Lauren Fulkerson is a US-trained pediatrician and mother of four. As an expat living in Hong Kong, Lauren met Katherine at a school event and immediately knew that the Guidance Approach to Parenting was how she wanted to parent her children. She joined Katherine as a parenting coach at the Conscious Parenting Revolution in 2020. Lauren has a passion for child and family well-being, and she’s an avid runner and CrossFitter.
Take a moment to imagine yourself in these two scenarios:
Scenario 1: You’re having a wonderful day. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, you’ve had a full night’s sleep, and you’re killing it at work. You notice that the kids left their shoes lying around the house again. No big deal. You hum a song while putting the shoes away.
Scenario 2: It’s 10 a.m. and you’re ready to call it a day. The weather is cold and gloomy, you’ve had zero sleep, and your coworkers are hounding you for a report you haven’t even started yet. You notice that the kids left their shoes lying around the house again. You lose it. You drag the nearest kid to the scene of the crime and yell up a storm.
The big difference between those two scenarios? S-T-R-E-S-S.
These scenarios or similar ones are likely very familiar to you. Your different reactions are not due to your child’s identical behaviour but rather to your own stress and limited bandwidth in handling that situation.
Stress is a natural part of life: a reaction to outside triggers that’s difficult to control—let alone eliminate entirely. And these are especially stressful times we’re living in. A whopping 80% of Americans reported emotions related to prolonged stress in a January 2021 survey.
When we’re stressed, our bodies respond with increased reactivity, anxiety, impaired brain function and decreased ability to manage our tempers—all factors that impact the interactions we have with our children. When we’re stressed, we lose our capacity to manage our kids and navigate the complexities of parenthood.
Besides potentially damaging our relationships with our children, further problems arise when our children begin to mirror these feelings and behaviors. It’s not hard to see the link between a child acting out on the soccer field and a parent yelling on the sidelines. When we react to stress with negativity like anger, frustration, yelling, and even violence, we risk transferring that stress to our kids.
The good news is that there are proven strategies for managing the effects of stress so your kids won’t bear the brunt of it:
Repairing the effects of stress is an important first step, but the real work comes in reducing stress before it becomes a problem:
We can only be the best for our family when we’re taking care of ourselves—and modeling self-compassion sets a great example for our children.
Ready to learn more about the Guidance Approach to Parenting? Apply to join the 90 Day Parenting Reset.
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A 3xTEDx speaker, media contributor, parenting coach, and a mom of two - helping families thrive by using the Guidance Approach to Parenting.