Parenting Challenges Ranked – 10 of the biggest obstacles and parenting challenges I’ve faced as a mother so far! Ranked in order of difficulty from Sibling Rivalry to Sickness!
After giving birth to my first child, I reflected on how difficult it was since I opted to go naturally without pain meds. Then after bringing the child home, I discovered how complicated it was to take care of an infant and how taxing it was to function on so few hours of sleep each night. But even with all that in mind, nothing can compare to my top 10 list of the biggest, most complex parenting challenges. I rank them here from tough to overwhelming –
Parenting Challenges Ranked
10 – SIBLING RIVALRY – Yes, I am thrilled that my children have one another to play with, and it is so rewarding to see them have a good time together and do sweet things for one another. But, there is nothing as maddening as listening to the meaningless fights that can happen between them. Maybe it’s good for them and helps them learn how to interact with others, but it would help me out a great deal if I could just hit the mute button and tune it out.
9 – WATCHING THEM STRUGGLE – I want my children to be good at something. I encourage them to always try their hardest, but I would love to see them have at least one skill that they excel at. But, what is painful to watch is when they put forth the greatest of efforts, and become frustrated because they just can’t do it. It is especially heartbreaking if it is something they love to do, but just are not good at it. Frustration can happen so easily, and I just want to fix it for them, but know I can’t.
8 – FOLLOWING THROUGH ON PUNISHMENTS – Yes, it’s those famous last words. “If you don’t pick up after yourself, I am going to throw away whatever I find on the floor.” It flies out of my mouth before I have a chance to ask myself if I am prepared to follow through with the punishment. Sometimes it makes it harder on me. And, saying no and sticking to it is tough. But going back on your word weakens your position and upper hand.
7 – FOOD ALLERGIES – My daughter has a million food allergies and was diagnosed with EE. Needless to say, it has been a chore managing the special diets in our house.
6 – MEDIA USE – Every day is a struggle to keep kids focused on getting a good balance in their day when it comes to media usage. If left alone, they’d be on cell phones, computers, tablets, TV’s… all day. We work diligently every day to create balance and keep them involved in other activities. It’s literally a daily struggle.
5 – TEEN YEARS – We lived it, we know it. Those years suck. I watch my kids go through it and it was like a light switch went off and they transitioned from kids to teens. So much changed and we have to find ways to understand, meanwhile guide and be sure to stand firm on many issues, even if they bring on resentment. It’ll pay off down the road in about 15 years, right?
4 – SAYING NO TO (SOME) EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – Growing up, we didn’t get much outside of the basic needs. We did some ballet and bowling here and there, but nothing crazy. Nowadays, there are SO many options for recreational interests. As parents, we love to provide our children with fun activities. They want to do it all and I can’t afford it all!
3 – HEALING HURT FEELINGS – It truly breaks my heart when someone says something mean, or excludes one of my children in any way.
2 – LETTING GO – Well, this one is heavy. It also takes place at all phases… whether it’s letting the 3-year OLD choose her outfit for the day (no matter how ridiculous), or letting the new HS Freshman picks his own electives, or that moment when you child moves out. I know we never truly “let go.” But, it’s the biggest challenge to step back and let them be their own person, especially when you disagree with the choice. I’m guilty of offering up advice and guidance, and wonder if I’m giving too much help. Does their growth come from making mistakes?
1. ILLNESS – The four scenarios specified above are not easy, but still are far “seconds” to how defeating it can be when a child becomes ill or has been found to have a medical condition. Any mom would gladly trade places with her child to not have him or her suffer. When you have a baby, you can’t prepare for how demanding (and sometimes scary) it can be when they are sick. And, wow, do they get sick a lot. After a discussion about this with my mom, I jokingly asked her, “What’s the warranty on these kids?” She replied, “It expired the day that they were born.”
Anything can happen, anything can be. But one thing’s for sure; no matter what hand I’m dealt, I wouldn’t trade these parenting challenges for the world.