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Stress is defined as “a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc” (Merriam Webster). Stress can be caused by a number of things including pressure, disappointment, fear, and so on. Parents can minimize stress, and these are how:

CHILD SPACING AND CONTROL:

Economically, these are very hard times. People make supposedly solid financial plans and yet everything could be gone in the blink of an eye. In the wake of this, therefore, parents must learn to control the number of children they wish to have and also learn to space their children.

One of my friends said the best family planning is the fear of school fees.

While the statement is funny, it is equally true. The thought of paying school fees for many children in this tough economy is enough to weigh a parent down with stress. Then there are still other cases like buying clothes, feeding children, paying hospital bills, etc. Many parents have actually developed high blood pressure over such thoughts.

But these can be handled better. For example, a couple can have only two children if that is the number their financial plan can accommodate. In fact, it is not a crime to intentionally have an only child. After all, having a child you can completely cater for is much better than having two children you would struggle to provide for.

Spacing children is also a way parents can minimize stress. Let us consider these situations:

  • Mr A has two children gaining admission into a private university in the same year. He is running around looking for where to get money from. And even if he finds money this time, he will likely run around every year for double school fees until at least four years.
  • Mr B (with same financial capacity as Mr A) has a child gaining admission into a private university, while his second child is still in secondary school, two years away from seeking university admission. Mr B is able foot the cost of his child’s university fees because he is paying for just one child. By the time the second child is getting into the university, the first one is rounding off. Plus, in most universities, the higher the level of students, the less they pay as school fees.

There are understandably difficult cases, like the case of a woman who marries late and has to have some children before menopause. As a result, she doesn’t space her children. But even in this case, having one or two children isn’t bad idea still. It is only very unfortunate how the fruitfulness of marriages is assessed based on number of children produced. It is a harmful system of thinking that has resulted in extreme stress for parents, especially mothers.

LIFESTYLE EVALUATION:

Every parent was once a teenager who had some childish habits some of which do not disappear even as the teenagers grow into adults. For example, there are parents who smoke, take alcoholic drinks very often, eat unhealthily, etc.

These habits and old age don’t go well; so as parents begin to age, they should stay away from these things. Even as young parents, once there are signs of stress, please watch your lifestyle.  Stay away from sugar and caffeine too.

I remember an old friend of mine who was studying for her master’s degree after having had her third child. To stay awake and read at night, she was taking coffee a lot. Then, she would get up in the morning looking out of sorts. I spoke to her a lot and gladly, she changed her reading style.

Today she agrees that parents can minimize stress.

SPEAKING WITH SOMEONE:

One of the biggest dangers of parents suffering stress is that they bottle up everything within themselves! It’s almost suicidal!

When bothered by issues, speak to someone; your husband, wife, siblings, children (depending on their age), etc.

Prisca was complaining of stress. She would return from work very late every day to cook for the family, wash dishes, bathe children and do other chores before going to bed in preparation for work the following day. It got so bad that she couldn’t endure the stress anymore after her friends were complaining too much of how she looked emaciated. So she spoke to her husband about her condition.

Today, they have an adult maid whom they pay to cook and do chores at home. Prisca looks younger and happier.

Nobody is a beast of burden. Speak up when stressed.

Finally, the discussion has been on how parents can minimize stress, not prevent stress. Stress is an inevitable part of our living, but while we can’t avoid it, we can minimize it and live more happily.

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1 Comment

Flora Ndiwe · May 9, 2019 at 9:22 pm

This is very educative.

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