No one really warns you about the intense anxiety most parents face while raising their kids.
Making the right choices on our children’s behalf, setting a good example and trying to balance encouraging independence with providing adequate protection – the decisions never end and they all have consequences.
So what are some of the main challenges parents face when bringing up kids?
Are they happy and healthy?
This is huge. Things like diet and exercise, as well as screen time, social interaction and friendships can all present challenges – and require decisions.
Will they turn out to be good children?
These fears can arise when they are misbehaving or doing badly at school. Projecting way into the future, some parents worry that their kids won’t turn out well, study well or be successful, instead of focusing on what is happening today and understanding that kids go through stages – and some of them are very difficult.
Can we provide for them and make their life comfortable?
Decisions around activities and schools, holidays and gifts, as well as things like health care and housing security are all impacted by financial position. No one wants their kids to miss out but most people can’t afford to give their kids everything they want (after all, some kids want a full-sized Monster Truck for Christmas). Worrying about money – or lack thereof – is part of the juggling act of parenting.
Feeling guilty for yelling and losing your temper
A lot of parents beat themselves up for losing their temper, or for fighting in front of their kids. It’s not great to make a habit of it – and it’s certainly an indication that something is wrong – but parents are only human. Families are the place where, ideally, we can all let down our defences and fall apart. Sometimes that is ugly but it’s also normal.
How can I help with these challenges?
By helping parents understand that we can only do our best to make things better for them.
By making parents aware that a lot of the things they are worrying about are only temporary – that it’s just a phase and that their kids will grow up and change.
We have to fill our cup first before taking care of others and organise life so that we have time for everything.
This is how we can create happy families.