5 Communication Tips to Help Stressed Parents Embrace Calm
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
Stress and parenthood tend to go hand-in-hand. It’s nearly impossible to avoid stress altogether when you have even one child, let alone multiple kids.
When the stress of parenthood—combined with you career, relationship, friendships, and everything else—starts to have a negative impact on the way you feel and the way you live, it’s a bigger problem.
More than anything, you and your partner need to be on the same page as often as possible. That team mentality requires effective communication.
Communication is vital to any relationship. As parents, however, communicating the right way can help you to embrace calm and reduce your stress. Let’s look at five tips to help you do just that.
1. Give Each Other Your Full Attention
When you’re stressed, one of the best things someone can do for you is to listen. That’s especially true in a romantic relationship. If you want to talk to your partner (or vice versa), make sure they’re giving you their full attention, and give them yours.
That means getting rid of distractions like phones and other electronics. It also means setting aside time to talk when the kids aren’t around, and you can engage fully in the conversation and nothing else.
2. Share What You Need
Using “I” statements is typically better than placing the blame on someone else. Unfortunately, stress makes it easy to say things you don’t necessarily mean.
If you tell your partner how you feel rather than accusing them of something, you can create a calmer environment. This approach will help you to discuss any problems and create effective solutions together.
3. Check In Regularly
If you’re worried that you and your partner aren’t communicating effectively, check in with them. Ask them to reiterate things for you, so you’re sure you understand what they mean.
Making assumptions or giving your best guess when it comes to communication will lead to more stress. By asking for clarification or reassurance, you’re doing two things. First, you’re letting your partner know that you want to listen, and you value what they have to say. Second, you’re taking active steps to create a calmer environment.
4. Don’t Interrupt
It can be tempting to toss your ideas and opinions into your conversations with your partner. Time for input exists, but it’s not when they’re in the middle of a sentence.
Interrupting indicates that you’re trying to rush your partner through their words. Or, that what they have to say isn’t as important as what you have to say. This approach can create tense conversations and can contribute to a stressful environment.
If you want to embrace calm in your conversations, make sure your partner is done speaking before you chime in.
5. Remember You’re On the Same Team
Sometimes, especially as parents, you can feel as though you’re working against each other. Whether it’s a parenting issue, a relationship issue, or something entirely different, you have to remember that you’re on the same team.
You might not always agree with each other. But, when you keep the idea of having the same goals in mind, it’s easier to communicate calmly rather than let chaos control your conversation.
When you do accept the fact that your partner isn’t your enemy (even if you disagree with them on something), you’re more likely to come to a more positive solution in a less-stressful way.
If you’re feeling overly stressed in your family and your communication is suffering, you’re not alone. You can try plenty of strategies to embrace calm and eliminate as much stress as possible.
Feel free to contact me to learn more.
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COMING SOON! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.
Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!