"Am I doing enough for my child(ren)?"
Newborn babies may seem totally dependent on caregivers for their needs, but rest assured, there is still room for errors (after addressing the key safety precautions). In fact, the early days of parenthood may feel a lot like trial-and-error! As you learn to meet your child's needs, you are also learning about yourself and what it means to be a parent. We have a whole section dedicated to supporting the growth of new parents and the parent-child relationship right HERE.
Our children do not need us to be perfect parents. They just need us to be good enough - not measured against a gold standard but being flexible and adapting to the child's needs for growth, learning as you go along. It's no longer about parents know best. Take a look at the world we live in now, does anyone know exactly how things will turn out? Keep trying your best, with what resources you have in that moment, and that's good enough.
Even when we make mistakes in parenting, we can model how to admit mistakes and learn from the experience - which is way, wayyy more valuable than striving for perfection.
Good-enough parenting is effective AND sustainable. Here's an article on the psychology of it, if you have the time and interest to delve deeper (otherwise, just focus on the article's points in bold, that's good enough for practical application).
You make it a point to recharge your mobile phone daily, don't you?
The same should apply to your own internal battery - your physical and mental state.
Busy parents have even more reason to pay attention to self-care, because your own well-being will definitely influence how you relate to your children, which then impacts their mental health development.
Rethink what self-care is like - it does not have to be a 2-hour spa session (of course, it would be awesome to do that once in a while). First and foremost, be mindful of how you are spending your time. Do you really want to spend your precious free time scrolling through social media? Be aware, make conscious choices on how you spend your time and energy.
Here's a straightforward list of simple self-care activities you could sneak into your daily routines!
Enjoy a refreshing drink at home (Photo from Pexel)
The old saying still runs true: it takes a village to raise a child. Parenting is not meant to be a solo effort. Rope in your partner and/or other family members.
Working in a team means there will be varying opinions, just because everyone has different life experiences and perspectives. Conflicts may arise, but we can learn to respect differences and tap on each other's strengths. Good communication skills and focusing on common goals can help to repair and even strengthen relationships.
NOT social media, which tends to skew towards showing more polished sides of everything and gathering "likes".
Invest your time and energy on real relationships built on real presence, sincerity and compassion. Do activities together, chat about everything under the sun; fun, joys, pain, tears and all.
Interacting with others will widen our perspectives instead of focusing on our troubles. Steer away from those who tend to compare and compete! Such relationships are not worth your precious time.
In our great-grandparents' generation, raising the young to adulthood is already considered an achievement; anyone attaining university education would have made the whole village proud.
Parenting now, however, is no longer just about survival. With advancements in healthcare and abundance of information, the role of a parent now comes with a lot self-imposed and societal expectations. Many parents also need to juggle this responsibility together with the demands of work.
Thankfully, community resources and services are available to support families in maintaining healthy functioning.
Locate a Family Service Centre near you, for parenting programmes and family support services.
The Centre for Fathering provides information and workshops tailored to fatherhood in Singapore.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development has parenting information covering pregnancy to 6 years old, including special needs.
Families for Life organises events, suggests family activities and shares articles on various topics relevant to families.
Circle of Security is an international parenting programme based on attachment theory, focusing on meeting young children's emotional needs and enhancing the parent-child relationship.
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