Created By: Ben Luthi
Being a parent is incredibly rewarding. You learn a type of love you’ve never experienced before, and raising children offers a satisfaction you just can’t get with a great job or a care-free life.
Being a parent also induces gray hairs like nothing else, and some moments are more stressful than others. Here are five of the most stressful moments you’ll experience as a parent:
1. Driving home from the hospital with a newborn
When you have your first child, taking your newborn home from the hospital is an exciting experience, but once you load the car seat in the car and the nurse who escorted you outside turns to return to the hospital, reality sets in. While they taught you a few things like swaddling and changing a diaper, nothing in this life fully prepares you to be alone with this tiny human. Even if you don’t chase down the nurse, crying and begging her to come with you, you probably want to.
The good news is people have done this newborn thing for thousands of years, and each new parent goes through similar struggles. Learn to trust your instincts and try not to let the din of opinions and advice from other parents overwhelm you.
2. Your child’s first public performance
We all want our kids to succeed, whether it’s sports, learning a musical instrument or anything else your child learns to perform in front of others. Because of this, that first public performance can be more anxiety-inducing to you than to the child.
Fortunately, there are ways to cope with that anxiety, and no, they’re not all different forms of alcohol. Susan Newman, Ph.D., shares a few, including accepting your fear and allowing reason and facts to drive your response. And if your worst nightmare does come true, be ready to talk to your child about failure and how it’s an opportunity to learn and improve and isn’t a reflection on their value as your child.
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3. School’s number shows up on caller ID
Once your children are in school, it might feel like a load off, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent. But when you get a phone call from the school, your mind races with a number of worst-case scenarios. They’re hurt, they have lice, they got in a fight, they got in a fight on the bus with another kid who has lice.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to stay calm. In an article for Parents magazine, Kristen Kemp explains if your child is in trouble, you should get the full story — one side from the principal and the other from your child. If this is the first time, don’t be quick to discipline. Instead, try to use it as a learning opportunity.
4. When your child gets a smartphone
We live in the 21st century, so your children will probably start bugging you for a smartphone by age 5. Once you finally give in, they’ll be elated. You, however, will likely be terrified. Because while you’re giving your child an opportunity to communicate more easily with you and his or her friends, you’re also opening your child up to a world that can do them harm.
Talk to your children about the dangers of pornography. Additionally, help them understand that social media can open them up to cyberbullying and sexual predators. Author and school counselor Signe Whitson says you should learn as much as you can about strategies to help them stay safe, then establish rules for phone usage.
5. Kids on the road during a winter storm
Whether you’re the one behind the wheel or your kids are old enough to drive themselves, you pray for the roads to be clear during a winter storm. Because it’s not just you or your child on the road, it’s all the other (insert insult here) people too.
To increase your chance at peace, learn and teach your children about winter driving safety, like these tips from the American Automobile Association. And obviously, be careful about how you do that because we all know how much we loved it when our parents gave us driving advice from the passenger seat. You can also teach them to get in the habit of checking the weather and local road cameras. During a winter storm, it’s especially helpful for drivers to correctly anticipate when the roads will be clear.
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