How to look after you

Being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the world and does not come with a manual. Because so much of life gets in the way of being the parent “we wanted to be” we can end up feeling like we are the worst parent in the world when really we are not. At Fegans’ we don’t just provide counselling services for children, we also support parents, Parent Support Worker Maxine Hallett explains how you can look after yourself and your family:

Look after yourself first

One of the points that we get across on the parenting support programmes is that in order for us to be the best possible parents that we can we have to look at our own issues first. If that is mental health then we have to make that Dr’s appointment, look for counselling or support groups if needed, We try to encourage parents to be interdependent – when they can realise that they cannot do everything themselves and encourage them to seek help and support in the community that they are a part of. By modelling this to our children we can already sow the seed of thought that it is OK to ask for help and talk about problems. We need to show it is ok for us to have a bad day and for us as adults to feel frustrated, we are showing we are only human. If we shout at our children because of stress brought on by our own issues, It is ok to say “sorry I should not have spoken to you like that I have had a bad day at work etc. but there was no need to take my frustration out on you”.  This is showing we do have stress in our life and as a parent/adult we don’t get it right all of the time.

Taking time out

By addressing our issues and seeking help for ourselves in regard to mental health it puts us in a better place to parent and therefore the children are having a better time with us and it rebuilds the relationship. Once we allocate time in each day to have “special one to one time” with our children and we put the phone down, turn the TV off and spend that enjoyable time with them it makes us realise that we are good parents and that our children are good, happy, fed and that is all that matters. We have seen a large number of parents that we work with improve their relationship with the children, and even their spouses, by taking time out with each other and talking to each other.

Top tips

  • Take time out for yourself every day – even if it means setting the alarm half an hour before the children wake so that we are organised and calm when they get up.
  • Talk to friends, have a long list of friends and people that we can go to for different things so that we do not feel that we are a burden to just one person.
  • Get a hobby/interest that is just for us – after all we are our own person as well as a parent
  • Talk to the GP if you need to, do not put it off – in order to be the best we can as a parent we need to be in a good place to parent.
  • Talk about how we are feeling and notice how the children are feeling “I can see that is really frustrating you” “I can see you are starting to look really angry”.
  • Teach your child ways to calm down and think about ways in which we can calm down ourselves, time out – breath of fresh air – for children it can be rocket breaths – blowing into a balloon and realising it in the garden.
  • Spend time with our children quality one to one special time every day good relationships are built on this.

For more information on the parenting services provided by Fegans click here.