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Tips to Beat Stress

No parent gets it right all the time. After all, we're only human! Everyone is different. The things that cause enormous stress to one parent may not bother another at all. Do any of these situations make you feel stressed? If so here are some tips.

The Crying Baby
Its perfectly normal for babies to cry. It's their way of talking to you.

    Tips to cope
      • Think of things your baby might be trying to say. Could it be hunger, a wet nappy, frustration at not being able to reach a toy, or just wanting a cuddle?
      • Try rocking your baby in a pram or cradle, or walking up or down with him.
      • Singing often does the trick.
      • Cuddling your baby is the best tip of all. Make sure you are relaxed - babies can tell if you're tense. Once your baby begins to calm down don't be too quick to put him back in his cot.
    If your baby seems to cry all the time, contact your health visitor or doctor.

      Bedtime Blues

      It's Late, you're tired and longing to sit down for a break, but your child has a screaming fit when put in the cot.

      Tips to cope

        • Set a routine to help your child wind gradually at the end of the day. Tell her that bedtime is coming up (but don't let it sound like a threat). Give her a warm bath perhaps followed by a story.
        • Ask your partner or an older brother or sister to take her for a while.
        • Give up the struggle and let your child play while you sit down and relax before trying again. Remember children, like adults vary in the amount of sleep they need.
        • Try to see it as a compliment. Small children are often very sad when the days ends because they hate to leave the people they love.
        The Little Monster

        Has your sweet baby turned into a little horror, throwing tantrums and hitting and biting other children?

        Tips to cope

          • Try to be patient. Children under the age of about three still see themselves as the centre of the world. They don't mean to do any wrong and they don't really understand how it makes you feel.
          • Distracting is often the best solution. Children soon forget about crying when presented with an exciting object, or if you tell them a funny story or sing a song.
          The Know-it-all

          Is your 5 to ten year old going through a know-it -all phase? Is he cheeky and hard to handle at times?

          Tips to cope

            • If he says something rude or unkind tell him calmly how it makes you feel and ask what he is feeling. Don't be tempted to reply with equally unkind comments.
            • Try not to have too many rules. Children like to make some decisions on their own.
            • You may not like the way your child is behaving at the moment but it is important to let him know that he is still loved.
            The Teenage Rebel

            Becoming a young adult is a stressful time - not just for children but for their parents too! They still need you, yet they reject you. Nothing you say or do seems to be right. They make unreasonable demands which can end up in a blazing row.

            Tips to cope

              • Try to discuss any conflicts in a positive way, without getting cross. It is better to negotiate with your child and find a middle way that you can both accept, just as you would with an adult.
              • Remember teenagers are more likely to respect your views if you show respect for theirs. Imposing your opinions may only make things worse.
              • Try not to be too critical. As they become adults, children need a lot of support and encouragement to build up their confidence.
              Trying to be "Superwoman" or "Superman"

              Do you feel responsible for everything - your children, their schooling, cooking, cleaning, shopping and all the other domestic tasks, and perhaps a job outside the home as well?

              Tips to cope

                • You may be trying to juggle too many things. Make a list of the essential tasks you can fit comfortably in to your day and just aim to do those.
                • Decide if any of the other tasks can be done by your partner, a close friend, relative or neighbour. Don't feel guilty about asking for help.
                • Accept that some things will have to wait until you or your partner have the time to do them.
                • Remember that your relationship with your partner and children is more important than jobs and housework, so always make time for these first.
                The Champion Moaner

                All children, whatever their age, can drive a parent crazy by constant nagging and whining for something they want.

                Tips to cope

                  • Distraction can work wonders with younger children. Take them to the mirror, produce a surprise toy, or start singing.
                  • For older children, checkout the facts about whatever it is they want. Question your reasons for saying no. If you don't feel its worth the battle you could give way. Remember you don't need to prove "who's boss".
                  Coping with Unemployment

                  Unemployment can lead to money worries & a loss of self confidence, and you may be tempted to take this out on your child.

                  Tips to cope

                    • Check with your local social security office that you are getting all the benefits you're entitled to. Ask for help to answer questions and fill in forms, if you think this would be useful.
                    • Find out from your library or Citizens Advice Bureau whether there are any training schemes, activities or support groups in your area for people looking for work.
                    • Remember that love is the most important thing you can give your children

                  Getting to School

                  Trying to get children to fit an adult's timescale is bound to be fraught at times.

                  Tips to cope

                    • Sort out clothes, packed lunches & everything you need the night before.
                    • Get up earlier than you think you need to.
                    • Arrange to take turns to do the journey to school, either with your partner or another parent at the same school.
                    Your Relationship

                    If you are having problems with your partner, it is important not to take your feelings out on your children

                    Tips to cope

                      • Never draw your child in to the conflict or ask her to take sides. Explain what is happening.
                      • Help your child to understand that your problems are not her fault, and find out how she feels.
                      • Think how any decisions you take about your relationship will affect your child
                      Article reprinted with kind permission of ISPCC
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