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10 Essential Parenting Strategies for When Life's Got You Down

Parents can have periods of plain old “blah," where life can become overwhelming and simply beat you down regardless of how much you love and cherish your kids.

By
Cheryl Butler
Episode #344

Strategy #6: Practice Gratitude, No Matter What

Gratitude is a tricky concept. Most of us know that we should express gratitude for the major things in life, like having a roof over our heads, having food on the table each day, and having healthy children. Then there are the little things, like appreciating the big tree in the backyard that our kids can climb, having a lake or ocean nearby to swim in on a hot summer’s day, even just having access to a washer and dryer. When all is right in our world, it’s easy to focus on the good, but the challenge is being able to maintain that focus when things are not going so well.

Set up a habit of recognizing gratitude in your daily life whether it be by keeping a handwritten gratitude journal or an online log of all that you are thankful for.  Take the time to let others know you are grateful for things they do for you or your family, no matter how small. Building gratitude takes practice, but when it is done regularly, it is a habit that will enhance you and your family’s happiness.  See Also:  7 Ways to Raise a Caring Child

Strategy #7: Verbalize Your Feelings

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite ways to either process a situation or decision I’m faced with or to even rationalize something going on in my life is to talk to myself (out loud!).  There’s something about verbally stating or repeating a scenario that helps put the entire matter into the proper perspective.  So the next time you’re faced with a parenting quandary, try verbalizing the scenario out loud. In a regular tone of voice simply describe what is going on and what you feel. There is no judgment involved, just a statement of facts about what’s currently happening. For example:

"I feel annoyed. My kids are jumping on the furniture and haven’t picked up their toys yet. Worse, my mother in law is due over any time now, and it will be obvious to her that they’re all wound up, and I can’t control them.  My chest feels tight and I feel like I want to yell."

What you will begin to notice as you do this is that you actually start to calm down when you verbalize your feelings, and you’ll be able to get a better handle on your emotions.

Strategy #8: This Too Shall Pass

When you’re in a crisis, it’s hard to see any way that things will improve.  But, with some distance, you may be able to see the situation in a different light.  One of my favorite mantras in all my years of parenting is “This Too Shall Pass.”  If this one doesn’t float your boat, find one that does and when the going gets tough and you don’t think you can survive for another minute, repeat it to yourself in the way of a little pep talk so you can move forward with hope rather than doom and gloom.

Strategy #9:  Limit Negative Influences

When life isn’t going your way, try to spend as little time as possible around the Eeyores of the world. You know the type I’m talking about, don’t you? People that always find fault with anything and everything. These are individuals who are not supportive or reliable and don’t have your best interest at heart. Eeyores are typically judgmental, demanding, and critical. After being with them, you feel drained and depleted. In other words, they make you feel worse. Limit these negative influences and instead surround yourself with people who are joyful, appreciative, and can celebrate you—just because.  See Also:  5 Ways to Raise a Happy Child

Strategy #10:  Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Living in the 21st century means living in a material-laden world. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with  enjoying the many sophisticated products of this wonderful time we live in, but we also need to do kind things for others just for the sake of paying it forward. Practicing regular random acts of kindness is a great way to do something wonderful for someone else and will automatically increase the joy in your own life.  See Also:  6 Ways to Create a Happier Family Life

How do you cope as a parent when life has you down? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page, or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com.

Also visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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