Parenting is arguably one of the hardest jobs there is. From all-nighters when they are newborns to wishing for more time on high school graduation day, parenting is a roller coaster that is full of joys and challenges. The challenges may create a feeling of isolation, but you are not alone. Below are some of the most common parenting challenges and how to overcome them.
Technology is real and among the most modern parenting challenges. While many adults live their lives from their devices, children need clear boundaries in terms of technology use as they are growing up.
There are a few ways to approach the issue if your child is spending too much time on home or personal devices. First, try to model the behavior you want them to emulate. That means that you may want to put your devices down when you get home and try to use them as little as possible.
Second, try alternative activities with your child. Instead of letting them play on your phone, plan an outdoor activity, play a board game, or make and eat a meal together (dessert included!).
Lastly, you can also set designated times for technology with limitations as to illustrate and model balance to your children.
Eating right and nutrition are important for your child’s physical and emotional development. Setting your child up with good eating habits during their developmental years will benefit them throughout their life.
One way of eliminating the desire for junk food or foods with low nutritional value is to keep them out of your home.
Secondly, meal preparation is a great way to talk about foods and what their health benefits are. Instead of coming across like a lecture, you are including your child in an activity that they can make a ritual for their entire life.
3. Issues with Confidence
Some kids are shyer and engage less than others. This is completely normal as not everyone is not destined to be the star of the school play! However, if you notice your child not engaging with their peers or hanging on to you when you need to drop them off, they may have issues with confidence. This can be associated with shame so it’s very important to tread lightly as you address this parenting challenge.
A good way to get your child to feel more confident is to get them involved in an activity they ask about. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they show a desire to do it. Once your child finds confidence in one thing, it spills over into the rest of their activities. For some children, confidence may be built slowly and that is okay as long as you are monitoring their progress.
4. Sibling Rivalries
Some parenting challenges are as old as time. For those with multiple children, this may be a serious problem. Some bickering back and forth is normal but when it gets out of hand parental intervention is necessary. The best way to get through to your children is to separate them once they have a fight with no distractions.
Once they have each cooled down, talk with them separately without any judgment as to who was right or wrong.
Once you bring them together, teach problem-solving skills so that they can eventually do this on their own. For example, teach them that “I feel” statements are more effective than “You did it!” This is a great lesson for teaching them how to effectively share their feelings which will pay off throughout the rest of their lives.
Children will tell white lies here and there and it can sometimes become a challenge if it continues. Children will likely not know you know they are lying so it will come as a surprise at first when you address it. There can be a lot of shame that comes with lying so approaching this carefully will help.
A brief discussion of the negative impacts of lying, why it’s harmful to a relationship in terms of trust, and hearing their perspective on the lie is helpful to ensure that your child is comfortable coming to you about anything even when they have made a mistake.
If you have experienced any of the challenges above and wish you had someone you could confide in, contacting a mental health professional is a great option. Caree Brown is an experienced family therapist who has done individual, couples, and family therapy. She has experience with patients who have issues with low self-esteem, relationship problems, parenting, co-parenting, and anger management. Even if you are not looking for long term therapy, Dr. Brown is a great resource for any of your parenting needs.