How to deal with parenting stress as restrictions ramped up again - Clare Simpson

Being a parent is the best thing that ever happened to me. As a single parent and now a grandmother, I know it has its challenges and isn’t always easy. Add a global pandemic to the mix and things become even more difficult. However, by taking time for ourselves, we can create a positive environment for our family, which is vital during these uncertain times.

Clare Simpson, Project Manager for Parenting Across Scotland
Clare Simpson, Project Manager for Parenting Across Scotland

Keeping children entertained has become even more difficult as children adjust to a new routine and face more changes, which can lead to more challenging behaviour. As parents, we know the way we’re feeling can affect how we react and at times like this when our stress levels are higher, we’re more likely to be pushed to our limits.

Throughout the day we face numerous challenges, whether it’s dealing with a crying toddler who isn’t getting their way or arguing with their siblings. It can sometimes feel like you’re a full-fledged ringleader at a circus. When I felt I’d had enough, it was more often because there was something else in my life causing added stress. It’s important to consider our own frame of mind and make sure we’re looking after ourselves in order to keep the peace.

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At Parenting Across Scotland, we provide information for parents and carers online at parentingacrossscotland.org which signposts them to specialist help for almost any parenting issue as well as providing helplines parents can turn to if they need to talk. The charities involved work together to focus on parenting issues and to ensure all families across Scotland are valued and supported to give children the best possible start in life. We know first-hand balancing everything is difficult enough for families at the best of times – and these are far from the best of times.

As restrictions start to increase again, you may be worried about how you will deal with the stress. With the new changes, children will again be adapting to different routines and set of rules. I know it’s easier said than done, but remember sometimes our children aren’t trying to be testing, they are just simply being kids and it’s often the way we’re feeling at the time that can make a situation feel much worse.

Caring for yourself is vital, but often difficult to find time for. The Scottish Government’s Parent Club website has tons of self-care ideas and wellness tips including structuring your day, having the kids help around the house, turning off the news or chatting to a friend. It also provides tried and tested tips to help prevent some of those challenging situations, including setting clear house rules and consequences, recognising good behaviour, and setting clear rewards.

Parent Club recognises that families can face a variety of pressures that reach beyond coping with challenging situations with children, so they have launched a new directory which signposts parents to wider and more specific support. This can be found at: parentclub.scot/family-support-directory.

If talking to someone might help, you can call Children 1st Parentline at 08000 28 22 33, or chat to someone online. I encourage you to explore Parent Club which is full of helpful tips for dealing with tantrums or maintain a calm household when self-isolating. The digital hub includes advice and support from the online community created by parents for parents. Being a parent isn’t easy, but you aren’t alone.

Clare Simpson, Project Manager for Parenting Across Scotland

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