Common Parenting Issues and How To Deal with Them
Being a parent means facing a host of common parenting issues. Children have their own exclusive personalities, challenges, and behaviors; therefore, there isn’t a single rulebook for dealing with challenging parenting issues. Let this information guide you with general knowledge that you can tailor to your own children and the difficulties and concerns they present to you along your parenting journey.
List of Common Parenting Issues
Kids have a way of presenting their parents with a lot of challenges. An exhaustive list that covers all problems is impossible to compile, but there are several parenting issues that are common to many families. Some common issues that span age groups include:
- Tantrums or meltdowns
- Hitting, biting, hair pulling, etc.("How to Discipline a Child for Hitting Others")
- Facing fears that affect a child’s daily (or nightly) life
- School refusal
- Time spent gaming, on a tablet or smartphone, in front of the TV ("Top 5 Parenting Skills You Will Need in the Digital Age")
- Behavior problems (acting out, refusing to listen, defiance, stealing, etc.)
- Anger at not getting their way (“I hate you!”)
- Substance use
The list can be daunting, and it’s just a sampling of common problems. Be encouraged, for there are ways to deal with these and all other issues.
Two Guiding Principles Help You Deal with Parenting Issues
Two important tips can guide the way parents deal with any parenting issue:
- When interacting with your upset child of any age, respond rather than react.
- Remember that addressing problems is about shaping your child rather than punishing to stop a behavior in a moment.
In the face of frustration and emotional upset, kids react. Emotions take over and determine what they say and do—and how loudly and obtrusively they do it. Contrary to how it may seem, they’re not being a bad child (their behavior is undesirable, but the kids themselves aren’t bad). Kids react emotionally in a situation that they don’t like because they haven’t learned how to self-regulate. They haven’t learned how to respond.
Adults do have the capacity to respond. A reaction is a knee-jerk action or speech that comes from strong emotions. A response, in contrast, comes from rational thinking.
Even if you’ve been reacting to negative parenting situations by becoming quickly angry, yelling, threatening, or punishing, you can learn to respond to your kids and reduce parenting issues. Parenting without yelling encourages kids to listen to you and helps show them how to respond rather than react.
It’s also helpful to remember the other important principle: think beyond punishing. In handling problems, a parent is more successful and creates long-term harmony not by punishing but by shaping behavior and helping kids react rather than respond. Punishing teaches kids that it’s undesirable to be caught doing something wrong. Instead, think in terms of parenting discipline. To discipline is to teach, which involves shaping and using natural consequences. These teach right from wrong and good choice-making.
Responding and shaping through discipline helps your kids’ healthy development. It’s a process that occurs from birth until they leave the nest and even beyond that. You can also respond in the immediate moment, during an issue, to help stop it now while you still parent your kids for the big picture.
Ways to Deal with Common Parenting Issues
While this may seem surprising, there are general principles to help you through most challenges your child of any age presents. To be sure, you wouldn’t handle a toddler’s tantrum the same way as a teenager’s coming home drunk; however, the underlying approaches and attitudes are the same.
Practice applying these principles when dealing with parenting issues to raise your children to have the character and behavior you want them to have:
- Make sure your rules are clear and simple.
- Be consistent in rules and consequences; inconsistency is confusing to kids, so they behave erratically.
- When your child is upset or has done something wrong, remain calm. Breathing deeply and slowly helps.
- Be objective, keeping your focus on the single issue at hand.
- Don’t ignore behavior you don’t want. Ignoring a tantrum or the teen who sneaked in drunk tells them that you’ll look the other way and allow the behavior. Be gently present, give them a safe, quiet place to reset, and then have a talk with them (adjust the length and complexity according to age).
- Help kids find and use words rather than acting on emotions with negative behaviors.
- Listen and support your kids and the problems they’re facing. Do you have a little one who’s afraid of monsters? Problem-solve with him and work with him as he develops a plan.
Using these approaches leads to parenting without power struggles. You will face many parenting issues. Your attitude and demeanor will help them go in your favor and keep them to a minimum.
Peterson, T. (2019, July 6). Common Parenting Issues and How To Deal with Them, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parenting-skills-strategies/common-parenting-issues-and-how-to-deal-with-them