The wait is finally over - your bundle of joy has arrived! And so have the sleepless nights. Congratulations on becoming a parent – one of the most beautiful yet challenging experiences in the world! Suddenly each day brings with it new joys, new struggles, new emotions and new challenges. The responsibility to take care of another life may seem overwhelming yet you wonder how you lived your life so far without this baby.
Emotionally accepting the new member into the family isn’t hard initially because babies come to us in cute innocent packages that open our hearts. Unfortunately, in the middle of the night we may wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into. Nevertheless, we adjust the marital system to make space for our children - juggling childrearing, financial and household tasks.
Soon as the baby grows, challenges also grow – child care, school, academics, sibling rivalry, play, discipline, marital issues, role of grandparents, stress and work life balance take centre stage.
The most important tasks that you and your spouse need to accomplish in this stage for the wellbeing of your family are:
- Adjusting your marital system to make space for your children.
- Emotionally accepting new members into the system
- Realigning your relationships with your extended family to include parenting and grand parenting roles.
- Nurturing the child in all areas –physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual
- Facilitating children to develop peer relationships
Like marriage, none of us grew up with a text book for becoming good parents. So we learn on the job, often feeling we’re not good enough. Apart from the emotional stress, we may long for privacy and time with our spouse. And suddenly balancing between our baby, spouse, work, extended family and time with ourselves seem daunting.
Questions/Struggles that you may experience as parents of young children
- I had a stressful pregnancy, is this why my baby is irritable?
- Why am I feeling depressed and not happy now that my child is born?
- I often feel that I’m not a good parent
- I miss my privacy and space
- Our sex life is never the same, I miss the old days!
- I’m struggling to balance work and household tasks
- We’re feeling guilty for putting our child in a day care centre
- We are fighting so much and I’m scared our child will get affected by it
- My in-laws are interfering by telling us how to bring up our kids
- How do I balance love and discipline?
- Our children’s grandparents pamper them too much!
- We have different styles in bringing up our child and we often fight about it
- We’re so confused about the right school for our child
- I’m an angry parent. How do I control my temper?
- How do I learn how to practically discipline my children?
- Life has changed so much after children have come in; it’s too tough to cope with so many roles!
- I feel our child is not getting enough physical and emotional security
- How do we manage our children who are constantly fighting with each other?
- What is my primary role – spouse, parent or individual?
- I’m so stressed, don’t know how to cope!
- I’m worried about my child’s health
- How do I spend quality time with my child?
- Is it necessary for one parent to be at home all the time?
- My child seems to be fighting with other kids in school
- My child hates going to school and throws a tantrum every morning
- How can I help my fearful child interact better in social settings?
- How do I deal with a hyperactive child?
- Ever since I quit my job, I feel I have lost my identity.
- We are so busy that we hardly get time to spend with each other as spouses
- My spouse has forgotten me after the birth of our child!
Karl Menninger quotes ‘Being a parent, whether father or mother, is the most difficult task humans have to perform. For people, unlike other animals, are not born knowing how to be parents – most of us struggle through.’
If you’re feeling stressed about your parenting role or find yourself unable to cope between the demands of your marriage, work and child – consider talking it over with a trained counsellor who will journey with you in helping you find time for yourself , thereby equipping you with ideas for coping with your struggles.
New Directions provides individual counselling services where you can come by yourself and discuss your struggles with a trained professional. We also provide couples counselling services where you can come together as a couple and discuss your struggles with the trained professional.