Stress at Home

Q: Does the attitude we take as parents have a dramatic effect on our children? We're getting them up in the morning with "Hurry up. Get ready. I've got to go to work and you've got to go to school. Take a bite and eat quick, hurry, get ready!"

A: I think that's absolutely true. Children are being taught to live at a hectic pace in today's society. The home — the family environment — creates the stress problems that so many children experience later in life. It's in the home, therefore, in the family, that the solution to the problem lies. What we model to our children teaches them the values that will determine whether they're going to live a stressful life or not.

Parents are busier than ever these days. I'm not saying, "Don't finish your projects. Don't tackle that pile of dishes. Don't tackle that pile of paper." I'm saying to make it a point to sit back and relax with your family.

Don't use adrenaline to get everything done. We're using high-octane adrenaline to do stuff that can be done with very little energy. Don't sit all tensed up; don't drive the car with your adrenaline surging.

There are certain emotions that demand adrenaline. When you're angry, resentful or frustrated, your adrenaline is pumping. Don't do your work with anger or frustration.

If tackling that pile of papers or sink of dishes is going to make you angry and frustrated, set it aside; leave the task. Go hug your child; play a game of Monopoly; spend a few minutes thanking God for your home, family and job. Come back when your mind is at peace. Believe me, your children will take notice — and your physical and emotional well-being will improve.

Adapted from Focus on the Family's "Adrenaline and Stress" broadcast with Dr. Archibald Hart.