Everyone knows being a parent is hard work. Throw in school, friends, and trying to be a teenager at the same time and it can get pretty stressful. The important thing is to take care of yourself if you start to get stressed out and don't take your feelings out on your child.
Tips for Stress Relief
- Give yourself a time out. If your child is an infant or toddler, put him in a safe place first, the go to another room for a few minutes.
- Count to ten. It really does help to stop and just count to ten.
- Lie on the couch, put your feet up and place a cool cloth on your eyes or forehead. Take a couple of deep breaths and think of a peaceful scene. Lie there for at least five minutes.
- Call someone who understands what you’re going through. Tell what’s bothering you and get the support you need.
- If your children take naps, use that quiet time to pamper yourself. Take a bubble bath, read a book or listen to soothing music with your eyes closed.
- Change your daily routine. Take a walk, visit a friend, or watch a special program on television.
- Do something physical. Physical activity is good for you and your children. It lets off steam, and often it’s free.
When is it time to ask for help?
These tension relievers may not be enough. Even when you work hard to control yourself, you might feel like you can’t stand it any more. That doesn't mean you're a bad parent, it just means you might need a little extra help.
If you can answer, "Yes" to any of these questions, you might want to ask for some outside help.
- Do you think you take your stress out on your kids?
- Do you feel out of control more than you like?
- Do you feel overwhelmed and see no way out of problem situations?
- Do you hit or yell at your children when you're angry with them?
- Do you feel like your children are bad on purpose?
- Are you upset because your children don’t listen to you?
- Do you feel like you "pick on" a just one of your children?
- Do you feel that your children hardly ever do what you want them to?
- Do you feel like you can’t talk to your kids?
It’s not always easy to reach out for help, but when you do you’ll find many caring people who want to hear from you, people who will listen and provide assistance.
- Talk to someone. Tell a friend, health-care provider, counselor or a leader in your faith community how you feel, or join a support group for parents.
- Get babysitting help when you need a break. Some parents trade babysitting with another family, so each parent gets a break.
- Reach out to other parents. You may find parents with children the same ages as yours at a local playground, your church or your child’s daycare or school.
- Call a help line. Childhelp® runs a national 24-hour hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) for parents who need help or parenting advice.
- Talk to your child’s school. Teachers and school counselors often can point you to other places that can help.
- Take a class for parents. You can always learn new skills to care for your children. Classes for parents on discipline, school success or child development can help you build on what you already know about raising a happy, healthy child.
- Take advantage of government programs. There are lots of programs that help teen parents get healthy food, low-cost daycare, health care, and more.
Get help buying healthy foods
Healthy food can get expensive, but it's important for you and your baby. That's why every state has a special program to help out. You might have heard of WIC before, it stands for Women, Infants, and Children and it helps new moms buy healthy food, like eggs, milk, and bread. Ready to sign up? Find out how you can get WIC benefits.