11 Most Common Parenting Issues and Solutions You’ll Love!

I think you’ll agree with me that parenting is a tough job. I have 3 kids, but as a new parent, I still recall wondering about the most common parenting issues.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

The most common parenting issues include:

  • Trying to be more of a friend to the child than the parent
  • Screentime being out of control
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Lying
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Friends who are a bad influence
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Kids feeling entitled

But that’s just the beginning! So let’s dig in!

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.

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.

What are the worst mistakes parents can make?

We parents make a TON of mistakes.

So don’t beat yourself up when you make one. You WILL make one, and another, and another. The shame is in continually making the same mistakes and not learning from them.

So there’s no judgment here. But if any of these sound familiar, it’s a great time to consider altering your parenting style.

Here are the worst things parents can do:

  • Not having family time – Spend time as a family every week; walks, board/card games, parks, etc
  • Forgetting to take time for themselves – We can’t parent our best if we’re at our wit’s end. So don’t forget to take care of your mental and physical needs too
  • A lack of clear boundaries, guidelines, and consequences – Kids will never tell us, but they crave these things because it shows them we love them and helps them feel safe. It’s essential for their well-being
  • Only scolding their kids and forgetting to praise them – It’s easy to only call our kids out when they screw up and forget to praise them when they do things well. If we only scold them, it can make them feel worthless and damage their feelings of self-worth and self-esteem
  • Do as I say, not as I do parenting
  • Not treating their spouse with respect
  • Giving kids too much of a free ride

If you’re still unclear on what a successful parent is, we first need to identify the worst ways to parent.  Luckily, in a recent article, I look at all the most common parenting mistakes and get into simple, actionable solutions.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What are the challenges of parenting today?

Today’s world is not the world we grew up in.

We have all-present technology which has definite pros and cons. Social media adds another layer of complexity too. Plus kids these days are growing up much faster and getting exposed to adult content at a much earlier age.

My daughters see stuff on apps like Tik Tok that I was never exposed to at their age.

I can clamp down and ban screens and fight a constant uphill battle. Or, I can accept that this is the world we live in. Then I need to set reasonable restrictions and guidelines. And make sure to monitor appropriately.

Confused about what the appropriate role of a parent is in a child’s life?

I break that down, by age range of the child, in a recent article. I get into everything parents need to be doing in this day and age, at each stage of their child’s life. Just click that link to read it on my site.

But beyond technology, some of the other challenges that are unique to today include:

1. Both parents working more than ever

Let’s face it. For most households these days, both parents are often working full-time jobs. And housing costs have pushed middle-class families out to the burbs, meaning longer commutes too.

Parents working more and being out of the house more may be necessary financially. But it comes at a cost to our children who get less supervision, connection, and guidance.

And when we are home after a long, hard day, we’re often tired, reaching for a beer and the remote instead of truly connecting with our kids.

2. Lack of real connection

Because we parents are gone more, in conjunction with everyone’s love of screens, while we’re more connected than ever, we are also more disconnected than ever.

By that, I mean that while our kids may tell us they want to sit alone in their bedroom and play Minecraft, Roblox, or whatever the hip pre-teen game of the year is, what they really want and need is to connect with us.

3. Parents expecting teachers and nannies to raise their kids for them

In my day job working with kids, I see this a lot.  Parents who have busy work and social lives who make decent money expecting others to do the job of parenting for them.

Now, I’m not slamming anyone who makes good money. I’m also not suggesting that no one should use a nanny.

I am suggesting that even the best teacher or nanny is not a good substitute for 2 loving parents. So parents must strive to find balance here and understand their crucial role in preparing their kid to live as an adult in the real world.

4. Wanting to be liked by our kids and putting that ahead of doing the right thing

We all want our kids to love us. And let’s face it. We also want to be liked. But some parents, the more permissive ones, confuse being liked by their kids with good parenting.

First and foremost, we have to be the parent.

We have to set clear boundaries, guidelines, and consequences for poor choices. That’s how the real world works. If I mess up, there’s a consequence.

If we don’t teach those lessons to our kids at a young age, we’re doing them a huge disservice and programing them to be weak, entitled adults who won’t function well in society.

That HAS to come before being liked. Trust me. There will be times when our kids actively don’t like us. But as they grow and mature, they will recognize the true value of how we raised them.

So don’t be a jerk. But also make sure you put being a parent before your desire to be liked.

That’s the cornerstone of authoritative parenting.

If you aren’t sure what that is or how to incorporate that into your parenting style, check out one of my recent articles. I break down what it is, how to implement it, and how it differs from authoritarian parenting.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

So then what are the . . . 

11 Most Common Parenting Issues?

1. Entitlement

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 this must be 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.

9. Technology

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!

Just click that link to read it on my site.

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 you must 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 recent article about confidence-building activities you can do with your kids. So if you’re in this boat, I highly recommend taking a moment to review those.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

11. Aggressive kids

SOLUTION – As kids’ lives get more complicated and more regulated (especially when I think about my own childhood in the ’70s), 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 you must talk about it openly and honestly and let them feel safe to express their feelings. A good therapist can also help.

Are you seeing really terrible behavior from your child?

I chronicled the Worst Child Behavioral Problems and the solutions in a very highly shared recent article.  I get into the worst ones, when to ask your doctor if it’s something out of the ordinary, and what you can do to turn them around.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do you fix parenting mistakes?

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 (click to see it on Amazon).

In the 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 together on the journey of getting to the next level.

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 are 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”?

  1. 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!
  2. 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 consistently that fault lies more with us than with them (but it’s never too late to work on it!)
  3. 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 the 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 recent article on just that! I get into what they do, how much it costs, whether your insurance is likely to cover it and much more. Just click that link to read it on my site.
  4. 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

Want some simple steps/tips to be a better parent tomorrow?

No matter what your gender, I highly recommend you check out my recent article on the top 23 Ways to be a Good Father.  It’s full of simple, actionable steps you can take today for a better tomorrow.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

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 both must 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!

In a recent article, I break down all the top reasons for divorce and how they can be avoided. If you aren’t on the same page as your spouse with parenting, money, or life in general, I highly recommend you click over and read that now.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all the common parenting issues and solutions you wanted? 

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?

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! I write extensively about those in a recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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