Handling the Stress of Parenting
As the school year comes to a close, I have been in contact with many parents about the progress and regression of their children. They have told me everything from how surprised they have been with their child this year to how disappointed they have been with the child. In both instances, I have heard comments of being overwhelmed and stressed out by being a parent. This sentiment is honest and expresses the difficulty of parenting.
We currently have so many issues within our communities, schools, families, and homes that the pressure and stress of being a parent may be at all time high.
We all have heard the negative statistics and outcomes for African American children. Also, when something negative is reported about African American children, we often hear the sentiment, “Where are these children’s parents?” We must ask ourselves, why is that a common thought of many when something goes wrong with our children?
I believe this is due to the importance of the parent’s role. The role of parent comes with many demands, expectations, and challenges that is often difficult to manage. Ultimately, leading to stress for the parents and family as a whole.
I have friends without children, who make the statement that they do not want any children because they are too much work. As a father myself, I understand their position. However, I do not see parenting ever becoming any “easier” task on anyone. As technology and society continues to move forward, parents must do the same. As parents, we must be flexible and innovative to meet the challenging of the development of our children.
This is very critical for African American children. If we as parents cannot handle the pressure of parenting we will not be able to function as a parent to our best abilities leading to continuous generations of struggle.
3 strategies to reducing stress with your child
Provide a space for honest dialogue with your child: As long as there are old enough to hold a basic conversation, it is vital to maintain honest dialogue with them. Far too often, African American children are told half-truths by their parents, this creates a paradigm of mistrust. The concept of mistrust starts with the parents and spread to other adults and/or authority figures.
Allow children to ask questions and answer them: Many of the young people I work with have never been allowed to ask questions. This is something that starts at a young age. When a child is questioning everything and then being told to “stay out of grown folks business” instead of being given some sort of answer to their questions.
Be consistent: You are the authority figure. This is an important place in the family dynamic. It is acceptable to set boundaries, provide rules, and sets the tone for the home. However, in order to maintain such a position one must be consistent in their thoughts, speech, and actions.
Please remember that children learn by what they see. Parenting did not come with a manual or handbook. Most of us have gone on the journey of parenting doing what we felt worked best from our parents and others. It’s important to understand the significance of parenting. As a parent, you are the one who sets the tone for the child.
The parent’s role is to provide a constructive foundation for child to develop a competence of excellence. This is a major responsibility that causes a monumental amount of stress and anxiety. However, it is all worth it when you see your children succeed.
Parents keep doing the best you can; the stress will come and go. However, the impact of your role as a parent will last for generations to come.