The Challenges of Parenting
As a husband of 12 years and a father of two children there are many challenges that I was not prepared for. Our son is now 10 years old and daughter is 8 and our biggest challenges are our daughter’s sassiness and son’s sneakiness around technology. We had some other issues along the way, including frequent tantrums, child care issues and sibling rivalry. But, the issues my wife and I are really dealing with now as they get older are more around limitations.
There are dozens of relationship and parenting books out there, but no one actually knows what to expect and how they are going to react in specific situations when it comes to family conflict. I was reading an article on how parents need to agree on how to raise their children before deciding to create a family. The article goes on to say that having these agreements minimizes arguments especially in front of the children. This is a good idea in theory, but is it realistic?
I know that my wife and I would agree that it is not healthy to argue in front of the kids, but it happens. Something we don’t see eye to eye on certain issues and we are both triggered. Our emotions get riled up and we both react in a way that is unhealthy. I am sure this is common in relationships because I hear similar scenarios in my practice and when speaking to parents.
When I speak to other men, we often share our experiences as husbands and dads and we can relate to one another. What we do not share is the same exact experiences or the same reactions. We do our best to support each other and come to a resolution around our particular issues.
There are many conflictual situations my wife and I were not expecting during the planning stage of having a family. Our son is very much into internet video game and some social media sites. My daughter talks back in a fresh and sassy manner manner when she doesn’t get her way. Even though we both recognize there should be limitations and consequences set, as parents we do not fully agree on what they look like. We both appear to stand firm in what we believe is right and we both love our children dearly. There are many conflict resolution techniques but sometimes all rational thinking goes out the window when in the conflict. I should mention that my wife and I are both therapist and have much experience working with families and children. We suffer from the human condition of not knowing everything.
So with all the advice out there, there is no easy solution or recipe on how to raise your child. There are just good models to reference if we want to correct ourselves when we screw up, and we most definitely will. I hold the position that parenting is a learning process of growth and maturity. It is important to reach out for guidance from those you respect and look up to.
One thing I know for sure is that communication is key. It is important to keep an eye on the shared vision and work on an agreement when the challenges come.
Please contact me at Sheric73@yahoo.com or 516-849- 2152
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Ian Sherman, LCSW-R