Child Mindfulness

How to be more present with your child: 8 simple tips.

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As parents, we all know how challenging it can be to juggle our responsibilities. All whilst trying to be fully present with our kids. Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to get caught up in distractions, especially our mobile phones.

But fear not, being present with your kids is possible, and it starts with mindfulness and mindful parenting. Here are some valuable tips to help you cherish quality time with your children and create meaningful connections.

No Phones with Kids

It’s all too common to get lost in the digital world, but our children deserve our undivided attention. Make a conscious effort to put your phone away when you’re spending time with your kids. Let them feel valued and important by being fully present in the moment. This simple act of giving your children your full attention can make a world of difference in your relationship with them.

In today’s digital age, it’s easy to feel the constant pull of notifications and messages. However, when you set aside distractions and truly engage with your child, you create a safe and nurturing environment. This can then foster open communication and bonding.

Schedule Fun Time

Life can get busy, but scheduling dedicated fun time with your kids can make a world of difference. Block out this time on your calendar, so you don’t have to worry about work or other commitments. By setting aside this special time, you can be fully present and engaged, creating beautiful memories with your children.

Life is full of responsibilities, but don’t forget to prioritise moments of joy and playfulness with your child. It could be playing games or going on a nature walk. Even engaging in creative activities together, these moments of fun foster a strong emotional connection and create lasting bonds.

Say No to Other Things to Say Yes to Your Kids

We often face conflicting priorities, but when it comes to our children, they should always come first. Be strong enough to say no to other distractions when you know your kids need you. Instead of picking up the phone when you shouldn’t, prioritise your children’s needs and be there for them wholeheartedly.

Saying no to distractions allows you to say yes to the present moment with your child. Embrace the opportunity to be fully present and create meaningful interactions. Remember, your child won’t remember the text message you replied to, but they will cherish the moments you spent together.

Notice When You’re Not Being Mindful

Mindfulness begins with awareness. Take notice of moments when you feel less present with your kids. Recognizing these moments allows you to make a conscious effort to do better.

It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re not feeling mindful. By doing so, you can actively work on being more present in your children’s lives.

It’s normal to experience moments of distraction or preoccupation. But, by being aware of these instances, you can gently bring yourself back to the present moment. By taking some deep breaths and focusing. Practice self-compassion as you cultivate mindfulness in your parenting journey.

Practice Just Listening to Your Child

As parents, we instinctively want to help and fix things for our children. However, sometimes all they need is for us to listen attentively without jumping in with solutions. Practice the art of just listening to your child, giving them the space to express themselves fully. By being a mindful listener, you can better understand your child’s feelings and needs.

Listening is a powerful tool in connecting with your child on a deeper level. Allow them to express themselves without interruption. Let them know that their thoughts and feelings are valued. By actively listening, you create a safe and supportive space for your child to share their emotions.

Schedule “Me” Time

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed can hinder our ability to be present with our kids. It’s crucial to take care of yourself too. Schedule “me” time to recharge and refresh.

Don’t feel guilty about taking this time for yourself; it’s essential for your well-being. When you prioritize self-care, you’ll have the mental space to be fully present when spending time with your child.

“Me” time is not selfish; it’s an investment in your overall well-being as a parent. It could be reading a book, taking a walk or indulging in a hobby. Regardless, this time for yourself allows you to show up as your best self for your child.

Early Bedtimes

Establishing early bedtimes not only ensures that your child gets enough sleep. It also allows you to have some precious “me” time as a parent. Utilize this quiet time to unwind, engage in self-care, or pursue activities that bring you joy.

By taking care of yourself, you can approach parenting with a more mindful and present mindset. This is one of the most simple pieces of parenting advice.

Early bedtimes create a peaceful transition from the busy day to quiet evenings. It also provides an opportunity for you to recharge. This way, you wake up refreshed and ready to be fully present with your child the next day.

Childhood Doesn’t Last Forever

As parents, we all have moments where we may feel overwhelmed or frustrated with certain tasks, such as changing a diaper. However, remind yourself that childhood doesn’t last forever. Embrace each moment, even the challenging ones, as they are fleeting and will soon be cherished memories. Practicing mindfulness helps you appreciate the little moments and create a deeper connection with your child.

