Asking for a Friend: Help! My dad is under a lot of pressure – how can I help him relieve his stress?

  • We respond to a question from our readers every week and give advice and resources they can turn to
  • If your father is feeling stressed, you can show your appreciation and help with household chores, but make sure you’re not internalising his stress as your own
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If your parents are worried because of their work, they might seem tired and impatient. Photo: Shutterstock

Need an answer to a personal question that you’ve never mustered the courage to ask? We’ve been there. Whether it is about school, family issues or social life, share your thoughts with us. If you have a question you’d like answered (about anything at all), please fill out this Google Form. Don’t worry – you will remain anonymous!

Dear Friend,

My dad is our family’s breadwinner, and he has been under a lot of pressure at work. I want to help him out, but I can’t help him do his work. What can I do for him to relieve his stress?

Thanks, How Can I Help

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Dear How Can I Help,

How much you care about your father is truly admirable – it demonstrates empathy and selflessness. While it might not be possible to help your father by doing his work, there are other ways to help him reduce his stress.

When people in your life are anxious about things that are out of your control, it can be tough to know how you can help. Photo: Shutterstock

Show your appreciation and gratitude

Stressed parents may often seem tired, impatient and frustrated, but these feelings can often be turned around with appreciative words and encouragement. When your father returns home, show your gratitude through kind words, a warm hug or a cup of tea.

Share the workload at home

Consider the household chores your father is usually responsible for, and ask him what you can do to help out at home. Whether he wants you to help with dinner or to focus on keeping your room clean, this is a good way to show him you care through your actions.

Everyone is so stressed about the pandemic. How can I help them?


Some people just need to discuss what has been on their minds, and a quality chat could help your father relieve his stress.

You can ask him about his work, while also sharing about your life. Having a better understanding of your father can deepen your relationship, too.

Just be careful that you don’t internalise his stress as your own. There are healthy ways to show you care, but if the work pressure is really getting to him, there is only so much you can do. If the stress is affecting your father’s well-being, he should consider chatting with a professional about his emotions.

Best of luck, Friend of a Friend

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