5 greatest parenting fears - and what you can do about them!
We tend to fear things that are beyond our control - but what are your biggest fears as a parent? Check out our list now, and find out how you can overcome them.
It’s been said that the tendency to worry will somehow be woven into our DNA the minute we become a parent.
As a mum, I certainly can attest to that. When my daughter was born, I constantly worried about everything. During the first three months, I kept a diary of her sleeping and breastfeeding schedule. I also tried to establish a daily routine, and made sure that this was followed to a tee. For days when her schedule went beyond the norm, I’ll find myself fretting and hoping that this will not cause her to be unsettled or overstimulated.
Now that my little one is now a toddler, I have learnt to let go by giving her freedom to explore her surroundings. But at the same time, I have developed a whole new set of fears and worries as I realise that it won’t be long until my little girl move on from being totally dependent on me to becoming her own person.
So, in a bid to help out other parents who might be feeling the same way, here's a list of the top five greatest parenting fears - together with some tips to help you overcome them.
1. Helping your child realise her potential
As parents who are bringing up young kids in Singapore, the issue of education is constantly on our minds. We are aware of the pressure for kids to be able to catch up and do well in school - and so we do everything we can to prepare them for that.
With that perception, in comes the bulk of educational toys and apps, as well as enrichment and tuition classes for our kids. In fact, previous reports from the Department of Statistics in 2012 show that Singaporean families spend $1.1 billion a year on tuition.
What you can do
Early childhood education experts agree that it’s not necessary to buy every educational toy in the market or get stressed up by ensuring that every hour of your child’s day is filled with enrichment activities.
Paul Donahue, author of Parenting Without Fear, affirms that constant parental hovering actually makes it harder for kids to develop their independence, imagination and basic life skills. As these are crucial for your kids once they start school, you will be doing them a world of good by letting them play and explore on their own occasionally.
Read the rest of the top parenting fears on the next few pages.
2. Avoiding accidents
As parents, we constantly fear for your kids’ safety. We imagine the different ways that they’ll trip and fall, or choke on tiny items while exploring the house. As they grow up, we worry about them being involved in accidents as they travel to school and back.
Turns out, this might be something that we can control after all by taking preventive measures. According to statistics from the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), 60 per cent of childhood injuries occur at home, 10 per cent happened at playgrounds, while the remaining five to six per cent involved road traffic accidents.
What you can do
To avoid accidents from happening at home, you can start by doing some basic safe proofing such as installing covers for wall plugs. Andrew Esmonde-White, founder of kluje.com (a home renovation website in Singapore) emphasised that certain areas (i.e. the kitchen and bathrooms) should be kept out of bounds from your kids through dividers and safety barriers.
It is also important to go through road safety rules with your kids and ensure that they take note of the following:
- Look left, look right, and then look left once again before crossing the road
- Do not run when crossing the road
- Wait for the “green man” to blink before crossing the road
- Do not run after your ball if it fall beyond the playground and lands on the road. Always ask for help from an adult nearby
3. Disciplining with love
Despite loving our kids with all our hearts, there are times when discipline needs to come in. While this will go a long way to set our kids on the right path of good behaviour, our kids may not understand the need for rules.
They are bound to wonder why mum and dad are being so harsh - and that is when the question “Do mum and dad still love me?” come in.
What you can do
According to US-based psychiatrist Michael Brody, it is important to explain house rules and the type of behaviour that is expected of your kids at home. If rules are vague, or discussed only when they are broken, your kids will end up getting confused and have a hard time following them.
However, it is also important that you “catch” your kids on their best behaviour as well. Make sure to acknowledge that, as this would definitely motivate them to keep that up. After all, you’ll definitely get a lot further with positive reinforcement than otherwise.
4. Taking care of your kids' health
Picky eating, obesity and severe weight loss are common health problems that parents constantly worry about.
According to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) Singapore, the prevalence of childhood obesity in Singapore has been on the rise over the past few decades and currently stands at 11%. On the other hand, a survey conducted in 2012 by the National University of Singapore found that 1 in 2 Singaporean parents classify their kids as picky eater.
The great news is that all hope is not lost, as there are several preventive measures that you can take to protect your kids from these health risks.
What you can do
Nutrition during the early years plays an important role in the health and well-being of your kids. So, start by taking small steps in healthy eating during this time to combat the risks of your child being overweight or losing weight severely.
Karin G Reiter, medical nutritionist and founder of Nutritious & Delicious, recommends that parents themselves show a good example to their kids when it comes to healthy food choices. “Start by getting them involved in grocery shopping and food preparation. Kids are very proud of their accomplishments, so if they’ve helped to make dinner, they are more likely to eat it,” she shared.
5. Living long enough to see your kids grow up
We go to great lengths to ensure that our kids are happy and healthy. As a result of this, our own health and well-being get pushed aside - and these health and medical conditions are only discovered when things have progressed to a critical stage.
Some of these cases have even resulted in the sudden death of a parent - leaving the kids and spouse to deal with the loss of someone they love and need most in their lives.
What you can do:
HPB recommends that everyone - regardless of age and health status - go for regular health screenings so that diseases and life-threatening conditions can be detected early.
To educate Singaporeans on the importance of health screening and vaccination, HPB recently launched Screen for Life. Here, you’ll get relevant, bite-sized information on all the health conditions and diseases that you should be screened for, based on your age and gender, for all stages of life.
Apart from providing information on the conditions, the website also provided other useful details such as:
- Places to get these health checks done
- Documents to take along with you
- Preparations required prior to the health checks
- What happens on the day of screening and after that
So, do take charge of your health for the sake of your family by scheduling a health screening appointment with your doctor today.
For more information on health screenings, do visit screenforlife.sg or call 1800 223 1313.
Got more tips on dealing with parenting fears? Tell us how you cope with it by leaving a comment below!