Embracing mindfulness and mindful parenting can transform the way you engage with your child and strengthen your bond. Being fully present with your kids allows you to savor every precious moment of parenthood. Through this, you can create a lifetime of beautiful memories together.

At Pareful, we understand the struggles of being a parent, and we’re here to support you on your mindful journey. We provide valuable tools and resources for a more connected and joyful parenting experience.

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‘I don’t like being a mum’: Embracing the challenges of motherhood.

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Motherhood is a journey filled with highs and lows, a rollercoaster of emotions, and an undeniable love that knows no bounds. However, let’s be honest; not every day is a breeze, and it’s okay to admit that some days you don’t like being a mum.

As a mother, you are juggling multiple roles, responsibilities, and expectations, all while trying to maintain your sanity and well-being. The pressure to be a good mom, the internal struggle to balance everything, and the mental toll it takes can leave you feeling overwhelmed and questioning yourself. Yet, amidst the challenges, remember that you are not alone, and every mother, at some point, faces similar feelings.

Accept That Parenting Is Challenging

Being a mum is not easy. Balancing family members, your role as a good mum, and your mental health can be overwhelming. This is especially challenging if you are a stay-at-home mum. But take a deep breath and repeat this affirmation: “I am doing my best, and that’s enough.”

Accepting that motherhood comes with its challenges doesn’t make you a horrible mum; it makes you human. Not every moment will be hard, so take the time to notice and embrace mindfully at least five positive moments each day. It could be your child’s giggle, a loving gesture, or a moment of pure joy.

Moreover, seeking help and support doesn’t mean you are failing as a mother. Reach out to family, friends, or support groups when you feel overwhelmed. Having someone to talk to or share your experiences with can make a world of difference. Nurture your mental health and seek assistance when needed.

Incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine to stay grounded. Start with a few minutes of mindful breathing or meditation each morning. Throughout the day, take mindful breaks by focusing on your breath or practicing gratitude. Embrace the present moment and let go of worries about the past or future.

Become Mindfully Present in Motherhood

With endless responsibilities as a mother, it’s easy to be physically present but mentally elsewhere. Mindfulness can change that. When you engage in motherly duties, be fully present in the moment. Engage your senses, listen attentively, and cherish those fleeting moments.

Set aside dedicated time for mindful bonding with your kids. Whether it’s reading a story together, going for a nature walk, or enjoying playtime, being mindfully present during these moments can create lasting memories and deepen your connection with your children.

Practice mindful breathing to calm your mind and body when overwhelmed or emotionally triggered. Take a few deep breaths, focus on your breath, and let go of tension or stress. By grounding yourself in the present moment, you can respond to challenges with patience and composure.

Another mindful practice to consider is journaling. Write down your thoughts and feelings, allowing yourself to process emotions in a non-judgmental way. Journaling can be a therapeutic outlet for expressing your innermost thoughts and gaining clarity as a mother.

Understand Your Expectations

Before becoming a mother, you may have had certain expectations about motherhood. It’s essential to examine those expectations and ask yourself if they were realistic given your knowledge at the time.

If your expectations don’t match reality, it’s okay to acknowledge that and let go of guilt or disappointment. Motherhood is a journey of growth, and it’s okay to adapt and adjust. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you’re doing your best.

To manage feelings of regret or resentment, consider seeking professional support, such as talking to a therapist or counselor. They can provide a safe space to explore your emotions and help you navigate the complexities of motherhood.

A Mindful Journey to Motherhood

In the midst of the daily challenges of motherhood, mindfulness can be your anchor, helping you embrace emotions and experiences. At Pareful, we understand the struggles, the ups and downs, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Mindfulness is not about being perfect; it’s about being kind to yourself and finding peace in the present moment. As you navigate the journey of motherhood, remember that you’re not alone, and there is a mindful path to enjoying motherhood even on tough days.

So, take a moment for yourself, breathe, and explore how mindfulness can help you cherish the joys of motherhood while navigating its challenges. Embrace motherhood mindfully, and let Pareful be your ally on this incredible journey.

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Understanding the hidden effects of parental mental health.

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In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to overlook the impact that parental mental health can have on the entire family. While we often focus on the visible signs of mental illness, the hidden effects can be equally profound. Breaking the silence and shedding light on this topic is crucial in order to provide support and understanding to families facing these challenges.

