Saying that modern parents are stressed out is nothing new. What is new is the emphasis that David Arthur Code has in his book, Kids Pick Up On Everything. Code, who is a marriage and family coach as well as an ordained Episcopal minister, has lived in several countries around the world, which is how he came to see that socializing was a key element in the effort to reduce stress in parents. In writing his book, Code studied neuroscience in addition to collecting his own observations.
Here are three of his top points from the book as articulated by Code:
“1) Parental stress is a major factor in the increase of child disorders today. His research shows that kids soak up the stress in a household until their developing nervous systems hit ‘overload.’
2) Being stressed out is The New Normal for parents, and the main cause of our increased stress is NOT our jobs, or technology—it’s social isolation. Humans are social animals, with a primal need to bond. That’s why our increasing isolation has left us more anxious and irritable, eroding our relationships as we escape into our screens. Research shows we are far more isolated than only two decades ago.
3) Parents need to get a life! ‘If I could wave my magic wand and reduce the stress of today’s parents, I would give them a glass of wine, a friend, and a ‘piazza’–an Italian village square to go socialize in every evening.’ Sure, exercise buffers our stress, but socializing is #1.”
Another important idea Code discusses in his book comes from the fact that, while he observed families in South America, he learned that “it’s a myth that ‘the more attention you give your kids, the better they’ll turn out.’ Rather, the more time you socialize with other parents while your kids play together, the better they’ll turn out.”