A good friend of mine and her partner had a son 2 years ago. Another good friend of mine had a son only recently, something under 2 months ago. I had always known both of the girls as very calm and collected, positive people. For as long as I had known both of them I had never once seen them stressed.
Both of them have become moms now. Both of them are in happy, stable and functioning relationships and both of them have very calm kids.
Why are some kids unsettled, nervous, crying and keeping their parents awake at night and others are calm, happy little angels?
Children in sponges
Many children cry and often do not sleep at night, therefore keeping mom awake. That leads to exhaustion, frustration, tiredness and the entire and never ending vicious cycle keeps repeating like a broken record. For both the child and the mom. And in the end it can disrupt a previously harmonious family life.
David Code, renowned US author, whose book: Kids pick up on everything: How parental stress is toxic for kids had looked into various researches into how chronically stressed parents to be and parents could have serious impact on their kids development. Not in a positive way. It all begins during pregnancy, scarily enough.
The research, which Code looked into shows, that when a woman experiences stress and anxiety while pregnant, the stress hormones are affecting the placenta and the developing brain of the fetus receives this signal. This heightens the risk of later ADHD and ASD disorders. It doesn’t end with the birth though. Another research had shown that when stress level in parents is high even after the child is born and its initial years of life if can affect then even years later, during their adolescence years.
The good, the bad and the ugly
There are 3 different levels of stress every one of us can and has for sure experienced. No matter if we are a parent or not. We could call them the good, the bad and the ugly but let’s be proper:
- Positive stress– the best kind. This is the stress you experience when you are about to or meeting with new people. Some call it also “butterflies in the stomach”
- Tolerable stress– This kind is not nice but we can handle it in small doses, and as long as it doesn’t happen often. For example losing a job.
- Toxic stress- The worst kind and one that is best avoided at all costs. For example violence.
According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus in the state of Ohio in the USA, if you are a parent, who is continually feeling under immense pressure, you may be less responsive to what your child may be trying to tell you. A little stress here and there is needed and good. Positive stress is a great motivator and your kid will for sure notice it and start to mirror your behaviour.
Calm you, calm child
So what should you do when you’re starting to feel like stress is creeping up on you more than its healthy?
- Find out what the problem is
- Make time for yourself only- go get a massage, get plenty of rest, take that trip you dreamed of taking or simply just hit the snooze button and sleep.
- Try to get some outside help- if you can’t do it alone, ask your family, friends or even a professional for help.
And what about your child?
You can easily tell your child is stressed when:
- He or she cries often
- Sneezes and yawns often
- Avoid looking at you
Help your child relax. Do this:
- Make eye contact
- Smile often and genuinely
- Speak in calm voice
- Hold your child
But whatever you do, live in a way, that does not give you a reason to be stressed out. Because happy mom, happy child, happy family.