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Handling Stress Effectively

by Lori Sciame | November 24th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

Last week, I read in the news about the one-year-old boy that lived on the outskirts of St. Louis who died at the hands of his own mother. After questioning by police, the mother admitted to hitting and shaking the baby because he would not stop crying, and he refused to go to sleep. And just yesterday, I had a conversation with a young father suffering from sleep deprivation, as his 14-month-old and 4-month-old had been ill for days with an intestinal virus.

Thank goodness, almost all parents choose NOT to take out their frustrations on the baby, such as in the case of the young gentleman I know; however, as in the case of the mother from outside of St. Louis, some parents make a choice that can have dire consequences.

Being a parent of an infant can be extremely stressful. Once a new baby arrives, colic, illness, boredom, and even inborn personalities can cause bouts of relentless crying, crying that must be dealt with by parents.

Believe me, I know all about stress caused by a child crying. My first born suffered from colic; he cried day and night for months, and one time he wailed for 24 hours – non-stop! To this day, that time period remains the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live through. My third born didn’t have colic; she contracted E coli, and remained seriously ill for at least a week. Her loud crying bouts still ring in my ears.

Was I stressed at those times? You bet I was, as my husband proved to be very little help, and my mother couldn’t assist as she worked full time; however, I stayed strong and refused to lash out at my offspring. I made the choice to view them for what they were – helpless children, ones that I brought into this world.

If you are the parent of an infant/toddler, you also know dealing with the stress that a baby causes can be difficult, and you understand the sheer enormity of taking care of this completely dependent individual. You see, being stressed is completely normal.

Yet, if you find yourself, or you know of someone who is having trouble dealing with the anger caused by these stressors, there are ways to cope. Read on to find out how to help yourself or someone else in order to avoid another baby being hurt or injured because of parental loss of control.

1. Take a breather.
Every parent needs a break. Enlist the help of family, friends, or neighbors to watch baby, and go for a walk, take a ride in the car, or maybe see a movie.

2. Talk to someone.
Talking about what you are going through helps tremendously. Find a sympathetic ear and unload. Many cities have crisis lines that are helpful.

3. Put baby in a safe place.
If you are alone, and your baby will not stop crying, you can place him or her safely in the crib and leave the room for a few minutes.

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