Managing Stress in Mom and Child, Part 2: BUFFERING STRESS w/ Guest Amanda Colliatie, LMFT
In part two, BUFFERING STRESS, Val Harrison, the Practically Speaking MOM, and her guest, licensed marriage and family therapist, Amanda Colliatie, discuss the ways to BUFFER STRESS in your life and in the life of your child. Then Val finishes the episode by sharing how to equip our kids to become more self-sufficient in all areas, including observing and managing their own stress. Val also shares another tip from her journey back to health and how it related to stress in her life.
"The more we can build one another up by giving meaningful praise and opportunities to succeed and gain a sense of mastery, the more we can strengthen the pathways that help us feel positive emotions, deal with stress, and build confidence." Amanda Colliatie
"My goal is a relationship that is healthy and an individual who is whole. What can I do to help this relationship be healthy and how can I help this person be more whole?" Val Harrison
As intentional Moms, we want to be constantly in the process of Transferring Self-Sufficiency to our kids in all areas of their life. This is a long process, but an important one.
Here's how to Transfer Self-Sufficiency to our kids in every area, including in equipping them to manage stress in their own lives
1. Set a good example.
If we want to transfer self-sufficiency, we have to be working on our own sufficiency in that area. You can't teach what you don't know. You can't transfer what you haven't got. Start with your own sufficiency in the area that you're trying to grow in your child.
In stress management, you need to learn to monitor your own stress. Taking time for MARGIN & watching for SIGNS & SYMPTOMS of stress reaching an unhealthy level are essential parts of setting a good example in stress management.
2. Equip your kids with GOOD Habits
In whatever area you're teaching your kids to be self-sufficient, identify what life habits are needed and then begin implementing them and talking about them to your kids one at a time. After you've worked on that habit and talked about it with your child, train them on the habit.
The BUFFERS that Amanda shares with us in this mini-series are the place to start for developing GOOD HABITS for Stress Management,
3. Teach them the REASON behind the good habits - teach them why keeping a right perspective on their stress matters -
Also, Intentional Moms, heed Amanda's warning about stress affecting your health. Don't ignore the SIGNS that your stress is too much for your body.
Amanda tells us, during this series on stress, that it affects our physical health, especially if we don't do anything to buffer the stress in ourselves or our children.
Don't make the mistake I made by waiting until the road back to health is a very long road. At the end of today's episode I share one way that I've found to reduce inflammation in my body that had been caused primarily from stress. Here's a brand that I like (this is not affiliate link). When I'm shopping for a turmeric supplement, I look for 95% curcuminoids as an ingredient and Black Pepper (BioPerine).
Now, on to the really good stuff -
Here's Amanda's notes for us from Part Two of Managing Stress: BUFFERING STRESS.
Intentional moms, I'm praying that you're growing right along with me in this important topic,
Amanda Colliatie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Encounter Freedom Therapy Center in Wichita, KS. Find them on Facebook here.
Chronic stress can’t always be avoided –
the loss of a parent,
an ugly divorce,
conflict in the home,
chronic maternal depression,
plus the addition of a world-wide pandemic
– but a relationship with an adult that is loving, responsive and stable can buffer against the effects of stress and stop it from turning toxic.
Toxic Stress for the Child
The environment might continue to be stressful and deeply painful for a child, but research has shown that with the support of a loving adult, the physiological effects of the stress response can be softened, minimizing the risk of long-term damage.
Toxic Stress for Mom
For yourself, the most important thing you can do to help is to recognize what is going on – name it.
Supporting Your Child
Then as a supportive adult, you can put the stress into context for your child by explaining to the best of your ability what it is, how it happened, how often it will happen or whether it will happen again. This is an important part of helping a child to see the world as less threatening and to provide them with a sense of empowerment and the capacity to influence their environment, even if only in a very small way.
How to buffer the effects of toxic stress. (Source: The Gottman Institute)
• Build up: It takes 5-7 positive interactions to make up for one negative interaction. This is because our brains are wired to notice the negative (threats). It’s what keeps us alive. We will be quicker to notice the negative and will have a more intense response compared to positive events.
Of course, interactions that are more disconnecting will require more intentionality to repair the relationship. The more we can build one another up by giving meaningful praise and opportunities to succeed and gain a sense of mastery, the more we can strengthen the pathways that help us feel positive emotions, deal with stress, and build confidence.
• Touch: Humans were meant to be touched. It’s connecting, reassuring and it helps to build a protective barrier between people and the things that could hurt them. We all need it. Deliberate hugs and incidental, safe touches will warm and build us up. Of course, though, it’s also important to be guided by the other person. If they flinch or shy away from being touched, respect that.
• Find a healthy escape: If the world is stressful, there needs to be some sort of temporary escape – for adults and children. A movie, puzzle, puppy snuggles, reading, Lego building, FaceTime with friends or other family will provide opportunities to relief from the emotional and physiological effects of the stress and validate personal strengths. Find what works for you and your child. Then do it often.
• Be responsive: We are all hardwired to connect with others. Children and babies will attempt to interact with the people who are important to them – it’s what we have been all biologically organized to do.
Warmly responding to a child’s attempts at interaction – their babbling, reaching, crying or chatter – with eye contact, talking or hugging will strengthen the connections in the child’s brain and fortify them against toxic stress.
This goes for interactions with adults too!! Friendships and family relationships are extremely important in buffering the effects of stress. Find the people who you love being with and spend intentional time with them.
Pt 3 will contain the rest of Amanda's list of buffers to stress!
Amanda Colliatie is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Wichita, Kansas. Her practice at Encounter Freedom Therapy Center website or Facebook page is dedicated to providing skilled therapy that is safe, affordable, and practical.