability to handle things—is as common in children as adults.

The greatest challenge to parents today is teaching children to manage stress effectively. Children may react to excess stress with behavior that seems immature, inappropriate, or even disturbing. One child exhibits anxiety and tears the night before going back to school. Another child speaks of new teacher and asks her parents questions while trying to imagine the teacher's personality. Another child enjoys shopping for school clothes and looks forward to seeing new friends. 

Stress can be terrifying to children who lack the emotional maturity or experience to understand and deal with it. The challenge for parents, teachers, and other caretakers include how to recognize signs of stress in children of different ages, how to know when stress threatens to overwhelm a child, and what to do about it.

2636913
In Nurture Your Child’s Gift, I offer excellent suggestions to help parents cope with their children’s stress. A stressed-out condition can result from a specific cause or from life in general. Here are some examples:

  • At 17, Jen was a high school senior expecting to graduate with honors in the Spring. Just before Christmas, however, Jen’s father lost his job and the family had to move into the basement of a cousin’s house. Jen soon developed a severe allergy, then asthma. The illness cost her so much time from school that she required home-schooling to make up the difference.
  • Mark was only two when his parents divorced. Confused, Mark wandered the house, calling plaintively for his father, but weekends with Dad made him cry. Most weekends, Mark developed upset stomachs that were so bad he’d miss preschool on Mondays.

Age-Related Stressors

Toddlers need to feel safe and comfortable. Stress for preschool children can arise from a new face at home or at day care, the disappearance of a familiar face, visiting lots of new places at once, or abrupt changes in the family’s structure, relationships or daily routine.
During the grade-school years, children become concerned with pleasing people like teachers, parents, guardians and coaches. School life—even a change in assigned seating or having to take a test—brings higher levels of stress every year. And when it comes to peers, even the threat of diminished acceptance is terrifying. Sleep-overs, birthday parties, sporting events and music competitions can trigger stressful reactions.
Through middle school and beyond, the pressures kids feel from parents, teachers, peers, society at large, and from within increases. Children have to learn adapt to these pressures. Because they have grown in their intelligence, curiosity and knowledge of community, demands for their attention, time, energy and effort can often feel like a tug of war. As in the cases of Mark and Jen, it is not unusual for life-altering events to express themselves in illness. At the University of Missouri, for instance, researcher Mark Flinn found that a child’s risk of upper-respiratory infection increases by 200 percent for the seven days following a high-stress event. And parents like Miranda’s might confuse what they believe are normal behavior with an expression of anxiety. Children often display their tensions in small acts that have aggressive undertones.

How You Can Help

  1. There are many ways parents can help their children deal with stress and stressful situations.
  2. Don’t try to fix everything for the child, and avoid offering advice. Sometimes just listening so that your child feels truly heard may be enough to relieve the stress.
  3. As you listen, ask questions that encourage your child to think a situation through. “What’s the next step?” or “How would you handle that?” are good questions. Ask a lot of “what-if” questions, too.
  4. Help children listen to themselves. Nurture Your Child’s Gift suggests quiet-time techniques for children to listen to nature sounds like rain or waves upon the beach, to their own heartbeat, or to recordings of whales, dolphins or birds.
  5. Encourage children to spend time listening to their thoughts. When they feel free to speak their own thoughts aloud about a situation, things suddenly become clear.
  6. Nurture Your Child’s Gift details a diaphragmatic breathing exercise for kids and parents. Shallow breathing is associated with the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Deeper, effective breathing produces feelings of relaxation and calm.
  7. Use soothing and rhythmic music, even simple drumming, to help your child relieve muscle tension. It works!
  8. Don’t overlook exercise for releasing stress and tension. It works for your child just as it does for you. Have children walk the dog, get on the treadmill or stretch through easy yoga movements for children.  Any movement they enjoy will help ease stress away.
  9. Parents can do much to alleviate stress in their children’s lives. Effectively dealing with your own stress is the first step. Showing your kids how to release their stress comes next.

 

Copyright © Caron B. Goode.

3. Who Is A Certified Parent Coach?

 A Parent Coach Is

Like a mentor who wears different hats – advocate, teacher, listener, questioner. Yet, the certified parent coach has a primary role  as supporter and connector for parents who want assistance, help, expertise, empowerment, or confidence. The mottos of the Academy for Coaching Parents International also serve as the first two goals of parenting coaching

  1. to empower and sustain loving relationships

     2. to make a difference.

The first thing a coach does is establish a mutual respectful relationship with the client, who may be a parent, grandparent, caregiver or anyone who has hired a coach to help them better parent or serve as a more effective guardian or caregiver to children.

Parent coaches assist, help, inform, inspire, and educate.

They provide clarity, reflection, and reality checks for parental illusion, and support a parent's intuition.

They are responsive and responsible as they provide frameworks and structures for conversations around sensitive issues.

A parent coach may serve as a coach for a parent’s personal confidence or is involved with family relationships and parent/child issues.  A parent coach is a mentor, not a doctor, therapist, or counselor.  A certified parenting coach is a friendly or warm-hearted person a parent can call with everyday problems.  A coach provides encouragement and expertise, coaching and challenges.

