- Understand how stress and the brain are linked.
- Identify stressors and their possible causes.
- Develop strategies for keeping calm during parenting challenges.
Have a selection of poems available for sharing — either reading aloud or passing around. Ask the group if anyone has a favourite poem, or remembers one they learned at school.
As an example, write up the ‘When I hit my kids’ poem (below) on the whiteboard. It uses the ‘senses’ technique.
When I hit my kids it…
Looks red and sore
it sounds like yelling, screaming then whimpering and sobbing
it smells like rotting meat
it tastes bitter in my mouth
it feels like a paper cut and
intuitively I know I have bruised our relationship.
Writing a poem
Have the group create their own poem using the senses technique, and putting their feelings into words.
First use a ‘negative’ arousal state (such as stressed, tired, worried, angry or upset) to create a poem following the below structure:
When I’m [for example, ‘tired’]…
it looks…sounds…smells…tastes…feels like…
and intuitively I know…
Or use the topic above, ‘When I hit my kids…’
Repeat this exercise using ‘positive’ states (such as happy, joyful, content, excited, cheerful).
Ask for volunteers to share their poems with the group. The facilitator should write one too and share, as this may help encourage others. Discuss the choice of words used in association with each version.
Have suitable card, coloured pens and so on, to help create a final product to take home and display.
To practice not always focusing on the negative, play the ‘look for a positive’ word game:
- Brainstorm a list of all the negative emotions that the group associates with stressed parenting.
- Alongside the list, add the opposite, positive word.