Wondering what the most Common Parenting Issues are?
I think you’ll agree with me that parenting is a tough job.
No matter how good our intentions, we will still make mistakes. The fact that those mistakes impact our kids is a hard pill to swallow.
The good news is that no matter what the problem or issue you are facing, someone has already faced it (and worse). Thus you don’t have to fight this battle alone. We can come together and share knowledge and together get better as parents.
All parents want to be successful.
There are many who consider themselves successful. And of those, many parents very differently from one another. And no matter who the parent, we’ve all likely faced many of the common parenting issues.
But surely there are some common traits we can all agree on, right?
So in this post, we’re going to dive deep into common parenting issues. More importantly, though, we explore solutions to those issues so you rest easier.
— Good Family Life (@gfamilylifeph) November 24, 2016
What makes a good parent?
The almighty Google suggests the phrase “Characteristics of Successful Parents”. In my quest, lots of stuff comes up. But in my case, I don’t really want another blogger’s opinion. After all, I’m a blogger and a parent, so I’m not short on opinion.
No, I want some facts to start us off.
The Department of Education does offer a few insights into being what they call an “effective parent”. Check out their page on Being an Effective Parent. Essentially they boil it down to:
- Showing Love
- Providing Support
- Setting Limits
- Being a Role Model
- Teaching Responsibility
- Providing a Range of Experiences
- Showing Respect
OK, so those are all good things we should agree on.
If you’re still unclear on what a successful parent is, we first need to identify the poor parenting examples. In that post, I look at all the most common parenting styles and break down the pros and cons of each.
So then what are the 11 Most Common Parenting Issues?
SOLUTION – We’ve all seen that kid in the store having a meltdown because Mommy won’t buy them a toy. I bet you’ve also seen times where Mom caved and bought them the toy so they would quiet down.
Kids need to learn the value of working for what they want. But it’s also vital that they not learn to whine and make a scene to get what they want.
Be firm, fair & consistent. If they meltdown in a store because you won’t buy something leave the store immediately, set a consequence and above all, don’t cave.
2. Pitting one parent against the other
SOLUTION – I can’t tell you how many times one of my daughters came and asked me something she had already asked my wife and my wife said no. They won’t tell you they’ve already asked the other parent and been denied.
Thus when the truth gets uncovered it’s crucial that this is treated the same way you would treat any deception; with firm consequences and absolutely not saying yes.
3. Temper Tantrums
SOLUTION – Temper tantrums can come due to the child being tired or over-stimulated. In most cases going to bed or at least to a quiet place is the best solution.
Don’t allow the tantrum to continue (especially with bystanders around who didn’t sign up for your common parenting issues). Take them home if out in public or send them to their room if at home.
Allow them a cool down period and then for kids 5 and older, take the time to explain why that behavior was wrong and what the correct way to make the same request might look like. Take the time to get their input but have a zero tolerance policy on tantrums.
4. Getting ready for school
SOLUTION – As of this writing, my 2 oldest daughters are 9 and 11. You’d think that after years of doing the same thing each school morning it would run like clockwork.
Think again! I still have to remind them to check the weather before putting on shorts in winter or remind them to brush teeth and hair. Ultimately daily reminders will likely be needed up until middle school. It’s also totally OK to tie in school readiness with allowance and reward them when they get ready on time.
5. Homework not getting done
SOLUTION – My wife and I check our daughter’s school binders like clockwork for any homework packets or tests they have the opportunity to correct and turn in for a higher grade. But even then we still miss things.
Thus ensuring they do all their homework to get their grades up is definitely one of the common parenting issues. My wife and I reward our girls based on their report cards. All A’s gets them $20, A’s & B’s get them $10 and any C’s get them nothing. This helps keep them motivated.
6. Concerns about the character of their friends
SOLUTION – We want our kids to have friends and we don’t want to micromanage that process. However, occasionally we have had concerns about how some of the friends behave and how they might influence our kids.
Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Talk to them about your concerns (in an age-appropriate way). Let them know the “why” behind your feelings, especially if you decide they can’t hang out with them anymore. Trust me; it’s hard balancing doing the right thing and letting your child have a say in their world.
7. Fighting between siblings
SOLUTION – My brother and I used to use 2×4’s as battering rams on each other’s bedroom doors! Luckily my daughters tend to just fight over clothing, books or which TV show to watch. But if there’s something for them to possibly fight over; they will find a way! As with any disruptive behavior, set boundaries and consequences.
