Parenting is a beautiful journey that offers immeasurable joy and fulfillment. However, it also comes with a fair share of challenges, especially when you are parenting children or teenagers with behavioral and mental health issues such as ADHD, autism, OCD, anxiety, mood disorders, PANS/PANDAS, and so forth.
The Challenges of Parenting and the Importance of Staying Calm
It's crucial to acknowledge that managing these issues can be overwhelming. But remember, every challenge encountered is a unique opportunity to build a stronger bond with your child (Diaz-Loving, R., & Draguns, J.G., 2021). Your ability to stay calm, resilient, and composed is the secret to calm parenting. This not only enables you to tackle each hurdle effectively, but also teaches your child vital coping mechanisms as your child grows.
Understanding the Impact of Stress on Parenting
When we are stressed, our limbic brain goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode, often causing us to react instead of responding to the situation. This can manifest as shouting, arguing, or completely shutting down – actions that can exacerbate the situation instead of resolving it (American Psychological Association, 2019). Understanding this allows us to find ways to calm the brain and improve our parenting.
The Secret to Staying Calm: Calming the Brain
A calm brain fosters calm parenting. This is why we need to actively engage in practices that promote mental and emotional stability. Natural stress techniques like breathwork, somatic techniques, and EFT tapping are scientifically proven to help parents feel empowered to manage their stress, ultimately fostering a calm environment (Seppälä, E.M., Nitschke, J.B., Tudorascu, D.L., et al., 2014).
21 Ways on How to be a Calm Parent: Secret to Calm Parenting
- Practice breathwork: Deep breaths help you stay calm by sending a signal to your brain to relax and slow down the heart rate (Ma, X., Yue, Z.Q., Gong, Z.Q., et al., 2017).
- Somatic techniques: Engaging in body-oriented therapies can help you become more aware of your physiological responses to your child’s behavior and learn to better regulate them (Payne, P., Levine, P.A., & Crane-Godreau, M.A., 2015).
- EFT tapping: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a form of psychological acupressure that utilizes tapping on specific body parts to reduce anxiety and stress (Church, D., Yount, G., & Brooks, A., 2012).
- CALM PEMF™: This is a biofeedback tool that uses Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy to promote relaxation and enhance mood.
- Neurotastic™ Multi-Mag Brain Formula™: Magnesium supports cognitive function, stress resilience, and mood balance, which helps us be more present as parents and helps our children to be more regulated.
- Maintain routines: Consistency creates a safe, predictable environment which reduces anxiety in both the parent and child (Sonuga-Barke, E.J.S., 2005).
- Establish clear boundaries: Setting house rules helps children understand expectations and reduces potential conflicts.
- Communicate when you aren’t mad: This ensures constructive conversations and mutual understanding and cuts down on angry conversations and behavior.
- Mindful Meditation: Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus on the present, helping reduce anxiety and promote calmness (Khoury, B., Sharma, M., Rush, S.E., & Fournier, C., 2015).
- Journaling: Writing about your feelings can be therapeutic and provides an outlet for stress and anxiety (Pennebaker, J.W., & Smyth, J.M., 2016).
- Physical Exercise: Regular physical activity can reduce stress and improve mood (Childre, D., & Martin, H., 1999).
- Quality Sleep: Prioritizing a good night's sleep can have a profound impact on your mood and ability to cope with parenting stress (Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M.E.H., 2017).
- Healthy Diet: Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can support brain health and mood regulation (Liu, X., Yan, Y., Li, F., & Zhang, D., 2016).
- Quality Time: Spending quality time with your child helps build a stronger bond, reducing stress and facilitating communication.
- Connect with Nature: Time spent outdoors can significantly reduce stress and promote relaxation (Bratman, G.N., Hamilton, J.P., & Daily, G.C., 2012).
- Use Humor: A good laugh can serve as an excellent stress reliever and help diffuse tension (Bennett, M.P., & Lengacher, C., 2009).
- Practice Gratitude: Focusing on positives and expressing gratitude can foster a more positive outlook and reduce stress (Emmons, R.A., & Stern, R., 2013).
- Join a Support Group: Connecting with other parents facing similar challenges can provide valuable insights, strategies, and emotional support (Svavarsdóttir, E.K., & Rayens, M.K., 2017).
- Share your Cal hm: When you are calm, they are calm. Remembering that you can share your worry, fear or anger…. OR you can share your calm is the key to not personalizing their behavior.
- Flexibility: Understand that things might not always go as planned. Be flexible with your plans and expectations.