Thriving As A Person And A Coach

Most of those who go into fields like coaching and psychology understand that to be a successful person, you have to have success in your personal life as well as business.  Success is not always about money, but also about finding a balance between family and business.

When you work out of your house, if you don’t set perimeters around your business life, your work can take over your home and family life. Whether you are single and childless or married with children, carve out a personal life for yourself beyond coaching in order to have a life of balance and joy. If you overload yourself, you will not get satisfaction from either one.

Do you want your life to look like this?

You’re going to your son’s soccer game at four, but you need to be home by five-thirty to take a client call, so you have to arrange for your son’s ride home. You can’t concentrate on the soccer game anyway because you need to prepare for your client’s call. You have a splitting headache because you feel torn between the game and your client. Later, your family goes out to supper because there’s not enough time to cook. After dinner, you go grocery shopping.  BY nine p.m., you are exhausted.

You actually hate driving up to your own house because it is like driving up to a pile of unfinished work – home is never a place to relax anymore. You are not making much money because you are going out to restaurants and hiring babysitters all the time. You took up coaching because it was work you could do at home when your kids were little, but instead you are constantly yelling at them to leave you alone, be quiet while you’re on the phone, and stay away from your room. Your spouse is upset and puzzled by your constant irritability.

That doesn’t sound like much fun does it? It can be someone’s reality and it is the number one reason why home businesses can fail. So don’t let it become your reality. Let’s devise a better vision!

You love working at home from the convenience of your home office, which is really a comfortable den, but one corner is yours and holds your computer, your dedicated business line, and your desk. You keep pictures, candles, music CDs and plants around your corner to feed your comfort.

You schedule your client calls at one time during the day for a four-hour block of time when the kids are in school, with dad, in day care, or otherwise occupied. You hold this time sacred so that you can be present with your clients. They pay you $100 per hour for your time, and you believe in service: listening, suggesting, confronting, sensing. You are finally being paid for doing what you love: networking, talking, sharing heart, educating and helping people lead better lives.

You love people, and people love you. This shows up in the mutual respect you and your clients have for each other and in client referrals. You have more clients than you schedule, and put their names on a waiting list. The waiting list represents clients who would wait for the time to see you, but you are content right now. You have the income you desire and the time you want to be with yourself and your family.

You will grow your business when you are ready!

Put A Fence Around Your Personal Life

Before you take your first client, you have to design the perimeters of your business. There are practical steps that will put boundaries between your personal life your business.

  • First, have a separate phone line for your busine
  • Second, make a separate room in your house for your busine Your room should be relatively soundproof and away from the family living area.
  • If possible, enclose your space and have a door you can shut. That closed door will be a signal to your family not to interrupt you.

Some people have solved the “home business” problem by building a workspace that is on their property but separate from their residence. Charles Schultz, creator of the Charley Brown cartoons, used to walk about twenty feet from his home to his studio every day.  There are homes with separate guesthouses or “Mother-in-law” quarters that convert into great home offices, provide the privacy, and give the atmosphere needed for work.

Some people simply cannot work at home because of all the interruptions.  In this case, it may be best to rent office space. Many coaches rent office space for only a few hours a week to accommodate clients who prefer meeting in person. Or, you may be a coach who provides in-home visits, or you may work from phone calls only.

 

Are you ready to take your passion for having an impact on this world to the next level?

By Being a Parent Coach, you can follow your passion and be financially successful at the same time. Take a minute and look at our coaching certifications

Parent-Family Coaching Programs

Dr. Caron Goode

Dr. Caron Goode

Founder--Academy for Coaching Parents International

Behavioral Regulation-3-Choose Successful Play Activities

Play Activities Contribute to Bonding & Regulation 

  • Coach, clinician, and parents choose an activity the parent believes will be most successful. 

That is, the parent believes they have the ability, skills and presence to initiate the activity, invite and prepare the child and family for positive interaction, and equally include each family member. The parenting coach and parent join in accessing and reinforcing abilities. For instance: Help the parent gauge stress levels and practice self-calming breathing before the activity.

Parent and Coach Role Play Words

  • Gathering the family, (“As soon as you complete your homework and Dad walks the dog, we will begin game night! You can make the popcorn!”)
  • Eliciting the child’s cooperation, (“Where do you want to sit so you will feel safe and comfortable? Do you want to sit near Mommy?”)
  • Words or phrases that convey inclusion, affection, or safety. (“We are glad you can join with us and play rather than stay alone in your room.”)

The parent must also be able to arrange the environment to facilitate their child’s success according to their child’s particular needs. For instance: Perhaps cell phones need to be turned off so as not to draw any family member away from the play activity. Kindles, tablets, gaming systems or other technology need to be put away to limit distraction. Positive ground rules or guidelines are established prior to beginning. This is what you, as a coach, will discuss with the parents before they introduce new activities to the family. You might ask them; “Looking ahead - What can you do to orchestrate success and help prevent a catastrophe?”