In this article, we will explore the often-overlooked consequences of parental mental health on children, partners, and the overall family dynamic. From the emotional toll it takes on children to the strain it puts on relationships, we’ll delve into the complexities of this issue and offer practical strategies for coping and healing. By increasing awareness and breaking the stigma surrounding parental mental health, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive society for all. So, let’s dive in and uncover the hidden effects of parental mental health that need our attention and understanding.

The Impact of Parental Mental Health on Children

Parental mental health has a profound impact on children, shaping their emotional well-being and overall development. Growing up in a household where a parent is struggling with mental health issues can be incredibly challenging for children. They may witness the emotional turmoil, erratic behavior, and instability that often accompany these conditions. As a result, children may experience feelings of fear, confusion, and even guilt, blaming themselves for their parent’s struggles. The constant exposure to stress and tension can disrupt their sense of security and stability, leading to emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Moreover, children of parents with mental health issues may also be at a higher risk of developing mental health problems themselves. Research has shown that genetics and environmental factors play a role in the transmission of mental health conditions, and growing up in a household with a parent experiencing mental illness can increase the likelihood of developing similar issues. It is therefore crucial to address parental mental health concerns not only for the well-being of the parent but also for the long-term mental health outcomes of their children.

Understanding the Hidden Effects of Parental Mental Health

While the impact of parental mental health on children is well-documented, there are also hidden effects that extend beyond the immediate family unit. For example, when a parent is struggling with mental health issues, it can strain the relationship with their partner or spouse. The non-affected partner may find themselves taking on additional responsibilities, both in terms of household duties and caring for the children. This imbalance can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and even burnout, as the burden of maintaining the family falls heavily on their shoulders.

Additionally, parental mental health can affect the extended family and the wider social network. Family members may feel helpless or unsure of how to support the parent and children, leading to strained relationships and a sense of isolation. Friends and acquaintances may also struggle to understand the challenges faced by the family, further contributing to the sense of stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues. By recognizing and acknowledging these hidden effects, we can begin to address them and provide the necessary support to families experiencing parental mental health challenges.

Common Mental Health Conditions in Parents

Parental mental health issues can manifest in various forms, with some conditions being more prevalent than others. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions experienced by parents. Depression can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of motivation, making it difficult for parents to engage with their children and meet their emotional needs. Anxiety, on the other hand, often manifests as excessive worry and fear, which can impact a parent’s ability to provide a secure and nurturing environment for their children.

Other mental health conditions that may affect parents include bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and substance abuse disorders. Bipolar disorder can result in extreme mood swings and erratic behavior, making it challenging for parents to maintain a stable and consistent presence for their children. Postpartum depression, which affects some new mothers, can interfere with the bonding process and disrupt the early stages of parent-child attachment. Substance abuse disorders can also have a profound impact on parenting abilities, as they can impair judgment, affect emotional stability, and lead to neglect or abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Parental Mental Health Issues

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of parental mental health issues is crucial for early intervention and support. It’s important to note that the symptoms may vary depending on the specific mental health condition and the individual’s unique circumstances. However, some common signs to look out for include:

  1. Changes in mood and behavior: Parents experiencing mental health issues may exhibit noticeable changes in their mood, such as increased irritability, anger, or sadness. They may also withdraw from social activities, lose interest in previously enjoyed hobbies, or display changes in sleep patterns and appetite.
  2. Difficulty functioning: Mental health issues can impact a parent’s ability to carry out daily tasks and responsibilities. They may struggle to maintain their personal hygiene, keep up with household chores, or fulfill their parental duties effectively.
  3. Neglecting self-care: Parents experiencing mental health challenges may neglect their own self-care, putting their physical health and well-being at risk. They may have difficulty attending medical appointments, taking prescribed medications, or engaging in activities that promote self-care and stress reduction.
  4. Affecting parent-child interactions: Mental health issues can interfere with the parent-child relationship, affecting the quality of interactions and the child’s emotional well-being. Parents may have difficulty engaging with their children, expressing affection, or responding to their emotional needs.
  5. Increased substance use: Some parents may turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with their mental health challenges. This can further exacerbate the negative effects on their parenting abilities and overall family dynamics.