- Self-Care: Prioritize your wellbeing. Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup. Make time for activities you enjoy to recharge your batteries (Neely, M.E., Schallert, D.L., Mohammed, S.S., Roberts, R.M., & Chen, Y.J., 2009).
Embracing the Journey: Feel Empowered to Parenting Special Kids
Embracing the journey of calm parenting, particularly when caring for special needs kids, neurodivergent kids, or children with mental health needs, brings immense benefits. It's not just about managing external situations, but focusing on calming your own brain, which consequently creates a peaceful environment that encourages the growth and development of your child.
Harnessing strategies such as CALM PEMF™ and magnesium, such as Neurotastic™ Multi-Mag Brain Formula™ can directly influence your brain's stress responses, fostering a sense of tranquility. Techniques like breathwork, somatic exercises, and EFT tapping can further help manage stress, enabling you to respond to your child's needs more effectively.
The value of establishing boundaries, routine, and clear communication when you're not angry cannot be overstated. These practices cultivate a predictable, secure environment where your child can thrive.
Additionally, adopting mindfulness meditation, self-compassion, maintaining a gratitude journal, and laughter therapy, can significantly improve your emotional wellbeing. Spending time outdoors, prioritizing sleep, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and moments of silence also contribute to a serene mindset.
Avoiding multitasking, creating firm house rules, and seeking professional help when needed are additional ways to manage stress and foster a calm demeanor.
By choosing the methods that resonate with you, you empower yourself to navigate the challenging yet rewarding journey of parenting with grace, patience, and confidence. This not only benefits you, but the calmness you cultivate within yourself permeates your family life, positively influencing your child's behavior and emotional well-being.
Your Next Steps to be a Calm Parent
Your next step is to simply start. These strategies are only as effective as you use them… kinda like that treadmill in your basement! So pick one strategy and be consistent for at least 30 days and watch the change in your own stress levels.
As you explore ‘How to be a Calm Parent,' supplement your newfound wisdom with our free guide, “147 Therapist-Endorsed Self-Regulation Strategies for Children: A Practical Guide for Parents.” This resource is a perfect companion, offering you an extended array of therapist-approved strategies to further support your child's self-regulation.
Combine the art of calming your mind with these strategies, promoting a harmonious household and enhancing your child's skills in managing their emotions and behaviors. Access this game-changer now and bring a positive transformation to your family's life.
American Psychological Association. (2019). Stress effects on the body. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress-body
Bennett, M.P., & Lengacher, C. (2009). Humor and Laughter May Influence Health IV. Humor and Immune Function. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(2), 159–164. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686627/
Bratman, G.N., Hamilton, J.P., & Daily, G.C. (2012). The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1249(1), 118-136. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330448/
Church, D., Yount, G., & Brooks, A. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 200(10), 891-896.
Emmons, R.A., & Stern, R. (2013). Gratitude as a psychotherapeutic intervention. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(8), 846-855. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23544440/
Khoury, B., Sharma, M., Rush, S.E., & Fournier, C. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 78(6), 519-528. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26172521/
Liu, X., Yan, Y., Li, F., & Zhang, D. (2016). Fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of depression: A meta-analysis. Nutrition, 32(3), 296-302. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26691768/
Ma, X., Yue, Z.Q., Gong, Z.Q., et al. (2017). The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 874. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28580220/
Medic, G., Wille, M., & Hemels, M.E.H. (2017). Short- and long-term health consequences of sleep disruption. Nature and Science of Sleep, 9, 151-161. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28502030/
Neely, M.E., Schallert, D.L., Mohammed, S.S., Roberts, R.M., & Chen, Y.J. (2009). Self-kindness when facing stress: The role of self-compassion, goal regulation, and support in college students’ well-being. Motivation and Emotion, 33(1), 88-97. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-008-9119-8
Payne, P., Levine, P.A., & Crane-Godreau, M.A. (2015). Somatic experiencing: using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 93. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25729043/
Seppälä, E.M., Nitschke, J.B., Tudorascu, D.L., et al. (2014). Breathing-based meditation decreases posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in U.S. military veterans: a randomized controlled longitudinal study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 27(4), 397-405. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25160904/
Sonuga-Barke, E.J.S. (2005). Causal models of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: From common simple deficits to multiple developmental pathways. Biological Psychiatry, 57(11), 1231-1238. https://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223(05)00616-9/abstract
Svavarsdóttir, E.K., & Rayens, M.K. (2017). The relationship between stress and social support in parents of children with intellectual disabilities in Iceland. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 21(1), 5-17. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/
Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”
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