As parents, we strive to provide the best for our children, ensuring their growth and development. But in this pursuit, we often neglect the importance of our own well-being.
Is it possible to help our kids grow and thrive while maintaining our own well-being?
In the latest episode of the 52Q Podcast, hosts Steff and Micah spoke with Australia’s foremost parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson to get his tips and advice.
Dr Justin Coulson holds a PhD in psychology and is the parenting expert and cohost of Channel 9’s Parental Guidance. He and his wife host Australia’s number one podcast for parents and families, the Happy Families podcast.
“Research shows pretty clearly that if we can be doing well, our children are far more likely to do well” Dr Coulson said.
“If we are not doing well, our children are likely to suffer the same fate.”
Dr. Coulson emphasises that parents have a responsibility to take care of their own wellbeing. By modeling and prioritizing their own wellbeing, parents impart valuable lessons to their children—the importance of self-care and the belief that life is meant to be well-lived.
Balancing Self-Care and Parenting Responsibilities
Maintaining our well-being as parents while raising children can be a daunting task. Dr. Coulson breaks down three key areas where we can prioritise self-care and find a balance:
Dr. Coulson highlights the significance of adequate sleep as a foundation for our overall well-being. It is crucial to prioritize getting enough sleep as a parent, despite the challenges that may arise due to various factors such as sleep conditions or raising young children.
“You cannot be the best person that you can be, and you certainly can’t be close to the best parent you can be if you’re sleep deprived.”
- Recreation Time
The concept of recreation is often overlooked, nonchalantly replaced by mindless scrolling or indulging in activities that offer little restoration. Dr. Coulson encourages parents to utilise short pockets of time for meaningful recreation, allowing for essential rejuvenation.
The quality of our relationships significantly contributes to our well-being. Dr. Coulson refers to a Harvard University study spanning decades, stating that the primary predictor of well-being and happiness is the quality of our relationships.
“If you want to look after your thriving, build your relationships. Invest in your relationships, reconcile broken relationships, and especially work on a relationship with your children.”
How to Help Your Children Thrive
Dr Coulson defined a thriving child as one who has physical energy and vitality, social capacity such as social skills and navigating conflicts and psychological wellbeing which refers to a child’s ability to cope with setbacks and challenges.
Dr. Coulson discussed practical strategies that parents can use to help foster their child’s growth and development including the importance of modelling the right behaviour for our children. He also encouraged supporting their psychological needs (relatedness, competence and autonomy) and embracing imperfection and working on silencing the inner critic, for ourselves and our children.
“When we create an environment that is supportive of those needs… we are much more likely to have a growth mindset and move further and further in the direction of expanding our potential, rather than achieving our potential.”
For more resources and advice on how to thrive as a family, check out Dr Justin Coulson’s website, Happy Families.
Listen to the full episode by checking out the 52Q podcast below.