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Sleepless nights, tantrums and a child’s first day at school are among a list of the 50 most challenging things about being a parent, a study has revealed. Coping with a child being unwell, getting into a new routine and bedwetting were all rated as key stresses faced by mums.
Helping a child through their first day at a new school and dealing with competitive parents at the school gates were also common trials.
In fact, almost three quarters of the mums polled admitted that motherhood had been much more challenging than they ever imagined.
Emma Kenny, child psychologist and spokesperson for bedwetting experts DryNites, who commissioned the study, said:
‘’There are some challenges you expect when you embark on parenthood, like the sleepless nights and tantrums.
‘’But I don’t think anyone can be prepared for how many issues and stressful situations you will face over the years – from the baby and toddler stage and throughout a child’s school life.
‘’Once the tantrums subside and you are getting more sleep, you then have to face a whole new set of trials, such as your child’s first day at school, which many mums are having to get ready for over the next couple of weeks.
‘’And once they are settled into school life, mums have to contend with the worries of bullies, moving up to new classes and schools, as well as a whole range of tests and exams.
‘’Even teenagers and young adults seem to come with their own set of challenges for poor mums.’’
Sleepless nights were named the biggest challenge by 2,000 mums, followed by toddler tantrums, staying patient and keeping on top of household chores.
Getting children to eat the right foods was named as the fifth most common trial for mums, along with potty training, sibling rivalry, childcare issues and giving your child what you want without spoiling them.
Encouraging youngsters to clean their teeth properly completed the top ten.
Other trials and tribulations faced by millions of mums over their youngster’s childhood include trying to keep them away from computers and games consoles, having to answer a constant stream of questions and tackling bullying.
Researchers also found that 48% found their child’s school years stressful, with 14% even believing that they found it more of a challenge than their son or daughter did.
Making sure they do their homework, avoiding bullies and just getting them to enjoy school were named as the biggest school-time challenges.
A further 18% of mums found they had the most trials during their child’s pre-school years, around the age of three or four years old, but more than three quarters of mums admitted they worry that things are only going to become more challenging as their children get older.
Almost half of the mums polled also claimed that they find things more challenging than their partner.
Stephanie Madrell, DryNites brand manager, said:
“There is no surprise that a child’s first day at school rated highly among the challenges parents face.
‘’A child’s first day at school can understandably be a particularly stressful and poignant time for both mothers and their children.
‘’The upheaval of starting school and dealing with all the new things; new teachers, new friends and the sudden change in sleep patterns, can often couple with your child hitting a bedwetting speed bump.
‘’If your child starts to experience bedwetting it is important to reassure them and offer support and encouragement as they acclimatise to their new routine in the classroom.’’
Top 50 challenges parents face
- Sleepless nights/sleep deprivation
- Having patience
- Keeping on top of the household chores
- Getting children to eat the right foods
- Potty training
- Sibling rivalry
- Juggling childcare
- Give your child what they want without spoiling them
- Getting children to clean their teeth properly
- Dealing with an ill child
- Leaving your baby for the first time
- Getting a baby to sleep through the night
- Getting a baby/child to sleep at night
- Not constantly worrying and wrapping your child in cotton wool
- Getting children to do their homework
- Encouraging your children to concentrate and work hard at school
- Tackling bullying
- Going back to work after having a baby
- Keeping an eye on your child 24/7
- Encouraging your children to be friends with the right crowd
- Getting into a routine with a new baby
- Trying to keep your children from spending too much time in front of a computer/TV screen
- Getting a toddler to stay in bed
- Getting time off work when your children are ill
- Your child’s first day at nursery/pre-school
- Your child’s first ever day at school
- Teaching them the value of money
- Dealing with other people’s opinions on your parenting skills
- Having to answer your child’s constant questions, even when you don’t really know the answer
- Keeping a lid on bad language
- Getting to school on time
- Other competitive mums
- Helping children to take the right path through their education
- Keeping your children in clothes that fit when they outgrow things so quickly
- Teaching them that fighting and hitting is wrong
- Finding time to do your child’s reading homework every night
- Keeping an eye on what your children are looking at online/watching on TV etc
- Children sitting exams
- Trying to convince doctors to listen and take you seriously
- Your child’s first day at secondary school
- Leaving your children with a babysitter for the first time
- Remembering to fill in all school paperwork
- Preventing children from smoking
- Explaining birth, life and death
- The Birds and the Bees chat
- Coping when you’re child’s first pet has died and knowing what to say
- Knowing how to react when they use their first swear word
- Clingy children