IT'S NORMAL … as a parent to sometimes feel overwhelmed, angry and exhausted by our children. However, the way we deal with life’s stressors is critical to our and our children’s wellbeing so it is important for all of us as parents to take care of ourselves as well as our children in healthy and productive ways. Instead of screaming at our children or punishing them while we are angry here is a small list of things we can do to give ourselves a TIME OUT!
COUNT TO TEN. On each number, take a deep breath and exhale slowly before counting the next number. Repeat until you feel your emotions are under control.
TAKE A BREAK. Put your child in a safe place (their crib, playpen or their room) and/or remove yourself (go into the bathroom and run the water to drown out the child’s crying or to cover up your screaming or venting; step outside for a few minutes and get some fresh air) to take a break from your child – it’s okay to need to separate from them briefly to regroup and it doesn’t mean you are not a good parent – in fact it makes you a better parent by not reacting harshly/physically toward the child.
TAKE A WALK. Think of someone who can babysit for you – even if it’s a neighbor who can let you take a walk around the block. If your child is screaming or colicky be sure you alert any babysitter or family member about “Shaken Baby Syndrome” – see below for more information on Shaken Baby Syndrome. NEVER SHAKE A BABY!! The damage can kill a baby or leave them with permanent brain damage.
CALL FOR HELP. Here is a list of phone numbers and websites that provide free, confidential phone line help for frustrated and/or overwhelmed parents/individuals:
Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center
www.dvcac.org or 216-391-HELP (4357) – provides 24 hour free and anonymous help for families feeling out of control, isolated, overwhelmed. You can also call this number for non-emergency help.
First Call for Help – 211
www.211oh.org or dial “211” for 24-hour resources and referrals for health and human Service agencies throughout Cuyahoga County.
Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County
www.adamhscc.org or 216-623-6555 (Mobile Crisis Team) - provides 24 hour phone service by qualified mental health professionals offering immediate psychiatric help. The Mobile Crisis Team can go to where the person or crisis is to provide services at that location.
Child Abuse Hotline (Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services)
Your Early Intervention team or Home Visitor can be a good source of support and information. Understanding your child’s development and behavior can help to reduce your stress.
More Tips to Reduce Stress:
- Talk to a friend or family member
- Meditate or pray
- Sing a song
- Read a good book
- Watch a funny TV show or movie
- Go on a date with your husband or best friend
- Get a babysitter and spend a few hours just doing whatever you want to
- Write in a journal
- Take a walk or ride a bike
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Did you know that shaking a baby can cause:
- Cognitive Delays
- Cerebral Palsy
- Speech Difficulties
- Hearing Loss
- Vegetative State
- Behavioral Problems
- Learning Problems
- Long Hospitalization
- Click on “S” on the alphabet bar
- Click on Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Click on “Prevention” in the box at the left
- Click on any of the Proclamation certificate link under “Downloadable SBS Education Materials”