Parenting is one of the most rewarding things in life, but it can also be one of the most difficult. It is one of the major life events that come with little to no formal training or education. People are typically expected to simply follow their parental instincts and figure things out along the way. Certainly, most people will be offered advice and guidance from family and friends, but there are no prerequisite courses for becoming a parent. This can lead to feelings of uncertainty and doubt, but these are feelings shared by most parents at some point.
Bad habits are a common problem that faces both children and adults alike. Finding ways to correct these problem behaviors at a young age can go a long way towards preventing bad habits into adulthood. Some of the more common habits in young children include thumb sucking, grinding teeth and head banging. Stress and anxiety are common causes of these types of behavior, so it is important to try and teach your child how to cope with stress and also to alleviate some of their anxiety with moderate changes. Teach your child to take a deep breath when the urge hits to engage in one of these behaviors or show them the physical damage being caused from their behavior in relation to a healthy part of their body that isn’t being mistreated.
Catching your child “playing doctor” with a friend can be an upsetting and confusing situation to try and deal with. The most common reason for parents to overreact to this situation is because they are viewing the behavior through adult eyes. Kids and adults have very different reasons for exploring their bodies and the bodies of their friends. It is natural for kids to be curious and want to know about things that make them different from other kids. Rather than make a scene or do something that would embarrass the children, calmly explain that playing while unclothed is not appropriate. Take the opportunity to teach them that their bathing suit areas should not be shown, unless to a trusted adult, caregiver or medical professional.
Deciding whether or not your child is ready for a cell phone is an issue that is relatively new to the parenting world. This is one of those areas where you generally can’t look back to your own childhood to see how it used to be handled. Cell phones are a huge part of society and children are no exception. Having a cell phone helps children feel more independent and acts as a status symbol amongst their friends. It can also provide parents with the peace of mind of knowing that they can reach their kids at all times. They can also make them more vulnerable to predators though, so it is important that you educate your kids and teach them about what to watch for. Make sure they understand that they shouldn’t answer calls or texts from unrecognized phone numbers and they should not give out their number to strangers. Set ground rules for airtime usage and text messaging and hold them accountable for staying within the predefined parameters that have been agreed upon. Allowing them to have a cell phone and monitoring their usage can teach them valuable lessons about responsibility and economics.
As unique and different as the issues you face as a parent may seem, try to remember that there are countless other parents out there that have gone, or are going, through the same types of challenges as you. Don’t be hesitant to reach out to loved ones, support groups and pediatric experts for guidance and support in your quest to be the best parent imaginable. No one is expected to have all the answers, but as long as you are not afraid to seek out guidance from people that have already been through the experience of parenting, your experience will likely be much more pleasurable.