3 Parenting Reminders for Managing Negative Thoughts
Posted March 18, 2016 by Rebecca Wolfenden, 1-on-1 Coach
Parenting is tough. We speak to many people every day who are struggling with challenging parenting issues. It’s easy and normal to get caught up in negative thoughts about yourself and your family.
Here are some common thoughts we hear from parents:
“I love my family, but sometimes I don’t like being a parent.”
”My friends’ kids are so easy! Why can’t my kids be like them?”
“I’m just not good at this, I’m failing as a parent.”
When we compare how other people seem on the outside to how we are feeling on the inside, it is easy to be discouraged and feel isolated in our struggles. The truth is, no one has it all figured out, and we all have negative thoughts about ourselves or our families at times.
So what do you do when you are stuck in negative thinking? Here are some things we’ve learned from working with so many parents over the years.
What our community members have taught us about managing negative thoughts:
Don’t compare. Things might look better on the outside than they are on the inside. Don’t compare your life to someone’s social media pictures. Everyone has moments where they make parenting mistakes. Everyone has moments where they regret their words or their actions and they wish they could start the day over. This comes with the job. There is no such thing as a perfect parent.
It is O.K. to ask for help. When you are feeling stuck or unsure of what to do next, it is okay to reach out to a friend or to find resources online to help you. Sometimes talking to someone else can bring a new perspective and can give you some new ideas.
You are not alone. The coaching team has the privilege of speaking with so many parents from all around the world. We can tell you that if you are feeling overwhelmed, tired, worried, or upset about a parenting challenge, you are in very good company here. It is very common to feel this way.
When you are having negative thoughts, be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that we are all just doing the best that we can. We are all in this together. We’re glad you are here with us.
Rebecca, Empowering Parents Coach
Interesting report for our diverse families.
The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) is proud to announce the release of our new report by Dr. David Brodzinsky and Dr. Abbie Goldberg entitled “Practice Guidelines Supporting Open Adoption in Families Headed by Lesbian and Gay Male Parents: Lessons Learned from the Modern Adoptive Families Study.”
Our 2015 Modern Adoptive Families (MAF) Study was designed to explore similarities and differences in family characteristics, experiences and adjustment outcomes in different types of adoptive families. Based on this study, the new report contains important practice guidelines supporting families headed by lesbians and gay men who are navigating open adoption. The research also indicates a growing interest in establishing open adoption arrangements with the birth family among all types of families adopting domestically, regardless of parental sexual orientation.
The MAF study report reveals that lesbian and gay male parents are as motivated as heterosexual parents, and sometimes more so, to establish and maintain contact with the birth family compared to heterosexual parents. This commitment to openness and transparency from lesbian and gay male adoptive parents is a hopeful indication and echoes the importance of continuing to move from a transactional approach to a more transformational one.
In addition, I recently had the honor of chatting with Brian Rosenberg, CEO of Gays With Kids about transracial adoption, the importance of having transformational conversations about differences of race, class and culture and acting on what we know from research and lived experiences to help children fully embrace all parts of their identity. Watch the videos here.
Both the MAF study report and Gays With Kids videos illustrate the importance of understanding and supporting 21st Century families by infusing more openness in adoption and working to remove biases of race, class and culture. Every family deserves the chance to be strong, and in adoption, we can strengthen families by making sure professionals and parents have the resources they need.
We encourage you to share any questions and thoughts on our report at . We would also be extremely grateful if you would take this opportunity to help us continue our vital work by making an online donation today.