Cooped Up and Stressed, More Parents Lose Their Cool with Their Kids

The Straits Times
Republished with Permission
16 May 2020

[Focus on the Family Singapore's principal counsellor] Ms [Theresa] Pong notes that stay-home measures have increased parental stress in multiple ways, from cabin fever with no downtime, to managing kids all by themselves while fulfilling work commitments, being forced to work more closely with their spouse, and fears about the family's finances, health and lifestyle.

While many parents had high expectations of how they wanted to spend time with their kids during the circuit breaker, they struggle with balancing working from home and taking care of their little ones.

As the lines between work and family blur, the "extra stress can result in disappointment and even resentment, causing them to lose emotional regulation", she says. . . .

Ms Pong adds that while many children are resilient and can overcome adversity, this should not be an excuse for parents to "normalise what could potentially turn abusive".

"Instead, we can turn 'failed parenting moments' into teachable moments for our children and ourselves," she explains.

"It starts with the grown-up recognising how they 'lost it' or overreacted, apologising to their child for their misplaced or misdirected reaction/behaviour and processing with their child a better way to deal with stress, tension or misbehaviour together when it next arises". . . .

Ultimately, while it is normal for parents to act up when they are stressed, Ms Pong emphasises that they should always remember to affirm their children.

"Our affirmation plays a big part in building our children's mental health. Our children need to know that parents are the safest people to go to if they need help."

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