Being a parent can be HARD.  Like what the heck do I do now kind of hard. And why is that? Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons you may not have considered previously and what you can do about it.

Contributed by Leda Rawlins, a certified parent coach

So, why is parenting so hard? Here are a couple of possibilities.

Lack of Training:

Ok, hear me out. The vast majority of the time, we receive at least some training for jobs. And not to mention schooling and degrees. And this job of parenting? Oh yes, the job that we can’t quit and it lasts, well forever? Most of us don’t have any training! Oh but wait, we DO have some training. And that training is how we were parented, and how our parents were parented. Have you ever had something come out of your mouth and you think . . . I sound like my mom or dad? That’s why. If we’re wanting to parent differently, it’s a lot more challenging because we’ve been trained since we were young. 


Along with the “training” we’ve received which affects how we parent, our life experiences have shaped our beliefs that may or may not be helping us in our parenting. These conscious and unconscious beliefs manifest in our head and are a little trickier to notice

Some examples of these thoughts are: 

  • My child is so disrespectful
  • If my child continues to behave like this, what are they going to be like as an adult?
  • My child doesn’t listen. How many times have I asked them to do something, and they                 don’t do it?

Our own nervous systems:

This one ties our training and beliefs together. When our children do something that upsets us, our own nervous systems (and our own “training” – from #1 above) get activated. So we’re not really parenting from the present moment. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re at Target and tell your kids they can get one item. They pick their item and ask for another, and another and another. You feel upset because they did not listen to you.

You might be thinking things to yourself like:

  • My child is so spoiled
  • What did I do to encourage entitlement?
  • Of course they can’t be happy with just one thing

These thoughts trigger a negative feeling in your body, your nervous system is activated and you’re no longer in the moment or able to simply tell your child “No, you can’t have another thing.” Instead, your body is in a heightened state and you’re reacting rather than calmly responding.

So, what can you do to help create ease in parenting?

1.   Get really curious about noticing (not judging!) your own reactions to your kids.  What behaviors of theirs trigger upset in you? Can you trace back the upset feeling to thoughts and beliefs you have? Do some journaling about it, look for patterns, and be gentle with yourself in the process.

2.   When you feel yourself getting upset in the moment with your child, put as much space as you can between “the thing they did” and your reaction to it. When you do this, your likelihood of responding rather than reacting significantly increases.

3.   Take some time to reflect on some of the beliefs you have in the parenting realm. Afterall, beliefs aren’t set in stone. They are just thoughts you’ve thought over and over again. If they aren’t helping you, do what you can to shift them or perhaps even let them go. 

Finally… know that the human brain isn’t fully developed until approximately age 25. Yes, 25! Sometimes simply remembering that you’re dealing with a human who has an underdeveloped brain can make your job easier. It can create a mindset shift for you which can help you find a little relief in your parenting.


Leda Rawlins is a wife, mom to a 9-year-old boy, and a certified parent coach who supports perfectly imperfect parents in finding more ease in their parenting. She has her B.S. in Child and Family Studies from UW – Madison and has called the Madison area home for the past 25 years. When she’s not helping families, she enjoys doing just about anything with her family, regularly googling new recipes to try, taking walks with her dog and spending time at her cottage. Her business is called Bloom Parent where she offers parent coaching via zoom. Sign up for her free guide to smoother transitions with your kids – and yes, that includes getting them off of screens!

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