Stress Relief for Parents and Kids

Competitive Pressures on Kids

Child researcher Wendy Grolnick says competitive anxiety can be channeled into positive parenting.

Almost all parents feel pressured to have their kids succeed.

Too often, the focus is on outcomes—such as getting a good grade on a test—rather than learning or development, Grolnick says. When the outcome is the focus, what leads up to it is seen as work, not fun. Intrinsic motivations—the true keys to success—are wiped out.

For the things that require excellence, the only thing that will ultimately get us there is that we are doing it because we love it.

  1. Autonomy – This lets children feel they can solve their own problems. They feel in charge and not controlled.
  2. Competence – By providing structure, parents give their children guidelines for how to act in the world, which instills them with a feeling of competence. Help them determine how to do well at something.
  3. Connectedness – Support, in the form of time and other resources, provides children with a necessary feeling of connection.


Stress Relief Solutions

  • Talk to someone
  • Get babysitting help when you need a break
  • Reach out to other parents
  • Call a help line
  • Talk to your child‘s school
  • Take a class for parents

Hints to Help Reduce Homework Stress

Homework. Children and parents alike often dread the thought of it. Whether the trouble is a child’s lack of homework skills, unclear parental expectations, or simply too much homework, a variety of problems may result: family squabbles, poor grades, and the hindrance of academic progress. If you’re a parent whose evening stress level is directly related to how much homework “we” have tonight, there are a number of changes you can make so that homework is more manageable and productive.

  • If your child has trouble completing homework without help, find out why.

Homework that cannot be done without help is not good homework.

  • Talk with the teacher if you feel homework is excessive.
  • Ask for individual adaptations for your child.
  • Stop putting homework on your to-do list.
  • Stand up for your right to a balanced family life.
    • Allow your child some downtime.
    • Consider limiting your child’s outside activities.
    • Make family time a priority.
Last Updated: June 4, 2008

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