And as a working mom, I not only carry around my own, but I share in the worries of my husband, my children, siblings, and even parents. And what’s worse? It works both ways. Meaning my children probably feel some of my stress too.
My children are so fortunate to live a “comfortable” life. They do not have to worry about food, shelter and basic needs. Let’s be honest, they are way more than “comfortable.” Yet it’s amazing to me how much stress they have. Homework. Friendships. Competitive extra-curricular activities. Doctor appointments. Even the restrictions I place on their technology causes them stress (I keep using the word…I can’t help it!) ! Then if the kids overhear a conversation about finances, or see me frazzled about driving carpool in different directions because of their schedules, it adds even more to their plate.
As parents, we need to remember that although our child’s stress of not getting invited to a classmates party is not in the same wheelhouse as us making sure we have a job so we can pay the mortgage, their stress is real. Let me repeat that.
OUR CHILDREN’S STRESS IS REAL.
I like to call it the Theory of Relativity. My theory isn’t about gravity, and I am definitely not claiming to be as smart as Albert Einstein. But I believe everything in life is relative. So when a high school teen is devastated over the ending of a 3-week relationship or a poor grade on a test, they may be so stressed out and emotional that you would think they were mourning the loss of a loved one. It may seem outrageous – but for their age, time and place it may be a relatively appropriate reaction.
So what are some easy tools to help ALL of us in times of stress?
Give each other space. And learn to breathe. Literally. Taking deep cleansing breaths can be very helpful. And figure out what helps each of us relax – everyone is different. Maybe one of us need to exercise, listen to music, color, paint our nails, or simply just cry in our room.
Here’s some of the favorite simple stress-relievers in your Turning Teen Doc’s homes:
Inspirational Coloring Book Love this one with inspiring messages but there are so many different kinds out there! Don’t forget to get some great colored pencils or new markers to go with them! These are our favorites! Coloring is also a great way time to talk to kids while their hands are busy and everyone is more relaxed.
Stress Balls (basic but essential!) Or punching a pillow works, too!
Calm app (a great app for your devices to help you calm down, breathe, and meditate!)