HANCOCK (CBSLA.com) — Parental stress can be toxic to a child’s health, according to a well-known author and family coach.

David Code advised parents to cut the stress out of their lives because kids are like sponges and absorb everything.

“Most parents are focused on toxins in food or toxins in pollutants in the air. They think that’s the biggest risk to their children. The biggest toxin by far that our children face is stress,” he said.

In Code’s book, Kids Pick Up On Everything: How Parental Stress Is Toxic To Kids, he said moms and dads need to focus on their own well-being in order to create a healthy environment for a child.

“Today’s parents spend so little time socializing and so much time running logistics, doing tasks and taking on responsibilities at work, that they don’t realize what they’ve lost,” he said.

Code said it doesn’t matter how much time a parent spends with their child if they’re giving off the wrong “vibe.”

“I think the greatest gift we can give our children are relationships. Good relationships that keep us calm and keep us stress-free and making sure that has a ripple effect down to the child’s health,” he said.

Mother Jennifer DeVore of Hancock said she’s familiar with living in a high-pressure environment.

“Just trying to keep all the balls in the air. My husband travels a lot. He works a lot. I’m really, sort of, the main parent,” she said.

DeVore said the way she responds to tension seems to rub off on her children.

“If I’m stressed out, my kids are going to be stressed out. If I’m happy and relaxed and sociable and get a chance to see my friends…exercise and do things for myself and my husband…then my kids will be happier,” she said.

To help build a stress-free family, Code offered this advice:

  • Exercise

“If you exercise with your spouse, you have the no-brainer stress buster of exercise, but you’re also socializing. You have a marriage for 45 minutes a day built into your schedule,” said Code.

  • Build Community

“Anything you can do to build community is a great thing,” he said.

  • Spend Time with Extended Family
  • Sex

“I think most people would acknowledge that after sex they tend to be more relaxed with their partner. More relaxed themselves,” said Code.

  • Socialize

“When you come home from work, don’t play blocks with your child. Call up your best friend, have them over for a glass of wine, they can bring over their kids. Those two kids play blocks while you have an adult conversation and laughs. The kids see a great example of adults socializing that they can grow up to emulate,” he said.


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