RTD: Keeping Your Stress From Your Spouse and Kids

I was the youngest in my family, which means I spent a lot of time watching others.  This usually meant that I could see when the proverbial [poop] that hit the fan would eventually get to me.  It would go like this:  Stress at my parents’ work (they owned a small business together) would result in them snapping at my older teenage sister, and she would stew in it since a harsh restriction was usually handed out.  Then she would lash out towards my older brother since he was younger than her, and his good day would be over at that point.  At this point, the anger and frustration could only be passed down to me.  I would do my best to become scarce or invisible.  However, no matter what, the buck would get passed to me.

This is a typical example I watched happen in my house many times over.  After a long stressful day of work, without a way to redirect it, or release it, that stress was transplanted from a work environment into a home.  I remember being at young as early elementary school and knowing that this was they way things worked.  I knew that the level of happiness expressed in my house was dependent on the level of stress my parents brought home.  By the time I was in middle school I had learned to shut off and detach from the feelings of others.  If I did not learn to do that, I think I would have been upset every time someone had snapped at me.  The problem with that is that I have had to work very hard to open up to people I encounter these days.

At some point in my youth, I understood that it was not fair to allow stress from one area of life to impact those in another.  It was an injustice that I had to deal with someone’s stress when I did not cause it.  As an educator, and as a parent, I have made this promise to myself: I would not displace my stress onto my family unfairly.  I can’t say that I have been perfect in this, but I remain determined to at least see when, or if, I snap in my frustration, and I am not above apologizing to my kids for that.

I want to keep my stress away from my family, but that means I have to have an outlet or a way to deal with it.  Sometimes I don’t have those outlets, and they just stew within me.  I may be able to keep it away from my family, but it will then impact my health.  I’m sure many of us here have used social media as an outlet for our stresses.  I personally know that blogging was a major release and outlet for my stresses.   However, we encounter stress every day, and we need to find ways to deal every day.  Maybe the stressors are not from work, but from being home all day and then your spouse gets home and you need to download, but they are unreceptive.  Where does your stress go then?

I know we are all in different phases in life and have different home/life situations, but stress is universal.  So this week we are going to discuss how we manage, deal with, and release our stress.

Join us this Wednesday night for our #DadsRT Twitter chat as we discuss how we have succeeded and failed at managing the stresses of home, work, and life.  We start at 6pst/9est. 





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I am a man, and by my wife’s standards that makes me flawed. My challenge to parents, and to myself, is not to teach my kids about the kind of person I hope them to become one day, but to become that person today.

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