Embrace Stress to Prevent Parental Burnout
Parenthood can be very rewarding but it is also physically, emotionally, mentally and perhaps even spiritually exhausting and draining. Stress can affect all parts of an individual's life, including physical health, emotions and thinking ability. Nevertheless, symptoms of stress will vary depending on the ways people manage their stress. Parental stress is a normal part of the parenting experience. It can represent pleasure or positive themes of parenthood and negative components. It usually arises when parenting demands exceed the expected and actual resources available to the parents that allow them to succeed in the parent role. Prolonged parental stress may develop into parental burnout, which has detrimental consequences for the family concerned.
In order to provide the best care to their children, parents must first put aside some "me" time for their own self-care so that they can maintain a physical and psychological well-being. Parental burnout can be prevented by practising consistent self-care, establishing a strong support network, making a list of the child's core strengths, recalling fun and funny times, and not taking the child's behaviour personally. Preventing parental burnout can help reduce parent's stress induced by the parenting role, and improve the capacity to solve problems flexibly, hence building resilience and better parent-child relationship. If parents could see "self-care" through the right lens, they will discover that self-care not only can help them fulfill their personal needs and prevent parental burnout, but also address the child's needs. Parents can practice the following self-care exercises to enhance stress management:
• Meditation: This is a form of self-relaxation that helps us listen and reconnect with our true feelings, access our subconscious minds, and empower us to face the stressors and challenges in life with a calmer mind.
• Progressive Relaxation Techniques: This involves progressive tightening and relaxing of different muscle groups in the body. In the process, awareness of both body and physical sensations is being enhanced. When muscles are relaxed, the mind will relax.
The above content is extracted from Curriculum Framework on Parent Education (Kindergarten) and relevant exemplar. For details of Curriculum Framework on Parent Education (Kindergarten), please visit EDB Smart Parent Net webpage (https://www.parent.edu.hk/en/article/framework_kg).