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Kids Stress Parents, But Parent Stress Is Wrecking Kids

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Remember your first week as a new mom, when you couldn't stop staring at that precious bundle long enough to care about the pile of dirty laundry stacking up on the living room floor?

Well, those days are over.

Children will give you a run for your money, and it doesn't take long.

Throw in some politics, terrorism and a splash of personal safety, and you are well on your way to becoming the biggest pent-up ball of anxiety the PTA has ever seen.

Stress, as we all know, can lead to bad things, including a higher mortality rate. The triggers are endless: 24-hour news, highlighted rage and the day-to-day frustrations that come along with parenting. So how do we keep a lid on all of that pressure without causing an explosion?

Parents tend to suppress fear in hopes to avoid passing it onto our children, but that's not how toxins work. We all mean well when we do this. But these toxins have a way of seeping in and destroying lives.

U.S. News and World Report columnist, LCSW and child psychotherapist (and Mom.me contributor!) Katie Hurley writes about the effects parental stress has a on kids. According to a 2017 study by the American Psychological Psychological Association, 47 percent of adults admit to losing patience with or yelling at their partner due to stress, while 46 percent report similar behavior with their children.

That is a lot of tension under one roof. Imagine what it does to a child.

It's easy to camouflage stress, but not when you have kids. They pick up on everything and can quickly sense when things are amiss. Worst of all, they feed off of our negative energy until it becomes their own, and then pass that vicious cycle down to the next generation of anxiety-ridden children.

The good news is that you don't have to be a perfect parent to raise a happy child. You do, however, need to find a way to relieve some of that pressure so that you're not taking it out on your kids, and it doesn’t need to be complicated, Hurley writes. In fact, reducing stress is not only easy; it can also be fun.

Personally, I like to take my aggression out on an elliptical machine at the gym (while scrolling through social media and stressing myself out even more). But others might prefer doing yoga, reading, cooking, golfing, going for a walk or a million other cool things that can be done alone or, better yet, with the family.

Because when tiny eyes are watching 24/7 and mimicking what they see, it is our job—as parents—to make healthy choices.

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