Parenting Issues

What issues do new parents face?

Adding a baby to the family is one of the biggest life events, and it affects both parents profoundly. Mothers and fathers alike have to deal with the immense responsibility of caring for a new human being, and this can create both excitement and anxiety. Some other issues that new parents go through include the following:

  • Mothers who have recently given birth experience pain from C-sections or vaginal ripping/episiotomies
  • Breastfeeding mothers have high nutritional needs, and those who want to breastfeed but are having trouble doing so might face additional anxiety
  • Mothers who have given birth are at risk of post-partum depression; those who have adopted may experience post-adoption depression
  • Mothers and fathers are exhausted from lack of sleep
  • Some cultures place higher value on baby boys than they do on baby girls, and this can have far-reaching ramifications on how the child is parented


What happens when a child gets a new sibling?

Many couples decide that at some point they would like to add to their family. Whether they want their children to be close in age or are aiming for a gap of several years, they have a vision of what their family will look like once another baby arrives.

Very often, the vision does not match up to the reality, and this can create feelings of anxiety, disappointment or resentment. Even in families where things happen as intended, there are some issues that tend to arise with the addition of a second and subsequent children. Examples include the following:

  • The older child goes from being an only child to a sibling. This can be difficult even for the best-prepared children.
  • The older child may appear to regress in terms of behaviour or development. This can place added strain on parents who are already caring for a newborn baby.
  • Parents who expect their second child’s development to mirror that of the first child may be surprised and confused when differences emerge.


How does parenting affect the relationship between the parents?

Depending on what stage of parenting you are at, your relationship with your partner can be affected in different ways. Becoming a parent for the first time brings many changes. You have less time for each other as your priorities shift to caring for a newborn. The relationship may be strained due to parental exhaustion and the challenges of rekindling or maintaining sexual intimacy after birth.

As the child gets older, the relationship challenges may evolve. Your child may be closer to one parent than the other, or you and your partner may find yourselves disagreeing about things like discipline, schooling and religious education for your child.


How does parenting evolve as the children get older?

There are few things in life that change as often as the needs of a child. Some examples of how parenting evolves include the following:

  • Parents of new babies are focused mostly on keeping their child alive. Activities revolve around feeding, diapering and sleeping.
  • Parents of toddlers have to work on setting behavioural boundaries to keep their child safe and to teach them how to navigate a social world.
  • School-aged children need guidance when it comes to navigating friendships and managing their behaviour at school.
  • During the infamous teenage rebellion, parents have to strike a balance between their child’s need for independence, and for guidance. This can be a tumultuous time for the relationship between the teen and his or her parents and siblings, and for the parents’ relationship with each other.

It is important to note that no two children are alike, and there is no singular “right” way to parent. How you raise your child depends not only on the child’s age, but on his or her character, the presence of any special needs, and your family’s value systems.

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