Being a parent is truly one of the most difficult yet fulfilling jobs in the world. Your parenthood technically begins from the moment you know you are pregnant as you realize that soon a human being would be completely dependent on you for its survival. Even if you miscarry or abort, that brief connection you made with your unborn child will be with you forever, for better or for worse.
Parenthood warrants several changes to your lifestyle, and it is a journey you should take on with no stone left unturned. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common questions of parenthood. This includes how to deal with the emotions that follow the realization that you're a parent, the challenges that you could face as a parent, the changes you should make as a parent and some bonus tips for being a good parent.
You Suddenly Realize You Are A Parent
Biologically, you're a parent when you become pregnant. But this narrow definition is insufficient to explain the nuances of parenthood. We'd prefer to think of the title of "parent" as more of a sentimental term. One is a parent once they've effortlessly taken it upon themselves to put a child's needs above their own. If they love their child unconditionally, are ready to accept their flaws and strive to make them the best version of themselves, they can call themselves a parent. This definition of parenthood allows those who adopt children or marry into a family of children to be "parents" without subtext.
Like so, maybe you won't feel like a parent when you take your child under your wing or give birth to them. Instead, you might realize it during the small, unplanned moments like the surge of love when holding your child for the first time, or the feeling of fierce protectiveness if your child is hurt or when your child feels comfortable enough to call you mom or dad. Thus, parenting, for all its challenges and hardship, can be truly satisfying.
Challenges Of Being A Parent
Balancing Family And Career
For both mothers and fathers, it feels like there's no middle ground between family work. The economic situation of today makes us feel obligated to work as much as possible so you can earn a good income to support your family, but it might deprive you of your time with them. That is why it is important that you are somewhat economically stable before becoming a parent so your child doesn't feel deprived of love and comfort.
Being Afraid To Say 'NO'
Sometimes your love for your child or your fear of being disliked will prevent you from setting harsh but necessary boundaries. Although this might make your child momentarily happy, it is a recipe for disaster as it makes them spoiled and unaccustomed to rejection and hardships. Being a parent means that you have to risk being disliked so that you're able to raise your child properly.
Ensuring Your Child Receives A Stellar Education
The rising costs of education will prove challenging for new parents who want the best for their children but might not be able to afford it. Then there is the added pressure of making sure your child succeeds and acquires enough information to navigate the rest of their lives successfully. This academic pressure is a very common cause of strained parent-child relationships.
Helping Your Child Find Themselves
In the age of opportunities and information, parents and children will often struggle with finding their path. And often, your child's perspective will clash with your own. This might be difficult, but it is important that you let your child go through the motions. If you try to enforce your own vision of good and bad onto your child, they might feel attacked and lose their trust in you.
Tips For Being A Good Parent
- Modern society places heavy emphasis on hustling and productivity. There are always things to do, people to meet, places to be. Encouraging yourself and your child to slow down and occasionally live in the moment can be truly therapeutic. It is in these moments of vulnerability that you are truly able to get in touch with your emotions and "get real" with your child.
- Being a parent consists mostly of making changes and sacrifices. You will have to sacrifice your sleep, your time, your social life etc. You'll have to change your lifestyle, your concerns, and your responsibilities, and you have to be open-minded. This much change might cause you to become fatigued and resentful, and that's all right. You are not alone in this struggle, and there are countless parent communities that will support you through parenthood. Seeking these kinds of support groups will help resolve your issues and make the most of your parenting experience.
- Avoid comparing your child to other children, especially if they're siblings. Instead of giving them healthy competition, as desired, your child will only feel belittled. Instead of lowering their self-esteem, teach your child to set their own goals and overcome them.
- Always strive to create a loving and accepting environment at home. Make them feel loved and needed and not just a burden on you. Even the occasional hug and word of encouragement or compliment can go a long way. Doing this will remove any hesitation your child would have of seeking you whenever a problem arises. When a problem does arise, don't molly coddle them and solve it for them. As a parent, we offer them guidance but not the solution.
- When your child talks to you, give them your full, undivided attention. The biggest challenge that parents face is feeling estranged from their child, and this is not entirely the fault of the child. If you have a history of not giving enough attention, then your child loses the reason to seek your attention and guidance.
Parenting is a highly complex and nuanced experience. Nobody masters it or has a perfect formula to raise perfect children. Perfection is, after all, an illusion. But when you do realize that you're a parent, there is little that life can offer that surpasses that level of love and commitment. It isn't easy, but nothing that is easy is ever worth it.