If you notice any of these signs or suspect that a parent may be struggling with their mental health, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Encouraging open and non-judgmental communication can create a safe space for the parent to seek help and support.

The Ripple Effect: How Parental Mental Health Affects the Family Dynamic

The impact of parental mental health extends beyond the affected individual. The family dynamic can be significantly altered by the challenges faced by a parent with mental health issues. The strain on the parent-child relationship can lead to increased conflict, tension, and disrupted communication within the family. Children may feel a sense of insecurity and unpredictability, unsure of how their parent’s mental health will affect their daily lives.

Furthermore, the non-affected parent or partner may experience feelings of frustration, helplessness, and resentment. They may feel overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities they have to shoulder, leading to emotional and physical exhaustion. This strain can put a significant strain on the relationship, leading to increased conflict and a breakdown in communication.

The impact of parental mental health on siblings should also be acknowledged. Siblings may feel neglected or overshadowed by the needs of the affected parent, leading to feelings of resentment or a sense of invisibility within the family. It is important to provide support and understanding to all members of the family unit, ensuring that their emotional needs are met and their voices are heard.

Breaking the Silence: Why It’s Important to Talk About Parental Mental Health

Breaking the silence surrounding parental mental health is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to reduce the stigma and shame associated with mental health issues. By openly discussing these challenges, we can create a more compassionate and understanding society that supports individuals and families facing mental health difficulties.

Talking about parental mental health also raises awareness about the hidden effects it can have on children, partners, and the family dynamic. By shedding light on these issues, we can encourage earlier intervention and support, minimizing the long-term impact on families.

Furthermore, open and honest conversations about parental mental health can lead to increased access to resources and support services. Families may feel more empowered to seek help and guidance, knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. This can lead to improved outcomes for both the affected parent and the entire family.

Seeking Help and Support for Parental Mental Health

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges as a parent, it is important to seek help and support. Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources available to assist you in navigating these difficulties.

Start by reaching out to a healthcare professional, such as your family doctor or a mental health specialist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and connect you with appropriate support services.

Therapy can be an invaluable resource for both the affected parent and the entire family. Individual therapy can help the parent address their mental health challenges and develop coping strategies, while family therapy can improve communication, rebuild trust, and strengthen the family unit.

Support groups can also be beneficial, as they provide a safe space for parents to connect with others facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences, exchanging advice, and receiving validation can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide a sense of community.

Additionally, it is important to take care of your own well-being as a parent. Engage in self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Prioritize your physical health by eating nutritious meals, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish but necessary for your own well-being and your ability to care for your family.


Parental mental health has far-reaching effects on children, partners, and the overall family dynamic. By understanding and addressing these hidden effects, we can provide support and compassion to families facing these challenges. From the emotional toll it takes on children to the strain it puts on relationships, parental mental health requires our attention and understanding.

Breaking the silence surrounding parental mental health is crucial in order to reduce stigma, raise awareness, and provide access to resources and support. By having open and honest conversations, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive society for all families. Seeking help and support is essential, and there are resources available to assist parents and families in their journey towards healing and well-being.

Let us work together to break the silence, increase awareness, and provide support to families affected by parental mental health issues. By doing so, we can create a brighter future for all.

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The role of parental mental health in creating a healthy & thriving family.

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Parental mental health plays a crucial role in creating a healthy and thriving family. As a parent, our mental wellbeing directly impacts our ability to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for our children. When parents are mentally healthy, they are better equipped to handle the challenges of parenting, communicate effectively, and foster positive relationships within the family. In this article, we will explore the impact of parental mental health on the family, signs of parental mental health issues, the importance of seeking help and support, strategies for improving parental mental wellbeing, creating a healthy family environment, the role of communication in supporting parental mental health, resources and support for parents dealing with mental health issues, and the impact of parental mental health on children’s development.

Understanding the Impact of Parental Mental Health on the Family

Parental mental health has a profound effect on the entire family unit. When a parent is struggling with mental health issues, it can lead to increased stress, tension, and conflict within the family. Children may be more likely to experience emotional and behavioural difficulties, as they can sense when their parents are not well. Additionally, parental mental health issues can impact the parent-child relationship, making it challenging for parents to provide the care and support their children need. It is essential to recognise that parental mental health is not just an individual issue but one that affects the entire family system.

