For as long as I can remember, I have always heard that children can be greatly affected by parents with stress and depression. People have also said that newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children can feel all the emotions their parent feels and even those hormones can go to the baby through breast milk. Does anyone believe that to some extent?
I was reading an article on The Daily Beast, called "How Stressed Parents Scar Their Kids" by Sharon Begley, and the article explained that there is scientific proof that the stress and depression experienced by a parent actually affects a child's DNA negatively. It will eventually lead to bad behavior, difficult in handling stress themselves, a greater risk at developing mental illness, and more. Wow. Every parent experiences stress and depression at some point during parenthood and its not like you can fix that in a day. Basically this article says that a new study done shows that child abuse and having a mother who has depression will leave marks on a child's DNA. How scary is that? How are we suppose to handle this when we do have some kind of project from work that stresses us out, or in a situation that leaves us depressed? We understand that this can affect a child but we are not doing on purpose to hurt them. If we could be happy all day, every day, I'm pretty sure we would be. What really threw me off my chair was reading that a father who is emotionally and/or physically absent from a child's life can trigger early puberty in girls and late puberty for boys. Parents want whats best for their kids and this sort of makes it so much harder. You can control and choose what actions you display in front of your kids but you can't control the actions of others. If your significant other leaves or doesn't contribute anything to their child, then it's all up to you to basically do everything and try to undo the damage. Even when your a single parent like I am, it gets really hard. Even stress during pregnancy can cause problems with your unborn baby and even after they are born. I had MAJOR complications during my last pregnancy. How could I have not been stressed from all that?
Obviously, we as parents, have to find ways to manage our stress. We must look for a positive way to handle everything and an outlet to blow off steam. Some suggest breathing exercises, meditations, hobbies, and therapy. I think everyone needs therapy at some point in their life, not because their crazy, but everyone can use someone to talk to and be sure that they are listening. I know when I get pretty stressed I take long walks with my kids and avoid any situation during my walk that might make me stressed, like the playground where my daughter won't want to leave and cause a scene. Find some time to plan a dinner with friends or a movie, even a massage! I relax by making popcorn, slicing up apples and grabbing the peanut butter and popping in a movie to watch with my kids. I enjoy movie nights with my kids so much and sometimes I even invite their aunts and grandparents. Once the parent is relaxed and calm, the child will be too.
Anyone care to share their ways of managing stress?