Don’t be afraid to take something away and let no one get a turn. But for minor infractions, tell them to work it out with each other. Learning to communicate and negotiate are valuable skills they need to know!
8. Lying to avoid consequences
SOLUTION – “Jolie did you brush your teeth?” “Yes” (knowing she hadn’t). Kids will tell white lies to avoid consequences. The problem is if we allow it to go on unchecked, then eventually those lies build to larger, heavier ones. Thus we have to call them out on it when we see it.
It’s not uncommon for my wife to check our middle daughter’s toothbrush to see if it’s wet. Let them know it’s not OK and as we’ve discussed, set boundaries and consequences.
SOLUTION – Honestly technology and screens are one of the worst common parenting issues we face currently. You see it all the time; a kid on a screen mindlessly oblivious to what’s going on around them. It stunts their ability to connect with others. It’s a severe distraction and in many cases, parents shove a screen in their face to avoid having to parent.
Thus it’s vitally important to set strict limits on when and how much screen time they get. Learn more about the benefits of limiting screen time in one of my most popular posts!
10. Low Self-Esteem
SOLUTION – I was a shy kid growing up. I rarely spoke unless spoken to. I didn’t make eye contact. True I rarely got into trouble or conflict, but I had to learn well into adulthood how to be assertive and how not to get walked on or taken advantage of. Thus if you have a shy kid it’s vital that you find ways to boost their confidence. They need to be who they were meant to be, but they can be confident and quiet at the same time.
I also have a post about Self-Esteem Building Exercises you can do with your kids. So if you’re in this boat, I highly recommend taking a moment to review those.
11. Aggressive kids
SOLUTION – As kids’ lives get more complicated and more regulated (especially when I think about my own childhood in the 70’s), it’s becoming more and more common for kids to start acting out. So much of children’s lives are totally out of their control. Thus acting out and aggressive behavior is one means of trying to assert themselves and regain a little control.
Now if you are seeing violence or bullying behavior, that’s serious and you should have a zero tolerance for that. But in most other circumstances try and find little ways to let your child have a say in things. What you pack for lunch, the clothes you buy, the movies you go see, etc. Sure you don’t want to let them have totally free reign, but at least give them 2 or 3 options and let them choose.
Lastly, if something extraordinary has happened in our house (divorce or move to a new city) don’t underestimate how that will affect your child. These things will have a profound impact so it’s vital you talk about it openly and honestly and let them feel safe to express their feelings. A good therapist can also help.
— The Parenting Jungle (@ParentingJungle) December 5, 2016
I chronicled the Worst Child Behavioral Problems and the solutions in a very highly shared post. Take a moment and check those out and see if you don’t recognize at least a few of them.
So How Do Successful Parents Avoid Common Parenting Issues?
The first step is to follow the “A-B Formula”.
This comes from the award-winning parenting book Life Ki-do Parenting: tools to raise happy, confident kids from the inside out. The book is from noted author and martial artist Jonathan Hewitt and his wife and co-author Lana Hewitt.
In their A-B Formula, the first step is to Accept.
We need to accept where we are at as parents. We also need to accept where our kids are at in terms of maturity, development, and temperament.
Our kids have to learn to accept themselves for where they are at.
They especially need to learn to not compare themselves to others. It’s OK to be challenged. And it’s OK to be held accountable by yourself or another.
But sometimes if my kids aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing I find myself criticizing them instead of criticizing their behavior.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that we don’t set consequences for choices.
But we can communicate punishment, discipline, and consequences without making kids feel like a failure or feel inferior.
We have to accept where we are at together on the journey of getting to the next level.
It also doesn’t hurt to make sure you are as productive and effective as you can be. My 11 Realistic Productivity Tips for Parents can really help you maximize your time and your impact on your child’s well being!
Baby Steps Make Any challenge achievable
The second step in their A-B Formula is to Baby Step to get to where we want.
As they point out, “focusing on a goal without having baby steps to get there can lead to stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed”.
So the Baby Steps, as with anything in life, break down what can seem like insurmountable goals into small digestible pieces.
Accepting where we are at as parents, kids and individuals is tough.
We all tend to be pretty hard on ourselves and many of us never feel good enough. Some parents also are tough on their kids and sometimes forget that they are just that; kids.
