Christine Kutzner M.Ed., RCC - Counselling Services

Parenting Matters Printable PDF version

Volume 21, March 2010

Hello and Happy Springtime! My family and I were so thrilled to take part in several Olympic events that I did not get around to writing a February newsletter. I hope those of you who attended events were excited and inspired by the Olympic athletes as we were.

The popular theme in my work recently has been Parenting Your Strong Willed Child. I presented to the Grand Boulevard Parent Participation Preschool and to a small parent group on this topic! An important concept to remember with your strong willed child, is to be clear on what it is you are asking your child to do and to follow through when they don’t. Remember to be consistent!

My colleague, Chasidy Karpuik, and I, are excited about our up and coming workshop for parents called: Calming the Storm: Managing Difficult Behaviours. There are still a few seats available for April 19, 2010. So if you or someone you know is interested, call or email me soon at, The cost will be $20/person. Parents will be getting the best ideas from our years of experience in working with children and families!

In this newsletter I am writing about Managing Stress. It applies to all of us parents and of course the teens that will be heading into exam time in the next few months.

Thinking of Stress in a Different Way

Stress in and out of the home can affect family relationships. We all need to deal effectively with stress to improve the quality of our lives. Some ways of dealing with your stress is by viewing things differently, accepting imperfections and learning ways to relax.

Every day events like rushing out in the morning for work or school can be stressful. But the event alone does not cause stress. Stress is directly linked to the meaning we give the situation. For example, “I should have done better on that exam” or “Why did I have to open my mouth and say that to my boss. I’m so stupid.” Assigning new meaning to these events will change your thoughts and help reduce the frustration that supports your feelings of stress. For example, “I studied hard for the exam and felt I really knew my stuff” and “I let my emotions take over in that discussion.” You may still feel annoyed or disappointed after telling yourself these ideas, but your anger and stress about it will dissipate. If we can recognize that we can choose how we see events, we will feel less stressful.

When a person uses words like “should”, “must”, “have to”, “always” and “never”, they are assigning a command or an absolute to their event or thought. This creates irrational thoughts or beliefs about the event. (“I have to be the best in Science”, “I must do everything I can for my kids”). Irrational thinking inhibits flexibility and creativity for problem solving. If you can change your language or your thinking from “I can’t” to “I can handle life’s challenges,” it will be more freeing for you. Remember, stress for all of us comes from:

  • Unreasonable demands
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Over concern with achievement

Relaxation helps overcome the negative effects of stress. It takes practice to learn how to be in a state of relaxation. Deep breathing is the simplest relaxation technique. You can do it in the car on the way to work, at school, or at bedtime. Breathe deeply into your abdomen so your stomach swells and hold your breathe for at least 5 seconds or longer and let the air out slowly. When you learn what it feels like to be deeply relaxed, you will be able to recreate this state when you need it.

Helpful Tips

  • Accept your own limitations and imperfections
  • Develop relaxation skills
  • Establish realistic goals
  • Create an atmosphere of belonging and acceptance
  • Believe you can meet the challenges of life
  • Make the assumption that you’re worth it, even when you haven’t been you’re best
  • Use a sense of humour and self acceptance
  • Change your irrational beliefs to more realistic ones

Christine Kutzner Counselling Services 604-339-5774

Christine Kutzner, M.Ed. is a Registered Clinical Counsellor providing services to children, parents and families in North and West Vancouver. To inquire, contact Christine.

Copyright Christine Kutzner, 2010. All rights reserved.

Christine provides counselling services to children, parents, and
families in Vancouver, North Vancouver, and West Vancouver.

Christine Kutzner


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