Signs of Parental Mental Health Issues

Recognising the signs of parental mental health issues is crucial in addressing them early and seeking appropriate help and support. Some common signs include persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, excessive irritability or anger, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It is essential to remember that everyone has ups and downs, but if these symptoms persist and interfere with daily functioning, it may indicate a more significant mental health issue. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is essential to reach out for professional assistance.

The Importance of Seeking Help and Support

Seeking help and support is vital for parents dealing with mental health issues. Many parents may feel hesitant or ashamed to seek help, fearing judgment or stigma. However, it is essential to remember that seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. By reaching out to mental health professionals or support groups, parents can access the necessary resources and strategies to manage their mental health and improve their overall wellbeing. Additionally, by seeking help, parents can model healthy coping mechanisms and resilience for their children, teaching them the importance of seeking support when needed.

Strategies for Improving Parental Mental Wellbeing

Improving parental mental wellbeing is a journey that requires conscious effort and self-care. Here are some strategies that can help parents prioritise their mental health:

  1. Self-Care: Make time for activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time in nature. It is essential to prioritise self-care and set boundaries to ensure personal needs are met.
  2. Social Support: Build a network of supportive friends, family members, or fellow parents who can offer a listening ear and understanding. Connecting with others who have similar experiences can provide validation and a sense of belonging.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle: Focus on maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity. These lifestyle factors can significantly impact mental wellbeing.
  4. Stress Management: Practice stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, or journaling. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress can enhance overall mental wellness.
  5. Professional Help: If needed, seek professional help from a mental health therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance, support, and evidence-based interventions to address specific mental health concerns.

Remember, improving parental mental wellbeing is an ongoing process, and it’s important to be patient and kind to oneself along the way.

Creating a Healthy and Thriving Family Environment

Creating a healthy and thriving family environment starts with prioritising parental mental wellbeing. When parents are mentally healthy, they are more likely to foster positive relationships, provide emotional support, and model healthy behaviors for their children. Here are some ways to create a healthy family environment:

  1. Open Communication: Encourage open and honest communication within the family. Creating a safe space where everyone can express their thoughts and feelings without judgment fosters trust and strengthens family bonds.
  2. Quality Time: Make time for quality family time regularly. Engage in activities that promote connection and create lasting memories, such as family meals, game nights, or outdoor adventures.
  3. Boundaries and Consistency: Establish clear boundaries and expectations within the family. Consistency in rules and routines helps children feel secure and provides a sense of structure.
  4. Emotional Support: Cultivate an environment that values emotional support and empathy. Encourage family members to validate each other’s feelings and provide comfort during challenging times.
  5. Conflict Resolution: Teach healthy conflict resolution skills to family members. Emphasise the importance of active listening, compromise, and finding win-win solutions.

By implementing these strategies, parents can create a nurturing and supportive family environment that promotes overall wellbeing and resilience.

The Role of Communication in Supporting Parental Mental Health

Effective communication is essential in supporting parental mental health. When parents feel heard and understood, it can alleviate stress and enhance their overall wellbeing. Here are some ways communication can support parental mental health:

  1. Active Listening: Practice active listening when engaging in conversations with your partner or children. Give your full attention, maintain eye contact, and show empathy by validating their feelings.
  2. Expressing Needs: Encourage family members to express their needs and emotions openly. Creating a safe space for open communication allows parents to voice their concerns, seek support, and find solutions together.
  3. Seeking Feedback: Regularly seek feedback from your partner and children about how you can better support their mental wellbeing. Actively involving everyone in the conversation fosters a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility.
  4. Problem-Solving: Use effective communication to address conflicts or challenges within the family. Encourage everyone to share their perspective and work together to find solutions that benefit the entire family.

Remember, communication is a two-way street, and it requires active participation from all family members. By prioritising open and supportive communication, parents can create a nurturing environment that promotes positive mental health for everyone.

