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Family Tips for Paternal Stress

Father and son
June 13, 2017

Much of the stress advice that’s out there for working parents is geared towards mothers, but what about fathers? Studies show that stressed fathers can have a profound impact on their offspring. Having a few stress relief tips can make all the difference.

Paternal stress can have a large impact on the wellbeing of children, in the short term and the long term. Researchers from Michigan State University found that a father’s stress was harmful to children’s cognitive and language development. The father’s mental health also impacted the children’s social skills, including self-control and cooperation.

Stress can even affect children before they are born. A study on paternal mice (published by Biological Psychiatry) suggests that males who are exposed to chronic stress “pass those stress behaviors along to their offspring” through conception. The offspring had increased depression and anxiety behaviors.

In short, reducing stress is not only significant for fathers—it’s also important for the wellbeing of the children. Listed below are few helpful tips that can help.

  • Establish family stress breaks. Since stress can have such a large impact on your children, create regular stress breaks for the whole family. Try playing a quick game together, having story time right after dinner, or spending an hour working on a family project, such as the garden or an art and craft project. This will take your mind off your troubles and help you and your kids relax and bond together. 
  • Schedule regular tech detoxes. On Saturdays have a tech detox. Ignore your smartphone notifications, turn off your computers, and just be present with your family. Technology can be a great distraction and they often monopolize the very little time you have with your kids. So, instead of checking social media, plan a weekend adventure with the kids. Or, if you’re looking for something for you and your partner to enjoy together, consider going to a special tech-free vacation
  • Take care of your health (body and soul). Meditation is a wonderful way to reduce your stress during the day. For instance, taking a five-minute meditation break really can help lower office stress. Getting regular exercise can give you a mood boost as well. In fact, when you make your regular workout schedule, get your kids involved as well. Regular walks around the park or tag football in the backyard will also help them reduce stress.

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