Expert: 12 tips to de-stress from parenthood pressures


The balance of work and home life may sometimes feel like being on a merry-go-round with no way off. We need to be reminded to take a break and de-stress as a parent — for our own sake and our kids’.

  1. Remember parenting is not perfect. Remember to give yourself kudos and rewards for doing the best you can.
  2. Take a break and do something for yourself every day. What brings a smile to your face? Your child’s smile? “Me time” is important.
  3. Feeling overwhelmed? Admit it and get help. You do not have to be a super-parent.
  4. Laugh often and keep your sense of humor.
  5. Accept that kids will be kids. Learning is about making mistakes.
  6. Before reacting, count to 10 when feeling angry. We hurt others emotionally and physically when reacting in anger.
  7. We need hugs. Touch eases tension when given appropriately. If unsure, ask permission.
  8. Listening is a skill we can all improve. We feel valued when someone listens to us. Make eye contact and show attentiveness when someone is talking. Working toward understanding the person reduces stress. Good communication prevents conflict and stress.
  9. Schedule fun and fitness. Laughter and physical activities are great stress reducers.
  10. Identify your joys of parenting. Talk to other parents about your concerns and share ideas for solutions.
  11. Identify your expectations for each child. Expectations must be realistic for age and behavior.
  12. Spend time together doing low-cost and no-cost activities.

Harriet Phelps is a retired psychologist and a volunteer at Be Awesome Youth Coalition and Maricopa Senior Center.

This column was previously published in InMaricopa Magazine.