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          Parental Action Plan for Change

          September 02, 2002

          If stress is causing you to abuse your children verbally, emotionally or physically, you can change your lifestyle and end the destructive behavior. Understand that you are a pivotal person in your children’s life. You are writing on the slate of who they are by what you say, what you do, and what kind of environment you put them in. You are a factor in their health and well being.

          Take inventory.
          Do a lifestyle audit. Are there too many things being jammed into a short period of time — so much so that it’s practically unavoidable for you to go crazy? What are the stressors in your life? You may not realize that it’s time to make changes and break patterns until you examine your lifestyle.

          Make a decision.
          Make a life decision to change things. Decisions are made in the head, while life decisions come from the heart. Decide that you are going to make your children’s interests — especially their health — a top priority, and redesign your life accordingly.

          Delegate responsibilities.
          Learn to delegate more responsibility — even if everything doesn’t get done exactly the way you like it. When you deconstruct a chaotic life by delegating, it’s amazing how much time you can pick up. For example, try putting 20 minutes that you save toward a bubble bath or something else that you find relaxing.

          Stop the verbal abuse.
          If you yell at your kids or in front of them, stop it right now. You don’t have that right. Likewise, you do not have the luxury of being too hotheaded or emotional with your kids. Require more of yourself. Find a different outlet for your frustration. Don’t take it out on your children.

          Turn down the volume.
          Lower the noise in your life. In addition to turning off the TV (or at least turning it down), understand that if you give yourself permission to take a step back and decompress, everyone’s quality of life will improve. If your household is too hectic, try getting up earlier. Use that time to organize your day and prioritize. Losing half an hour of sleep is worth it if the demands throughout the day are far more manageable.

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