  • Can the parent pull from their resources and strategies to adjust the environment to help insure greater success?
  • What can the parent do to create safety?
  • Can the coach and parent pace an enjoyable game and then escalate the skills for a child over activities?

For example, if the parent knows their child has difficulty with close physical proximity to other family members, or, that their anxiety levels rise with increased expectations (even when they are positive in nature) resulting in undesirable behavior.

Attend to the Environment

  • Do lights need lowering?
  • Will soft music or deep breathing help with the regulation of excitement the child feels?
  • Does the child need to participate while sitting on a balance ball, or handling a fidget toy?
  • Does the child or family need a slower paced activity to begin, or one that will appropriately help release the child’s pent up energy?
  • Encourage parents to think like a kid!
  • Ask whether the parent is able to share a game or activity they remember loving when they were their child’s age. Again, this will be a challenge for some parents.
  • The coach encourages a parent to examine the roadblocks they experience preventing them from moving into a playful relationship with their child, rather than a blaming, grudging, and resentful relationship.

I mentioned earlier that some parent’s just don’t feel like participating. Fun! Bah, humbug! Consider this a normal reaction. It is the culmination of so much internal pain, hurt feelings and disappointment. It is part and parcel of the confusion and rejection the parent feels from the child, and perhaps, disappointment in themselves.

  • What is holding you back?
  • Where do your fears linger?
  • What could be the result when you decide to do this?
  • What will happen if you don’t do anything?

Regulate the parent first. Coaches help parents apply and practice self-calming, stress management and grounding or centering strategies by asking: What can you do right now, to organize and regulate your inner body and mind so you can make a clear decision you feel good about, and help your family to enjoy this time together?

Consistency and accountability affords greater success for parents.

See also: Behavioral Regulation 1 and Behavioral Regulation 2

Enroll Now in Coaching Families With Special Needs in Behavioral Regulation

Dealing with Defiant Children

Defiant, stubborn children test your patience and parenting skills to the limit on a regular basis. Is this just part of raising children? All children go through at least two stages of being stubborn. Stage one is the "terrible twos," when they learn to say "no." The teen years is also when they say "no" as they practice making mature choices.

If a doctor has diagnosed your child as having ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), you will encounter similar issues. Differences between the two diagnoses relate to the frequency and the severity due to the cause of the defiant behavior. To have the understanding of the child's problems and being able to develop suitable plans and consequences are the first steps for parents.

Whether your child experiences the typical defiant stages, dealing with ODD, or has another major issue, address the problem early. In fact, at the first sign of rebellious behavior, model and teach your child acceptable ways to react and respond. Next is an example of a conversation between a stepmother, whose 12-year-old stepson came to live with his dad, new stepmom and and younger sister.

Stepmother: Can I help you get settled into your room?

Stepson: You're not my mother, and you never will be.

Stepmother: You are right. I am not your mother, I am your dad's wife, your stepmother. I asked if I could help you get settled.

Stepson: You're a liar. You don't want to help. By the way, I do my own laundry and I cook my own food.

Stepmother: All right, let's back this conversation to the beginning. If you are going to live here, we have some rules about respect. We show respect in our action and words. You don't get to call me a liar, and I don't get to call you a liar. Can you live with that rule?

This stepmom felt that this boy was begging for some attention, for some rules. He wanted to know if he was welcome in their home. Several weeks passed before the stepson settled into accepting that he was in a new home with people who would love him, but also not let him fall into his defensive anger.

Strategies To Help You Handle Defiance

The first approach is asking why a child behaves the way he or she does? Understand that you, as the parent, can best understand explosive behavior as a form of developmental delay. Dr. Ross Green, the author of The Explosive Child, suggests that the following questions will help parents see more clearly the crux of the problem.portrait-317041_640

  1. This child acts this way because...
  2. How come what works for other kids isn't working for this child?
  3. What can I do instead?
  4. Build a sound basis. Parents start teaching expected life skills at the earliest ages:

Steps to Conflict Resolution:

  1. Clarify perceptions through answers to the more common questions.
  2. Focus on the present: What is happening right now?
  3. What is the major issue?
  4. Distinguish between needs and wants.Which needs or wants can be prioritized?
  5. List your options.
  6. Hold yourself accountable.

Problem-solving Skills:brainstorming

  1. The problem is...use your best descriptions.
  2. Brainstorm. Write down your best ideas that might help solve the problem.
  3. Consider the pros and cons of each possible solution.
  4. Which of the possible solutions seems likely to work?
  5. Plan out the solution step-by-step: What? When? How?

Reminders

Rmedal-1622523_640efuse to bargain: Kids use bargaining to make several points: get out of chores, make a break or cut a deal. All children learn to accept the consequences of their choices and behaviors.

Reinforce the positive: Reward their positive behaviors. Point out when your child completes a job and has done
it well. Support and praise a thoughtful decision. The power of positively deserved praise cannot be under-rated.