Resources and Support for Parents Dealing with Mental Health Issues

If you are a parent dealing with mental health issues, know that you are not alone. There are numerous resources and support available to help you navigate this journey:

  1. Mental Health Professionals: Reach out to mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, who specialise in working with parents and families. They can provide individualised support and interventions tailored to your specific needs.
  2. Support Groups: Join local or online support groups for parents dealing with mental health issues. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide a sense of understanding, validation, and valuable insights.
  3. Hotlines and Helplines: Take advantage of helplines and hotlines that offer immediate support and guidance. They can provide a listening ear, crisis intervention, and connect you with local resources if needed.
  4. Online Resources: Explore reputable online resources that offer information, tools, and strategies for managing parental mental health. Websites, blogs, and forums dedicated to mental health can provide valuable insights and support.

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and reaching out for support is an important step towards improving your mental wellbeing and creating a healthy family dynamic.

The Impact of Parental Mental Health on Children’s Development

Parental mental health has a significant impact on children’s development. When parents are mentally healthy, they can provide the emotional support, stability, and guidance that children need to thrive. On the other hand, when parents are struggling with mental health issues, it can have adverse effects on children’s wellbeing. Some potential impacts include:

  1. Emotional Wellbeing: Children may experience increased stress, anxiety, or depression when their parents are not mentally well. They may struggle with regulating their emotions and developing healthy coping mechanisms.
  2. Behavioral Issues: Children may exhibit behavioral difficulties, such as aggression, withdrawal, or acting out, when their parents are dealing with mental health issues. They may also have difficulty with impulse control and decision-making.
  3. Academic Performance: Parental mental health can impact children’s academic performance. Children may have difficulty concentrating, completing tasks, or staying motivated in school.
  4. Interpersonal Relationships: Children may struggle with forming healthy relationships and developing social skills when their parents are not mentally well. They may have difficulty with trust, communication, and maintaining meaningful connections.

It is crucial to prioritise parental mental wellbeing to mitigate these potential impacts and provide children with a nurturing environment that supports their overall development.

Conclusion: Prioritising Parental Mental Wellbeing for a Healthy Family Dynamic

In conclusion, parental mental health plays a vital role in creating a healthy and thriving family. By understanding the impact of parental mental health on the family, recognising the signs of parental mental health issues, and seeking help and support, parents can prioritise their mental wellbeing. Strategies for improving parental mental wellbeing, creating a healthy family environment, and fostering open communication can further enhance overall family dynamics. Remember to utilise available resources and support, as well as recognise the impact of parental mental health on children’s development. By prioritising parental mental wellbeing, we can create a healthy and thriving family environment that benefits everyone involved.

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Let’s talk competitive parenting.

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Competitive parenting arises from the desire to ensure the best possible development of your children. However, it is easy to see your children too much as an extension of your own ego.

Most parents care deeply about doing a good job raising their children and it’s therefore tempting to make comparisons with other parents and other children to try to see whether the development of your child is ‘on track.’ ‘Good’ parenting has become quite complex and ‘success’ is assessed in a wide range of areas: academic, social, musical, athletic, spiritual, artistic, etc. 

There is also the danger of trying to see parenting as a ‘mechanistic’ input/output model with predictable outcomes. The extreme end of this is the ‘tiger mum’ approach that became popular in 2010s. It assumed that strict parenting characterised by discipline and commitment to excellence focusing on academic achievements creates ‘successful’ children. However, recent research suggest that tiger parenting does not produce high-achieving child prodigies but leaves children with social and psychological issues. This is not to say that parents shouldn’t be ambitious about educating their children. But it is important to keep a balance between the different educational goals and not to sacrifice the child’s happiness and mental wellbeing for pure academic success. 

Parents should also avoid seeing their children as an extension of their own ego or as the ultimate luxury accessory. While our children are the biological result of our gene pool, they are individuals in their own right and should be nurtured to develop their personality.  

The ‘concerted cultivation’ of children can lead to a sense of competition that hurts both children and parents. It makes parents feel anxious, inadequate, and critical of their kids. When parents feel anxious about how they or their children will be evaluated, they tend to behave in more controlling ways. Children who perceive higher levels of criticism from parents also report more feelings of depression and anxiety. At its worst, competitive parenting puts tremendous pressure on children, because the underlying message is that the child needs to achieve in order to prove that the parenting is successful.

It takes a conscious effort to resist the pull of competitive parenting. We need to recognise that our children are not lumps of clay to be moulded. They are each unique constellations of strengths and weaknesses, interests and aversions. They are shaped not just by us, their parents, but also by their own choices, experiences, and other relationships.

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