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You may not often think of your family as such, but it is actually an intricate social system. Naturally, there are both positives and negatives that go along with the system. For example, in an article on the American Psychological Association (APA) website, it is noted that “73% of parents report family responsibilities as a significant source of stress.” Reflecting the intricacy of the family social network, the same research also found that “more than two-thirds of parents think their stress level has slight to no impact on their child’s stress level. However, only 14% of tweens and teens reported that they are not bothered when their parent is stressed.”
That is a classic case of people having a vastly different view and beliefs about a situation they are all involved in.
The problem, though, is not that people have different perceptions about a situation. The danger is that children model their parents’ behavior. Consequently, according to the APA, “Parents who deal with stress in unhealthy ways risk passing those behaviors on to their children. Alternatively, parents who cope with stress in healthy ways can not only promote better adjustment and happiness for themselves, but also promote the formation of critically important habits and skills in children.”
If you’re feeling stressed out, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to step back and consider doing the following to create healthy habits for everyone in your family:
- Evaluate your lifestyle
- Talk about any stressful situations that may arise
- Create a healthy environment
- Take care of yourself
- Change one habit at a time
For a more in-depth discussion of each of these tips, see the full APA article here.