Last week, we started the new project Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss when every blogger introduced him or herself. If this is your first visit here, check each blogger on Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (1): Introduction.
Parenting brings a lot of joy, but it also comes with many challenges. In the personal development world, we say that if you know what your problem is, you are half way to the solution. To get half way to the solution, I have asked each top parenting blogger for their list of the 5 biggest challenges parents face today.
Here is what they thought (some of the emphasis is mine).
What are the 5 biggest challenges parents face today?
Susan Heim – Susan Heim on Parenting
Finding balance. I often feel torn between my professional and parenting responsibilities. When I’m focusing on one, I feel like I’m neglecting the other! This is a common dilemma for today’s parents, who often have packed schedules.
Resisting the urge to give our children everything. Guilt plays a big part in this. We want our children to have those things that we didn’t have, and we hate to see them unhappy when they don’t get what they want. It’s easier just to give things to them rather than help them learn how to get it for themselves.
Being afraid to say "no". We all want our kids to like us. But we need to learn that we don’t need to say "yes" to everything. Sometimes a "no" or a "maybe" is the better response to avoid the sense of entitlement that so many kids have today.
Struggling to teach good values. When their favorite stars abuse alcohol or they see children on sitcoms being disrespectful to their parents, kids begin to see these things as "normal" and "no big deal." Parents are constantly competing with what kids see in the media to teach values and morals.
Keeping our children healthy. Kids aren’t getting the exercise they need because there’s too much entertainment at home. When I was a kid, we were always outside playing ball or riding our bikes. Our rooms were boring! Today’s kids have TVs, video games, computers and more in their rooms. Why leave? Unfortunately, this is showing up in higher obesity rates and more social isolation.
Annie Fox, M.Ed. – From the desk of Annie Fox
Likewise, too many kids have packed afterschool schedules, which leave them with little time to simply BE with their parents and siblings preparing a meal together, doing household chores, enjoying each other’s company
Social digital media and the extreme pull it has on tweens and teens is a 21st century challenge to family life. Their addiction to texting and IMing, etc (yes, I’ll call it that!) distracts them from everything else. The over-use and abuse of social digital media has changed the way teens communicate. Replacing thoughtful reflection with bits of superficial talk spewed forth in knee-jerk responses. All of this has made it more difficult for parents and kids to simply sit down and talk with one another on a heart to heart level.
The economic situation has created a lot of pressure on parents to earn enough money to meet the rising costs of education. Then there is the added pressure parents feel in making sure their kids succeed in school so that they have a competitive edge when they graduate and move into the job market. Too much pressure isn’t healthy for parent-child relationships.
We live in a noisier, faster paced world than the one we grew up in. As a result of all this rushing around, many loving and well-meaning parents are moving THROUGH time rather than living IN it. So, I’d say it is a disconnected hurried lifestyle that is the biggest challenge for parents.
Maria Melo – Conversations with Moms
Quality Time with Children – with two income households, there is less time left to spend with children.
I can speak for myself when I say guilt. I always worry that I could have done something better for my child.
With information so easy to find, at the tip of our fingers (internet), it can be a blessing or a problem. Parents are a lot more educated than previous generations but sometimes it can lead to information overload with several differing points of views on the same topic. This leaves parents wondering which choice is the best.
Social Media – With Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and all those instant messaging, what will the next generations form of communication look like? I hope that we are not heading into a culture where two people prefer texting, or emailing over talking in person or on the phone.
Family Unit – With an increase in divorce rate, single parenting homes, same sex marriages etc. the family unit is being changed. It is now being redefined by the news, radio, internet etc.
Annie – PhD in Parenting
Lack of community support: Rather than the village raising the child, parenting has become something we do within the nuclear family. That puts an immense amount of pressure on parents and can resort to them trying to take on too much or not being able to give their children enough.
Competitive parenting: There is so much pressure to have the best sleeper, the earliest toilet trained, the smartest kid, the cutest kid, and so on. There is so much pressure to breastfeed, feed nutritious meals, stay active, and so on. I think this results in parents rushing to make bad parenting decisions and feeling guilt over not being able to do everything perfectly.
Lacking parental leave: In many countries, there is insufficient maternity, paternity and parental leave. There isn’t enough of it and it isn’t flexible enough.
Lacking child care options: Not enough spaces, not enough choice in environment, and not affordable enough.
Conflicting information: It is hard to be the best parent you can be when the experts all disagree with each other.
Ria Sharon – My Mommy Manual
Richard "RJ" Jaramillo – Single Dad
Keeping a Sense of humor in their daily life.
Keeping Emotional Balance and Sharing Emotions.
Effective Communication with their children.
Consistency with Parenting between Mother and Father.
Sue Scheff – Sue Scheff Blog
Peer Pressure – Learning about what your child is facing at school and with their peers.
Communication – Keeping the lines of communication open with your teens especially, can be difficult. Parents need to make time to talk to their teens.
Knowing your child’s friends – I believe that parents should get to know who their kids are hanging out with and if your child is visiting their homes, be sure to take the time to speak with the other parents.
Being a parent first – Many parents try to be their child’s friend, which is fine, however don’t let it overshadow your parenting responsibilities. Whether it is teen pregnancy or how to keep you teens safe online, I want parents to be able to visit my Blog and find just about ever topic they may need information on, not only from me, but from many others. I truly believe in parents helping parents and being able to give them all angles.
Ronit Baras – Family Matters
Poor health management. In a stressful lifestyle, many parents find it hard to manage their own emotional and physical health and as a result cannot manage their kids’. If you do not eat well, drink enough and sleep/rest well, you cannot think well and it is hard to promote wellbeing to your kids.
Financial challenges. In today’s tough economy, it is hard to manage personal finances and even harder to be responsible for others and support a family. If you do not learn to manage your money well (most people were away sick when they taught it at school), it will reflect on your parenting.
Overload of information. In a generation exposed to so much information about how to parent their kids, parents struggle with finding their own unique way of parenting. There is no one size fits all and so much (conflicting) advice out there, parenting today is a confusing business.
Living an unfulfilled life. Some parents get into the parenting adventure without thinking it through. The question "Why did you bring kids into the world?" sounds strange to many of my clients. Too often, their answer is, "People just do, don’t they?" Bringing a child into this world because everyone else does is a bad start, because it lacks the planning, the purpose and the preparation to succeed, enjoy the ride and be fulfilled.
Thanks again to Annie Fox, Maria, Annie, Ria, Richard, Sue and Susan for being part of this great series.
If you wish to know more about them or contact any of them, please visit their blogs, follow them on Twitter and/or become their fan on Facebook. Alternatively, you can send them a question or comment on the comment box below.
Next week is Good Friday (What? No post?! No, sorry), so join the Top Parenting Bloggers in two weeks for a discussion on the best qualities every parent should have and why. But come back on Monday for, um, an excellent post on something else (not telling, it’s a secret, but there’s a video of me doing something special).
This post is part of the series Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss:
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (1): Introduction
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (2): Parenting Challenges
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (3): Best Parent Qualities
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (4): Parenting Changes Life
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (5): Ideal Child
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (6): Education
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (7): What drives you nuts?
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (8): Discipline
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (9): Profound Parenting Moment
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (10): Parenting Tips
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (11): Government Policy Suggestions
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (12): Parenting Boys and Girls
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (13): Parenting Teens
- Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (14): How to Keep Your Kids Healthy