Blog 99. Parenting: Can Parenting Be Taught?
It may not be taught – but it certainly can be helped.
Today there are many parenting books that provide great tips and advice. There are also many blogs that offer excellent counselling and encouragement too. And some blogs even offer support groups. However, most mothers do somehow understand their children’s needs. This is instinctive. Often this bond starts way back in the womb and mothers have reported a kind of psychic understanding of their child’s needs as a result. But what is often lacking – is hands on help.
Unfortunately, these days many parents don’t have extended families to help when an exhausted parent may need a break, or some trusted advice. As a result, mothers (and sometimes fathers) have to find a way to cope on their own, and the pressure to do so can be immense.
In blog 91, I addressed the reality that sometimes mothers can even regret having children. So I won’t repeat the information here and I won’t repeat just how stressful being a parent can be.
What I do however want to point out, is that even though some mothers may appear to look calm and fabulous with their designer dressed babies in their prams and so on – they may not be. Behind the scenes they may be stressed, exhausted and battling to cope with little access to support.
Sometimes a partner may not be as supportive as one hoped they would be.
Sometimes a baby or a small toddler, can push a parent to extremes that any human being would find hard to bear. This can be relentless – causing anxiety, stress and even depression, if a parent finds themselves isolated by the experience.
However, if you can afford it, then obviously employing a nanny is a great help. You may gasp at this bit of advice but there are some who seriously haven’t thought of this route – as they think by asking for help they may appear helpless or useless.
But whatever you can manage please don’t do it all on your own. Parenting is hard work and sometimes even a parent needs time out.
And you may also want to think of attending a parenting class.
Parents certainly need to be more honest and open with regards their needs. And if a support group is available it may be worth attending, if possible.
Often parents feel that by doing so, they are immediately acknowledging failure and defeat. This is certainly not the case. Parents, especially new ones, need support. And if a parent’s family is not available to help, then I suggest that you sign up – because if nothing else you may make a few new friends.
And by attending parenting classes, who knows – you may actually be helping other parents too.
Unfortunately, some classes can carry a stigma especially if the classes are advertised for “troubled families”. And some people may think that the groups are only for the less well off. This can put a lot of people off going, when most parents just require company and adult conversation.
If this is your experience, why not ask around or start one yourself? Put up a notice at your local gym, a yoga centre or at a few local nursery schools. Ask your local church. Perhaps they can assist with a venue and so on.
But please do not sit this one out on your own. Asking for help as a parent is a natural thing to do. It’s just a pity that so many parents now find themselves parenting in such isolation.
But here’s another thought: Some old age homes are filled with many ‘experienced’ parents who would love to be surrounded by children. If you could arrange that either you or a group of parents were to visit, I am sure everyone would benefit.
So remember asking for help and needing a bit of hands on help can be crucial to any parent’s state of well-being. And there ARE people out there willing to help. You just need to be proactive and find them.
Because yes, “it does take a village to bring up a child”.
© 2018 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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