Why Is Parenting So Difficult?


Stress from lack of help, support, isolation, time, parenting knowledge, mental or physical illness and a parent experiencing abuse as a child are only a few of the possible reasons parenting can be difficult.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | Septembr 30, 2015

Why is being a mother or father so hard? Parenting looks easy – cute, smiling kids – what could possibly go wrong? Parenting is not now or has ever been easy.

Stress is a major factor in any household and it comes from all sides. Financial stress is constant for basic necessities like housing, food, transportation, clothing and medical care. Keeping one’s head above water takes a toll. Unexpected costs like a class trip fee, a car repair or the loss of goods can push back the rent or paying a credit card payment. Those pressures are real and many families do not have any financial cushions. Keeping up appearances or keeping up with the Joneses can also cause pressure to buy things they do not want or need or cannot afford. Loss of employment can compound this stress.

Time is a finite resource. No matter how well parents manage their time – paying bills while talking on the phone, setting appointments while waiting in a checkout line or sending text reminders to kids to meet at a specific time and place – they cannot create more time. Running behind schedule or overcommitted responsibilities cause stress that takes a toll. Some parents are reluctant to ask for help or perhaps do not know who or where to ask. Not being able to say ‘no’ to more commitments can add more stress and resentment.

Isolation can be tough to deal with. When a parent new to an area has young children, getting out and meeting other parents can be difficult. Stepping up and starting conversation or initiating play dates takes courage. Other reasons for isolation could be cultural or gender differences; a stay-at-home father may find fitting in uncomfortable. Ethnic or religious differences could prevent parents from reaching out to others.

Lack of parenting knowledge, about what to do, say or how to discipline in a healthy manner, is a major problem for some parents. Parents who were abused themselves do not have an example to pattern their skills after. Many times, parents are embarrassed to admit they are unsure or need help for parenting.

Illness, physical or mental, can make parenting more difficult. Disabilities, depression or anxiety can severely impact healthy interactions with children and others. Depression or anxiety can prevent a parent from reaching out for help. The Parents Anonymous motto is: “Asking for help is a sign of strength.”

Past abuse as a child can cloud a parent’s thinking and distort how they view their own children. ‘They are pushing my buttons’ or ‘They did it to get on my nerves’ are examples of things a parent may use to rationalize their own abuse. If you or a parent you know was abused as a child, get help before abusing a child. Parents Anonymous can help turn everything around. (Resources below.)

Change in family structure through divorce or death can forever alter life as it was, forcing change. Defining a new pattern of activity can be unnerving for many. After a divorce or death, too often the support social network changes.

Domestic violence is damaging to everyone involved, victimizing an entire household. The focus becomes ‘keeping the abuser happy’ in hopes of avoiding the next outburst.

Drug and alcohol issues creep into families to rob them of money, health and harmony. Users often struggle and do not see or acknowledge the damage caused.

These are only a few stressors that make parenting so difficult. When a parent anywhere experiences any of these issues or others they can look in their local phone book for help or reach out to the resources below for referrals. All parents struggle in daily life but remembering that today is not forever can help.

Here are a few tips from the “I Am A Parents Anonymous Parent” booklet called “The Blue Book.”

• STOP in your tracks. Step back. Sit down. Take a time out for yourself.
• Take five deep breaths. Inhale and count to two, then exhale slowly counting to four. Repeat.
• Count to 10, 50 or 100! Say the alphabet or sing it out loud.
• Phone the local Parents Anonymous® Parent Helpline if one is available.
• Phone another parent from your Parents Anonymous® Group.
• If you are really angry, be sure to give your child some space.
• Look through a magazine, newspaper, photo album, etc.
• Try to tap into your sense of humor.
• Pick up a pencil and write down your thoughts and feelings or keep a journal.
• Remember times when you have been this angry and handled it well.
• Do something that relaxes you.
• Do some physical exercise.
• Close your eyes and visualize a place where everything is calm and perfect.
• Put on headphones and listen to music or a talk.
• Step outside your front door and sit on the steps for a few minutes.
• Dial a toll-free line and talk with someone.
• Do knee bends or leg lifts.
• Do yoga and think positive thoughts.

That little blue book literally saved my life and put me on the right path to better parenting.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Sonja Langford & Unsplash.

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

New Jersey 24-Hour Family Helpline: 1-800-THE-KIDS

Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc.
Phone: (609) 585-7666
Fax: (609) 585-7686
E-mail: PANJInfo@PAofNJ.org

Join the Online Support Group
Wednesdays 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST
Thursdays 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST
Sundays 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

PANJ Online Chat Room Tips

Facebook: Parent Rap Group

Parent Rap Facebook Page

Facebook: Father Time

Parents Anonymous® Inc.
Phone: (909) 621-6184
Fax: (909) 621-0614

National Parent Helpline
1-855-4A PARENT OR 1-855-427-2736
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered extensively for more than twenty years in children's and families' issues with Parents Anonymous. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and the Soup to Nuts blog and "Parent Rap - Soup to Nuts" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
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8 Responses to Why Is Parenting So Difficult?

  1. saymber says:

    Great tips on how to calm down – not just for parents but for any grown up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Thank you, you are so kind! Getting calm is hard and might be different for each person. What worked for me might not work for you. Thank you again; I hope this was helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jackie
    Practical, insightful and real encouragement to others.
    Thank You for such a fine offering.

    Lots of love

    john

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hadn’t heard from you in a while and wondered if you are alright.
    Very respectfully yours,
    John

    Like

    • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

      Hi John,

      It’s nice to see you. I guess you are doing well.

      Things here are okay and I am well. However, I tend to get depressed with news and ranting of WordPress so I re-evaluated my goals and made changes to fit those goals. Instead of reading blogs for 3 – 5 hours a day, I don’t go near WordPress until I complete all my work in support of parents and professionals. Since May, when my PC crashed, I have spent hours every day gathering new information for parents. When I got my new PC, I also got new programs to work with, one being Photoshop. I spend time every day learning new things that will help parents and support my organization and a fathers organization. Just this week, I was asked to support another entity with what I do.

      Depression is a terrible thing. As long as I listen/read news for about an hour a day then I’m good. It’s the constant repetition that damages my mood. I am doing what I tell parents – to limit news.

      I’m glad you are doing well. I guess you are still blogging. 🙂

      Take care,

      Jackie

      Like

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