Reading this article on Stuff about stressed-out parents creating depressed kids, I wondered how accurate the findings of the research were. I don't doubt that parents' stress can have an effect on kids, or at least the way that stress manifests itself will have an impact. Long term I imagine it would have to be a pattern of behaviour to lead to depression or anxiety issues for a child and on into their own adulthood. Either way, it makes it important that we, as parents, find ways to manage our stress.
Modern living can be stressful, even if some of that stress comes from artificial sources, like the proverbial "keeping up with the Joneses". In the current financial climate though, there's a lot more real pressure on parents just to get by financially, and money issues can be one of the biggest stressers.
Having kids around can be both a great reliever of pressure, and an extra source of stress. On the one hand, there's not much better for the soul than taking joy in playing with your kids, or cuddling them, or just being around them. My daughter regularly cracks me up or does something cute that makes me smile, and I often find that watching her deriving joy from learning or doing simple things makes me happy and calm. Some of the best , most stress-busting times I've had have been on unexpectedly good days out. There was one trip we made to the beach at Queen Elizabeth Park on the Kapiti Coast that was one of those real slice-of-heaven moments - even better when it was out in the fresh air and cost us nothing.
On the other hand, kids can really add to stress. One thing that I find stressful is frustration, and if there's one thing that kids are good at, it's causing frustration. They don't mean to do it, it's just a by-product of the fact that they don't have any real grasp of time, or the fact that you don't have a lot of it in the mornings...
It's common for me to spend an awful lot of time asking (or telling) my daughter to do something over and over, and having her ignore me either because she's totally engrossed in something else, or sometimes wilfully, just to be cheeky! We've developed strategies to get and hold her attention through whatever task we're trying to accomplish, but even those often take reiterating three or four times before the desired result can be obtained.
Kids also add to financial stress. They cost money, obviously, but they are also someone that you are responsible for. It's not like when you were on your own and only had yourself to think about. You have a little person that is wholly dependent on you and your ability to fund their quality of life. That makes it a lot harder to say "aw, we'll just eat 2 Minute Noodles until payday" - though that's the reality for a lot of families too these days.
Are you stressed out? Do you find it affecting your kids in any way?
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