I often heard that becoming a parent feels like having a part of your heart removed from your chest and walking around in human form. Parenting can bring about so much anxiety and worry coupled with joy and much reward. But sometimes, things can become difficult. Life can be hard and it can be tough to cope. How do you parent through adversity while still taking care of you?
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Dr. Alexea, triple Board-Certified physician, mother, speaker, author, coach and breast cancer survivor and thriver. I’ve faced a great deal of adversity in life but learning how to effectively and compassionately parent though those tough times is life changing.
Parenting through tough times is difficult but not impossible. And when we make it to the other side of the trial we often find ourselves stronger and more resilient. Whether it is helping your child through grief, school difficulties, or even a difficult diagnosis, here are my Top 5 Tips for parenting through adversity.
Take time for yourself – Dealing with the difficulties of life can become overwhelming. Neglecting yourself only makes this worse. Set aside some time to and appreciate the simple things in life. Focus on getting much needed rest and relaxation so you can re-enter the situation more focused and with clarity.
Identify your support system – Sometimes you need help in order to make it through the tough times. Identify your help and lean on them during difficult times.
Don’t compare yourself – There is no need to compare your life and circumstances to what may appear to be the polished, happy lives of other moms. Perception is usually not reality. Stop reading articles or scrolling through social media making comparison. Ditch the mom guilt and feel confident in your parenting.
Be intentional about the interactions with your child –Sometimes our emotions and anxiety can affect our children causing them to have anxiety and fear as well. You don’t have to fake it but make a decision to choose joy and encourage your children to do the same. Foster positive interactions with your child instead of always focusing on the negative.
Educate your children – Now this can be tricky. You must educate your children so they understand what is going on and why things may be changing, however the key is not giving them too much information. Avoid giving them details that they don’t know how to process and resist the urge to withhold the facts because too little information can leave them confused. Talk to them at the level they can understand (they don’t need to know every detail).
I hope these tips help you parent in the tough times because children truly do learn what they live. For me, the best compliment I have ever received as a parent is to be repeatedly told by other parents that I am raising a truly kind and compassionate child. Make every effort to be intentional and take good care of yourself so that you can care for your child/children. They are watching you!
Dr. Alexea, Gaffney is a triple Board certified (Infectious Disease) physician, mom, speaker, author, coach and breast cancer survivor/thriver. For more tips and information and to become a well warrior, sign up for her e-mail list so you don’t miss out on new and exciting things to come.