Time Pressures: How time can make it difficult to be an effective parent

Firstly, I’m going to start with a story.

My son who’s eight years old is an amazing morning riser. Often he wakes up and gets dressed, has breakfast and is ready for school with zero fuss. One morning, he woke up and refused to get out of bed. He just lay face down and said he wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to go school. 

Like all parents who are rushing around on weekday mornings, I immediately told him to get ready for school. As I was busy getting my daughter ready, finalising lunchboxes and trying to get myself ready for work, he still refused to budge. My stress levels began to rise and so I retreated to the shower.

When I got out of the shower, he was still lying there. My stress button was well and truly triggered and I started to hit panic mode. We began the emotional tug of war, I wanted him to get ready, he didn’t and so it went on. Soon he began to cry.

It was at this point I realised this was a time for me to stop, step back and use this as an emotional coaching moment. I realised that I had to let go of the daily routine and timeline to dig a little deeper into this very unusual behaviour. I felt pressured to get on with my day, but I sat on the bed and asked him to name his emotions and explain to me why he was feeling worried.

After a brief chat we knuckled down to the point that he was nervous and uneasy about moving age levels at school. Like all children he was struggling to cope with the change, nervous about leaving his friends and scared of what the future would bring.

We spoke that this was normal and that he did in fact have skills to make friends and things would soon settle. Within minutes, he was back to himself and started the process of getting ready. I had taken a moment to stop, take time and take the fuse out of what could have been an emotional situation. Time. That’s all it took.

Why Time can be a Parent’s Worst Enemy.

As parents we are under immense pressure each and every day. We run around getting ready for work, getting kids to school and back, fitting in extracurricular activities, playdates, food shopping…. you name it, we have to do it! We often feel we lack the time, and we put pressure on ourselves and our families. We can reflect these pressures onto our children and make them rush and conform into our busy life.

Let’s put this simple sum together.

Pressure + pressure = explosion.

As parents, we need to understand that sometimes we need to sacrifice a little bit of time for the well-being of our children. If something is just not right, what are the underlying causes? It’s important to allay any fears and offer practical solutions or we explain that we can work together to find an outcome at a later date.  A little bit of time invested in the short run, means the whole family can reap the rewards in the future.

So what are my key take home points from my own story include:

  1. Listen to your child’s voice and analyse their behaviour
  2. Recognise your own stress system and don’t add more pressure
  3. Make a little bit of time to sit down, validate your child’s emotions, offer immediate help or future support
  4. Be kind to yourself, sometimes life can wait.

Reach out if you need more support.