Brain Story – Overload

For this part of ‘Sharing the Science’, imagine trucks delivering lots of cargo to parents and caregivers, resulting in an overload of burden and stress.

When a truck carries too much weight, it can be overloaded to the point of breaking down.

When parents are burdened with stresses like poverty or lack of support, the weight of these problems can overload their mental and emotional capacity to take care of their children’s needs.

destressing tips - shaken baby syndrome prevention

Reducing stresses for parents and caregivers is crucial

Some overloaded parents may be reluctant to ask for help for fear of their child being removed from their care. So, it’s important for professionals to recognize the load that parents and caregivers might be carrying, direct them to appropriate support services and consider how to reduce unnecessary weight and strain by:

  • Taking time to understand a parent or caregiver’s position and providing support.
  • Encouraging parents and caregivers to seek out support from the community and family members or guide them to support directly. These community resources can be effective in buffering children’s toxic stress response (Franke, 2014).
  • Providing direct support to parents and caregivers as soon as problems are identified.

destressing tips - shaken baby syndrome prevention

Just as we can lighten an overloaded truck’s load by bringing in other trucks or moving some things by train, we can lighten parents’ and caregivers’ mental stresses through a range of support services.

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