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“Good Enough Parenting”: Tips for Parenting Under High-Stress

By Natalie Hornstein; CCCC Community Connections Specialist |

Being a good parent is hard even in the best circumstances. In times of family, community, or global crisis, many parents worry about meeting their child’s needs. This is why our parenting curriculum – Circle of Security – teaches parents about “Good Enough Parenting”. When a parent is experiencing traumatic stress, “Good Enough Parenting” is just that – good enough!

Here are some tips and important things to remember when parenting under severe stress:

1. Practice mindfulness and breathing. Deep breathing exercises are great for managing stress, and if you practice them with your child, you will both benefit from emotional regulation and parent-child bonding. Check out this article from Zero to Three for some mindfulness and breathing activities you can do with your child.

2. Pay attention to your body language. Babies and young children watch their parents to see how they should be reacting to situations and stressors. If you can keep your facial expressions calm, this will go a long way in making them feel safe.

3. Be present and take time away when you can. When you are with your children, try to focus on them in the present moment. If you can, leave your children with a safe, trusted adult and take some time to experience big emotions without them watching.

These tips are based on information from Circle of Security Parenting, and the Zero to Three Institute. Check out their websites for more information and resources on parenting in times of trauma and stress.