Importance of work-life balance for your kids.

Let’s begin with a real-life experience -

Rucha, a 34-year-old senior manager (identification changed) at a multinational company, came to see us in a frustrated state. After explaining all of the processes and ensuring her confidentiality, the therapist asked her to share her concerns.

She mumbled, 'I suppose I am a useless human being. When probed further, she said that' her 7-year-old son is becoming tough to manage. He's becoming extremely arrogant and demanding. His aggressive behaviour is frequently brought up at school.

On the other hand, she is unable to spend time with her son because of her professional responsibilities. She experiences extreme stress even at work, which hinders her performance.

However, Her family was also expecting her to prioritise her son’s responsibility over professional commitments. She was conflicted between giving up her career and job and sending her son to boarding school. She felt as if she had failed miserably as a mother.

Suggestions from the therapist -

Hence, she was calmed down and given the task of listing all of her responsibilities and rearranging them in order of priority during her session. She was also asked to write down the reasons for sending the child to boarding school and whether or not doing so will help her manage his difficult behaviour.

Observation of the therapist-

It was observed by the mental health care service provider team that Rucha was stuck in the vicious cycle of working beyond her physical and emotional capacity. She was forced to do this to manage the workload. As a result, she started losing the sense of control accompanied by feelings of guilt and worthlessness.

After helping Rucha plan her week, She was made to understand that as human beings we all are hardwired to feel connected with others. So, when we lose this sense of connection, we suffer. We feel

  • lonely,
  • abandoned,
  • worthless and
  • empty.

The hostile and demanding behaviour shown by the child is often a cry for emotional connection.

Being able to handle your own emotions instead of lashing out at kids while dealing with such difficult behaviour plays a key role in calming down the child and reducing the difficult behaviour.

What was offered as a solution -

She was later introduced to the concept of love tanks. Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book, “ The five love languages' introduced the concept of love tanks. He wrote that every relationship has its own love tank. These love tanks are part of us that symbolises our emotional needs for love and connection. These tanks are drained due to

  • work stress,
  • small conflicts that haven’t received closure and
  • lack of affection.

Smaller things like

  • asking your partner and child about their day,
  • having one meal of the day together, or
  • including children in daily household chores like folding clothes, cleaning the furniture, and arranging washed utensils may help develop a sense of inclusion.

Eventually, these activities fill their love tanks. Along with that, leaving small notes with love and motivational quotes in the tiffin, or at the dining table may be one of the ways to fill your loved ones’ love tank. While you try hard to fill their love tank, don’t forget to fill your own as it will help you keep going with the boost of energy.

Working parents find it difficult to balance work responsibilities, personal time, and time for their children. Having an unhealthy work-life balance may impact children in various ways.

Research has shown increasing numbers of behavioural problems, insecurities and issues in emotional regulation in children and adolescents. It is taxing in terms of physical health as well.

However, having a good work-life balance can help with

  1. Improved mental health:
  2. Balancing work and parenting responsibilities can be stressful, and it can take a toll on parents' mental health. A proper work-life balance can help reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

  3. Better physical health:
  4. An unhealthy work-life balance can lead to physical health problems such as fatigue, insomnia, and other stress-related illnesses. A balanced lifestyle with time for exercise and relaxation can help prevent these health problems.

  5. Increased productivity:
  6. When parents have a good work-life balance, they are better able to focus on their work when they are at work and focus on their family when they are at home. This can lead to increased productivity in both areas.

  7. Stronger family relationships:
  8. When parents have a good work-life balance, they have more time to spend with their children and engage in activities that strengthen family relationships. This can lead to a happier and more fulfilling family life.

  9. Improved academic performance:
  10. Children of parents who have a good work-life balance tend to perform better academically. This is because parents are able to provide the necessary support and encouragement needed for their children's academic success.

  11. Role modelling for children:
  12. Children learn from their parents' behaviours and actions. When parents demonstrate a healthy work-life balance, it teaches their children the importance of balance in their own lives. After lockdown, as working from home has become a norm, determining when and how to prioritise responsibilities at home and at work has left many people, like Rucha, feeling overwhelmed. Micromanaging time and appropriate planning are required to ease the obstacles. Throughout this journey, it's important to remember that finding work-life balance is a process rather than a one-time accomplishment. With consistent efforts, one will be able to balance work and personal life more efficiently.

Image credits: Freepik

Hemashree Alase
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