Parents who desperately want help to change

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Parents sometimes act towards their children in ways they later regret. They may be too busy, too angry, or just too exhausted to take much notice of their kids. Or somehow the roles get reversed in the family. Instead of the kids being just kids, they have to look after their parents instead. But deep down, these parents want and need help to change. If you or someone you know is struggling, take heart that you can find help.

Parents want the best for their kids

The vast majority of parents want the best for their children. And initially, they may manage well.

However, difficult events can happen unexpectedly. Often several problems happen at the same time. The resulting stress can tip you from coping to struggling.

All parents need help

Everyone needs support when they’re overwhelmed. Remember the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Years ago, parents could often rely on extended family. Someone was always around to look after the children if needed.

However, life has changed.

Distance, long working hours, and relationship breakdowns have weakened family ties. And in turn, stresses on parents have increased. With less support, more parents need help.

Feeling trapped and alone

But it’s hard for any parent to admit they’re not coping. So they hide what’s happening, out of fear and shame of being seen as incompetent.

Unfortunately, very few of us know how to cope when we’re stressed. You may have had a tough start in life, and feel you haven’t learned many coping skills. Add in the pressures of raising children, and you have a powder keg situation. 

No wonder so many parents feel alone and trapped, and more and more helpless.

And you may not be coping with normal childhood behaviours. You may shout or throw things to relieve your tension. You may be continually snappy or can’t be bothered listening to your children. At times you may push them away both physically and emotionally. The only time you get any peace seems to be when you’re all in front of a screen.

The lure of distractions

Desperate to escape from your worries, you can start to rely on other distractions. Things like overspending or overeating, gambling or social media, alcohol or drugs. Anything that lets you zone out for a while.

But later, you still have to face your situation.

The struggle is exhausting

In fact, all your energy is spent on dragging yourself through the day. You’re probably sleeping badly too. In addition, you’re eaten up by guilt.

Deep down, you hate what’s happening. When your children were born, you wanted to be the best parent you could be. But now, it just seems so hard.

What can you do?

Your heart is telling you that you can’t continue like this. You desperately want things to be better. Underneath everything, you still want to love and nurture your children.

Stopping this cycle depends on your willingness to be brave.

It depends on your willingness to realise your children are being affected. That as a parent, you want and need help to change. You can’t fix this on your own.

You and your children deserve to enjoy life, no matter what’s happened.

Be kind to yourself

If the above scenario relates to you in any way, be kind to yourself. You never planned to end up in this situation. And you’ve done the best you could.

In saying that, you’re not making excuses. And you’re not going to wallow in self-pity either. But don’t judge yourself as being a bad parent. 

Understand without judging yourself

Instead, understand what has made it hard to be the parent you want to be.

That way, others can help you sort things out more easily. Then you can get back to being that nurturing parent again.

And along the way, you can learn to nurture yourself as well.

Get help today

Once you realise things need to change, seek help as soon as possible.

If you put it off, your courage will slip away. Then you’ll be stuck in the same hell for months, or even years.

And you and your children deserve better than that.

Facing your emotions

Seeking help can be scary. But remember, no-one will ever be a harsher critic than you are of yourself.

And you’d be surprised at how many parents look as if they’re coping, but aren’t.

So accept you’re trying as hard as you can, but circumstances have got on top of you.

Now you’ve shown you want to change. And you’re taking the first steps back to stability.

You’ll feel such relief to have someone else who knows what’s going on in your life.

Getting help now

So here are some ideas how to get help today. Try a few of them, so that you have the best chance of success. And persist, even if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working at first.

1 Talk to a trusted friend or family member about some of your worries. If they’ve been sympathetic before, they’ll probably understand what’s happening. Other parents may have gone through something similar, or at least will empathise.

They may have sensed you’ve been struggling, but didn’t know what to do. Let them help you now. 

2 Tell your local doctor, nurse or counsellor that you’re finding it hard to deal with your kids.

3 Drop in at a local community centre that offers parenting courses. Some community centres also offer information about wellbeing and resilience, relationships, finances and finding employment. See if you can enrol in a course coming up. You’ll gain information, as well as meeting other people who want help.

4 Find a parenting group in your local area. Knowing others who find parenting a challenge is a great confidence booster.

5 Many government health websites have parenting tips and supports. Type phrases like “parenting resources” into your search engine. Pick websites run by state or federal agencies, such as Raising Children Network.

In addition, health professionals like psychologists, social workers, nurses and doctors also run useful websites such as these top parenting websites

Although these are Australian, the basic information will be useful for most parents. And your local area may have similar websites.

6 Find some good books about parenting in your local library. Often eBooks can be borrowed to read on your phone. Again, make sure authors are qualified professionals.

Health professionals want to help

Health professionals are always glad to see parents who want help to change. They’ll be keen to support you to regain stability and enjoy parenting again.

They’ll help you build resilience, and increase your confidence in parenting. And don’t be scared about learning new skills

With guidance, you’ll learn helpful habits and rituals to make life run more smoothly.

Professionals can also refer you to services to sort out other areas in your life.

So take your courage into your hands. As a parent, you want and need to change. Take the first steps this minute to make your own and your children’s lives better.

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