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You are your child’s biggest role model

It’s proven that humans learn by modelling themselves on others.  Parents and caregivers play a huge role in childhood development.  Research has shown being a good role model to your child can help them develop empathy, a good sense of morality, and they will show greater levels of altruism to others.  They also develop a robust sense of self-worth and self-esteem, leading to greater resilience.

Being a good role model requires parents to be nourishing, nurturing, and encouraging to their children.  However, we are all human and there may be times we our self-esteem is low and we feel less than nourished ourselves.  It’s as the old adage says, “You cannot pour from an empty cup”.

Children are like sponges; they see and hear everything we as parents do.  They pick up on how we view ourselves, our response to situations, and our mood.  And perhaps this is mainly because these factors impact on how we interact with them.

It is so important for parents to look after their emotional wellbeing, yet it can be incredibly hard to do this.  They may fear judgement, believe their needs sit at the bottom of the pile, or physically struggle to find the time to focus on themselves.

It is normal to struggle

Struggling is part of the human condition; we live in a complex world, and it is normal to have times where we will struggle.

However, when you are a parent, you may be mindful you cannot simply fall apart because you have others who depend upon you.  One of the best things we can teach our children is how to value ourselves.  By engaging in self-care, we role model how to look after our own mental health.  Furthermore, we communicate the message that we deserve for our needs are met.

Adele’s battle with mental health

Singer/songwriter Adele has recently opened up about her battles with anxiety and depression during her divorce from Simon Konecki.  During this time, she spent long periods in bed and found herself using alcohol to cope.

Adele’s song “My Little Love” featured on her album “30” is her way of communicating with her son about how she felt during her divorce.  She worried about the effect the divorce would have on her son and battled with the sense that she was being selfish for prioritising her happiness.  Some of her words in this song are incredibly touching and sad.

“I’m holding on barely.”

“Mummy’s been having a lot of big feelings recently.”

“I feel a bit confused.”

“I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing.

“I’m having a bad day, I’m having an anxious day. I feel very paranoid, I feel very stressed.”

“I just feel really lonely.”

Whilst everyone has their own life experiences, I think Adele’s words are relatable.  I would hazard a guess that many parents have felt similarly whilst trying their best to keep their head above water.


Self-care can be difficult when you are a parent as you will time poor and/or stretched financially.  You may also feel like everyone else’s needs are greater than yours and you are selfish for focussing on yourself.  Investing in yourself however benefits not only you, but others around you.

Here are 5 easy and accessible ways to engage in self-care which are quick and mostly free.

1. Journaling

When you are feeling overwhelmed by emotion, writing can really help.  It doesn’t have to be war and peace but just writing a few sentences about how you feel can help.  It can be incredibly freeing to get feelings out of your head and onto paper.

2. Breathe

Have you ever heard of square or box breathing?  It calms your nervous system and reduces stress.  You breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds.  And repeat.  It is simple yet effective.

3. Create something to look forward to

This does not have to be anything too grand; it could be something as simple as planning a date night with your partner.

4. Make an effort

Even though you might be feeling tired, putting effort into your appearance can make a huge difference to how you feel.  Choose jeans over joggers, put a bit of make up on, style your hair, spray yourself with your favourite fragrance; it really can help.

.5. Get outdoors

We all know that fresh air is good for the soul.  Even just a few minutes of being outdoors, noticing nature and focusing on your breath can help hugely.

If you are interested in finding out more about how professional counselling can help, please reach out via the “contact me” section on my website.