The Struggles We Face When Parenting

Jasmine Williams

I interviewed parenting figures and took note of what they have to say regarding parenting.

During these interviews, I asked them how they expected to deal with these challenges or coped with. The following approaches were discussed by them: The"Partner-Centric" model - One mother, when asked what tools she finds useful in managing challenges, said,"whatever [my husband] will get into." Further discussion revealed that the resource's quality was secondary to whether it would be used by the parents .

Marriage Expectations - Among our childless couples, one major challenge was adjusting to new roles within the union ; however, this issue also impacted at least one of our families with children.

The "Direction" model - One dad (who owns his own business), when asked what resources he finds helpful in dealing with his son, indicated that while parenting books were all well and good, he found more benefit in business and leadership books than parenting books per se. He specifically mentioned Good to Great, by Jim Collins, as well as resources by Bill Hybels and John MacArthur.

The"Relationship" version - Parents often considered their relationship with their child as a resource for coping with (or at least mitigating) major challenges. The openness they have with their children was mentioned by some parents, while others talked. This strategy seemed more relevant to families with older kids (10+) who acknowledged the lack of control they had over the minutiae of the children's lives.

Dealing with Major Challenges Work - Several of the households in our study were dealing with significant challenges in their careers. One of our dads had to travel a lot, and was in a declining sector; he was looking for a job, but didn't want to endanger his family's standard of living. About going back to work, two of our married mothers was deliberating, and among our single moms tried to start her own company. Than they were now in, A number of our couples dealt to go into a different industry. At least one of the young husbands from the analysis tried to get a better handle on.

Planning for the Future - This challenge also appeared to come up more frequently with childless couples, who keenly felt their decisions in the next year or two would have long-term impact on their lives.

Co-parenting - The primary challenge of our single mothers with joint custody was how to overcome their ex-husbands' negative influence on their kids. In both cases they felt like their priorities were not shared, and being jeopardized by the laissez faire design of the other parent. Personality Factors - Many parents mentioned challenges directly related to internal characteristics of one or more of their children. They mentioned things like being hypersensitive, being defiant, being too easily influenced, or being cluttered. These were issues that the parent felt could not be altered, and these were the most difficult for them to recognize a coping strategy.

This opinion was bolstered by two of our single mothers, who indicated her biggest challenges are a direct result of her ex-husband (who shares custody) establishing and enforcing different household rules and norms. Maturation - Many parents indicated that one of their major challenges would be coping with their children growing up. This was most often discussed in the context of older children (14+), also included ideas like driving, relationship, entering a new school, less parental oversight, etc..

The"Deer in the Headlights" version - While all parents could easily articulate a lot of challenges facing their families in the next year or so, for many of these challenges they couldn't articulate any specific coping strategy. It's unclear whether this lack is because of an entry that the challenge is beyond their control, or whether they simply have not taken the time. Some had issues while keeping track of where their children are at and when they get home. A simple doorbell camera helps but not always is a solution. When the challenge had to do with internal qualities of their children rather than situational factors, this strategy was often seen. They indicated they had to learn how to"pick battles" or"relax." It was clear that the parents saw confronting these challenges as a matter of development and their personal growth, rather than attempting to change their child or their circumstances.

Time - As with the regular challenges, using a hectic schedule was also discussed as a significant challenge for some families. Also linked to time was the parents' issue not having enough time to themselves--either because of work schedules or their kids.

Health - almost all of our households did not see health and health as a major challenge; however, among the children in our study had an incurable disease that reduced her life expectancy to 35. This was a significant challenge to her parents, of course, and one they saw only as their daughter grew into woman-hood.