Parents Have Growing Pains, Too – How to Cope
When most people think of growing pains, they tend to think of kids, which is more of a physical issue.
But, parents have growing pains too. They have less to do with physical changes and more to do with learning, stretching, and adapting to raise your child the best way you know how.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The word “pain” is attached for a reason. Parental growing pains can impact your mental health and your relationship with your partner. However, that doesn’t mean it has to feel overwhelming or impossible.
Let’s look at a few ways you can cope with growing pains and continue to emotionally grow as you raise your child.
Embrace The Changes
As a parent, there are times that it will feel like everything is changing all at once. Your child will learn to do something new, or they will move on in different phases in their life. You will need to adapt and help them through those phases.
It’s easy to want to fight against them. Change isn’t always easy, and it can cause discord in your own life and relationships. When you’re a parent, you must embrace change at any moment. The more open you are to let things happen as they happen, the less stressed and anxious you’ll be.
Let go of any stubbornness you might be holding onto. Most people have a plan for their lives or a way they think it should look. If your current situation isn’t directly following that plan, learn to adapt or find yourself stressed more often than not.
Make Time For Yourself (and Your Relationship)
One of the most significant issues parents face, even early on, is feeling as though they have lost their identity. Everything you do and everything you are is now connected to your child. You don’t need to lose your sense of self entirely merely because you’re a parent.
It’s important to practice self-care for both your physical and mental health. Part of that includes making time for yourself to do the things you love. Maybe that means going for a run every morning. Or, going on a date night with your spouse/partner once a week.
Let go of any guilt that you might initially feel for taking that time for yourself. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. By taking time for yourself and showing self-love, you will end up being an even better parent because you can give more to your child.
Understand You’re Not Alone
It’s easy to feel like you’re going through a lot on your own when dealing with growing pains as a parent. That can be especially true if it’s causing a strain on your relationship.
Knowing that you’re not alone can make a big difference in how you feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system. Talk to other parents about how they handled things, and take advice from people you trust. Sometimes, knowing that you don’t have to be “perfect” can ease some of those growing pains.
If you are still struggling and aren’t sure how to cope with the challenges that come through parenthood, feel free to contact me. Together, we can talk more about the effects of the emotional strain and how you can learn to cope daily. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.
To learn more about how counseling can help with your parenting journey, please click here.
BRINGING BABY HOME: A NEW PARENT WORKSHOP IS GOING VIRTUAL!!!! A workshop for couples who are thinking about or planning to have a baby, who are expecting a baby or who have children already. Based on years of research and experience and developed by the Gottman Institute, this 12 hour workshop is designed to repair communication skills and jump start your relationship with your partner. For more information, please click here.
Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!