The last time we were at the park, my daughter was racing around the perimeter with some of her friends. Of course, my toddler wanted to get in on the action. Before I knew it, they were off running along the unforgiving concrete. As he ran along merrily with his older sister, my eyebrows furrowed and I began walking briskly, okay running, toward my toddler. I prayed he wouldn’t trip and bust open his chin. He didn’t. Being a parent is a big responsibility. Along with keeping our children safe, it is our duty to nurture them, teach them and a million other responsibilities. Yet, in order to reduce our parental stress, we should stop worrying about these four things.
We all want our children to have friends. However, rather than worrying about if your child is popular, help them establish meaningful friendships. This means you don’t have to throw an over-the-top birthday party or try to push your children into the “cool crowd.” Encourage your child to invite friends over and meet their parents. Yet, don’t worry if they don’t have a lot of friends. The only time to be concerned is if your child seems depressed, doesn’t want to go to school or never talks about their friends.
When my daughter entered kindergarten, we signed her up for soccer. In kindergarten, you don’t keep score and you don’t have goalies. Thus, most of the games were pretty low-key, except one. The coach, a.k.a helicopter parent, was running up and down the field, and sometimes on the field, shouting out instructions. In reality, the majority of children won’t go on to become professional athletes. Yet, many parents already treat their children like pro-athletes. From stressing over playing time to forking out a ton of money for club sports, athletic activities can take a toll on a family. While I think extracurricular activities are important, they should not take over your life. Youth sports should be fun, not a source of parental stress….save that for the big league.
I’ll admit that I hate those crowded, germy indoor playgrounds and I’ve been known to use hand sanitizer. With two preterm babies and one with GERD, I have had my fair share of visits to the ER and the NICU. For awhile, this made me a bit of a germaphobe. And while we should be a cautious with newborns, preterm infants and children with compromised immune systems, the truth is germs are everywhere. I have also realized that I’m sure that my daughter comes into contact with a lot of germs at school and I can’t be there to make sure she washes her hands before she eats (although I remind her to). Actually, since I’ve stopped worrying so much about germs, my kids have hardly been sick….knock on wood. As parents, we can’t keep our kids in a bubble.
I get frustrated when my house is not clean….just ask my husband. However, with two kids and four pets, my house can’t always be spotless. My kids do crafts and I cook frequently so there are bound to be messes. Thus, I keep things sanitary. I keep the dishes out of the sink. Basically, I keep things clean enough so that I can relax. Many moms I know talk about the “never-ending mess” in their house. I agree. Yet I also know it’s irrational for my house to look like a museum.
As a parent, we have to realize that we can’t control every aspect of our children’s lives. Parents who worry a lot cause themselves too much parental stress. Rather than worry, we can pray that our children make the right choices. We can provide them with love, hope and guidance. And we can encourage them race to on the grass, rather than the concrete.
More from Melissa:
How to Stop Being a Whiny Parent
4 Reasons to Stop Nagging Your Kids
Irritable Children? How to Banish a Case of the ‘Grumpies’ in Your Home