Kids make mistakes. But kids don’t always understand what they are feeling. Children may not always know how to express what they are feeling (both physically and emotionally).
They get tired and act out.
Many common parenting issues probably happen because of this. That doesn’t mean we have to accept so-called “bad” behavior. But we should recognize it for what it is. Kids need love, support, guidance, structure, boundaries, consequences and much more.
What do we need to accept to be “successful parents”?
- That we aren’t perfect parents
- We will never attain perfection. While that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to improve every day, don’t focus on an impossible goal!
- Don’t beat yourself up when you slip up; own it, make it right, say you’re sorry to your kids and move on
- In my life, I acknowledge what I liked and didn’t like about my own parents and try and build on that. If every generation were just a tiny bit better than the generation that came before, imagine how amazing this world could be in just a few decades!
- That our kids aren’t perfect either
- Kids are tiny versions of us. But they are still trying to understand their feelings, their bodies, the world around them and the best (and worst) ways to get what they want
- We have to accept and acknowledge that they are perfect exactly as they are. And that if they are exhibiting overly bad behavior on a consistent basis that fault lies more with us than with them (but it’s never too late to work on it!)
- Some of you may need to accept that your relationship with your spouse isn’t perfect
- Been there, done that! If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page (parenting or otherwise), then that needs to be a focus too to truly become great parents
- A marriage will never be “perfect” but it can be healthy, functional, growing and loving. If yours isn’t at least most of those things then it’s time to “accept” that and work on it
- Many common parenting issues are derived from tensions within the relationship
- The best way to work on it is to put ego aside and just be honest and solution-oriented. Criticism and condescending words don’t fix this; it takes two to make a relationship work and when it’s not working, that too is because of what both partners have been doing
- If you have ever asked yourself if marriage counseling could help, take a moment and check out my post on just that!
- Still others may need to accept that they are a single parent and accept that has inherently different challenges
- I admittedly do not have experience here and I can only imagine what raising a child (or multiple kids) when the other parent isn’t in (or at least consistently in) the picture is like.
- Being a parent is rewarding beyond belief, but it can also be very draining, tiring and take its toll on our patience and sanity and that’s what it can be like with 2 parents working together.
- If you’re in this boat you have my utmost admiration as I know the gargantuan effort you put in every day!
- My best advice here is to not be hard on yourself for the reasons why the other parent isn’t still in the picture; don’t blame yourself.
- If you contributed to the demise, I think it’s important to acknowledge what you did so you learn from that (and if it’s not too late; own that with the other parent). However, we don’t gain anything by wallowing in the anguish and despair and we owe to it ourselves and our kids to find a way to move forward and function in a healthy way
- Accept the reality, find the good when you can and set some goals for the future
Implement healthy parenting skills. Children who are physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy become healthy adults who are better equipped to handle life’s challenges. #parenting #drleesha #mentalhealthmatters pic.twitter.com/j80KPVhByK
— Dr. Leesha Ellis-Cox (@drleesha) September 15, 2018
No matter what your gender, I highly recommend you check out my post 21 Ways to be a Good Father. It’s full of simple, actionable steps you can take today for a better tomorrow
Getting on the same page with your spouse
So we’ve identified that to be successful parents we need to learn to accept where everyone is at and work towards larger goals.
The next crucial step is for both parents to be on the same page.
If one is out of the picture, that creates a lot of challenges as I mentioned above. Even if the couple is no longer together though, if both parents are still involved, then it’s crucial for both to be on the same page.
Being on the same page in most areas of being a couple is going to be a good thing.
- Not on the same page financially? That’s the #1 to #3 (depending on the source) Top Reasons for Divorce.
- Not on the same page as far as long-term goals or how to run a household? That’s a recipe for disaster too
But most importantly, it will be almost impossible to be successful parents if both partners aren’t on the same page!
Are You Struggling to Avoid Common Parenting Issues?
In this post, we identified exactly what a successful parent is. We also took a hard look at the most common parenting issues.
Most importantly, we talked about some realistic solutions to those parenting challenges. That way you can get back to enjoying your family and your sanity.
Do you struggle to be a successful parent?
Are you and your spouse rockin’ this parenting thing and have tips to share?
Feel free to comment here or email me with any questions as I am here to help!
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Photo credits (that aren’t mine):
Baby on Swing – https://www.flickr.com/photos/48090400@N05/
Shadows – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gagilas/