Adjusting to life as a parent can be a struggle. Just as no one’s experience is the same, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting and everyone faces different challenges. On top of these challenges as a parent, it is likely you have received conflicting advice on the best method of parenting.
It is common for parents to feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of constantly attending to the needs of their child, and ensuring the development of their social, emotional, and academic skills. Consequently, although being a parent may bring you many joys, it can also be extremely challenging emotionally, and consume many aspects of your life you may have enjoyed before having kids. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed due to your responsibilities as a parent, you may feel guilt or shame and therefore struggle to express these experiences to friends or family. A psychologist can help you identify, cope with and overcome parenting challenges, so that you can build the best possible relationship with your child.
Whether you’re the parent of a newborn, an adopted child, or are looking after a child which is not biologically your own, adjusting to life as a parent can be difficult for a variety of reasons. The time required each day to look after a child often demands the parent to find a balance with work and/or their relationship with a partner, and can put strain on the partner relationship when this balance is not able to be met. Furthermore, when communication between parents begins to break down this can impact the child, and inconsistency between parents can leave the child confused, and wanting to test behavioural boundaries.
If you are the parent of a newborn, the perinatal and infant period spans from the beginning of pregnancy up to the time that the baby is about one year old. This is a significant time of adjustment and stress, and emotional health problems may occur for parents. Many women and their partners experience feelings of distress and anxiety in the perinatal period. This is common and often resolves with support from a psychologist. For some people, adjustment will be more difficult and they may notice ongoing changes in mood, sleep, motivation, confidence and appetite. Other signs may include withdrawal from family and friends. Depression can also develop before or after the birth of the baby and if you or your family notice any of these changes it is a good idea to discuss them with a professional.
As a parent, you are the most influential person in your child’s life. From infancy, a child needs an attentive, emotionally responsive caregiver for their healthy physical, social and emotional development: a relationship in which the infant feels secure and connected to his/her caregiver promotes later psychological wellbeing.
At VCPS we provide support to mothers, fathers and children. This support aims to assist parents be more effective in tuning into their own emotions and needs, the needs of their partner, and to understand what their child requires at different stages of development. Our staff also assist mothers and fathers to support each other more effectively, create positive connections between themselves and their child.