Raising a family can be both rewarding and challenging. Society as a whole is facing increasing levels of stress and families are not exempt; with many families faced with financial, health and relationship stress on a daily basis. Life stressors can include anything that disrupts family functioning from change in employment, loss of income, to health concerns of a family member to moving house to natural disaster and everything in between. Stress can impact family members in different ways with both parents and children feeling the impact of heightened stress levels. Stress can come with physical symptoms, lead to health problems as well as impact on mood and energy levels. Parents under stress may experience increased difficulty parenting in a consistent and predictable manner and find it hard for children to not sense that their parent is under stress.
Children model their parents’ behaviours, including those related to managing stress. Parents who deal with stress in maladaptive ways risk passing those behaviours on to their children. Alternatively, parents who cope with stress in healthy and adaptive ways can not only promote better adjustment and happiness for themselves, but also promote the formation of critically important habits and skills in children. As a parent, it’s important to model healthy behaviours for your children. Children are more likely to learn adaptive coping skills for stress that they can take with them through to adulthood when the whole family practices healthy living and good stress management techniques.
At times when a family is under significant amount of stress and it is impact on the functioning of individual family members or the family unit as a whole than extra support is needed. YLO Psychology Clinic offers family therapy as well as individual parent and child counselling to support families in need. Intervention would involve:
- Education around stress and the physical, emotional and mental impact it can have on adults and children
- Practical tips on reducing stress
- Education around adaptive and healthy coping skills to reduce and manage stress
- Support to reduce stress and the impact it has on children