Something I hear a lot from preteen and teen children is that their parents are "always stressed". They talk about how their parents are often upset, angry and stressed about finances, work, relationships and at their kids. Depending on the teen, this either bothers them a lot, or not at all.
It kind of makes me cringe when I hear my clients say this because I wonder whether my own kids would say exactly the same thing.
I remember a particularly confronting moment a few months ago when my 7 year old was having a bad day and he mournfully said something like, "School is boring, and I'm going to grow up and work is going to be stressful" Eek. Is that how he sees me talk about work??
Can we avoid feeling stressed, upset, angry and upset around our family members? No. And neither should we attempt to hide negative emotions from them.
But I wonder the good moments in our lives - something that goes well for us, an achievement, a peaceful moment and a laugh with a friend - are often not observed by our children. Perhaps they are in bed, or with their own friends or just don't notice it happening. So they end up with an unbalanced picture of our lives as mostly stressful and unhappy.
Perhaps we need to make an effort to tell our children about the positive things in our life. To consciously remember to tell them about things that go well, the times we enjoyed, things we are grateful for and the times we have fun in our daily experiences.
An idea for the car ride home from school or at tea tonight perhaps?