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parenting issues(31 posts)

parenting issuesDougSloan
Jul 16, 2003 12:10 PM
Is it normal to think about the safety of your child nearly every waking and sleeping moment? While I worry a lot, now, my wife is even having bad dreams about horrific things happening. I told her that I think that's normal, and probably a necessary genetic trait to ensure propagation of the species.

Do all parents do this?


No fear that dominates your life is "normal".czardonic
Jul 16, 2003 12:15 PM
No parenting expertise here, though.
first child?kidrn
Jul 16, 2003 12:36 PM
...sounds perfectly normal. Lot's of info out there these days to maybe cause some worry.
Dominates? Caring for a one-year old is what dominates-filtersweep
Jul 18, 2003 6:37 AM
You've gone from zero to six hundred in two seconds... your child requires constant supervision and almost constant attention. Why would it NOT entire your subconscious? Kids are a part of you out there in the world where you do not always have control, and they are a never-ending commitment. The passage of time will be the only thing that provides reassurance that everything will be OK. You really are dealing with primal, cosmic forces... things we don't often experience in our sanitized existence on this planet.
How many children and how old? (nm)94Nole
Jul 16, 2003 12:24 PM
1 yr old (and another on the way) nmDougSloan
Jul 16, 2003 1:03 PM
Yep, I agree with the others. First child anxiety.94Nole
Jul 16, 2003 1:10 PM
The nightmares might be pushing the envelope but the other stuff is pretty normal I would say.

Not an expert but I do have two boys, almost 14 and 10. When you figure out that children can handle just about anything, you start settling down quite a bit.

We certainly have issues and concerns for our children that our parents didn't have.
Hey! Irish twins. Congrats!! nmKristin
Jul 16, 2003 1:10 PM
congrats. you're really in for it. nmJS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 8:23 AM
Yes, its normalmoneyman
Jul 16, 2003 12:28 PM
And it continues forever. It does not matter how old your children are, there is always that nagging fear. When they are small, you fear that someone will take them, or that they will fall and hurt themselves. When they are larger, the fears are about the decisions they make, or will they come home in one piece after driving off by themselves for the first time. Get used to it.As long as you care, you will fear.

Don't let it become an obsession. Just understand that it is a constant. I think it is highly corelated to the amount of love you have for your child.

re: parenting issuesStarliner
Jul 16, 2003 1:02 PM
I think you might replace the word "normal" with "common" so as not to judge yourselves poorly. I have a girl and a boy, but I'm not a worry wart like you describe. Nonetheless, I'd always have concern that they were safe.

I think it's "normal" to be concerned, but not to the extent that you're losing sleep over fears that otherwise have no basis. Bringing up a child is akin to working yourself out of a job. In other words, your mission for the next 15 years or so is to delegate to your child the responsibilities of life (such as personal safety) that you now are in control of.

For some parents, that may be a difficult concept to grasp. So, it's just something to work on, and I'm sure as you do, things are going to work out for you and your family.
not normalColnagoFE
Jul 16, 2003 1:08 PM
you always worry some about them, but if you are obsessing about it then that doesn't sound normal to me. 1st kids are always worse than 2nd though. i remember freaking out when i had my 1st and now i don't stress nearly as much. you'll drive yourself crazy if you do.
"an heir and a spare"DougSloan
Jul 16, 2003 1:25 PM
Yes, we already worry about the 2nd less than the first at that point.
Not sure, but...Kristin
Jul 16, 2003 1:47 PM
It might coincide with your son entering his next stage of development: Individuation. Its really facinating what happens in kids from 12 mo to 3 years. It involves a lot of independance and pushing away. Kinda scary for first time parents, I would imagine. There is lots of information out there about this stage and why its an important part of childhood.

I might guess that your son has started to push away very slighly, beginning this new leg of his adventure. Perhaps this is scaring your wife on a subconscious level. You probably don't have time to read books about it, so perhaps you might meet with a therapist a couple times and discuss what's going on. It couldn't hurt. From everything I've read, this is the stage that is the most difficult for parents, and the hardest to navigate well. Good luck!
Jul 16, 2003 2:20 PM
Funny, just Saturday I took Luke to Chuck E. Cheese. While I've done this a number of times, this was the first time he was able to climb up into this sort of "fort" thing, where the kids and do various activities. He got up in the thing, and it's made in a way that would keep me from getting in there, too, unless I'd make a real fool of myself. He had a blast playing on his own and with the other kids in there, and only occasionally looking around to see if dad was watching. It was a really odd feeling, seeing a bit of independence beginning. I felt removed a bit, even though I was really only a few feet away. Bottom line, though, is that I felt really proud how he handled himself.


therapist....takes time....kidrn
Jul 16, 2003 6:43 PM
read a book.....I would recommend any of the AAP (american acadamy of pediatrics)growth and development books...or use this message board.....don't sweat the small stuff...enjoy them and let them discover...they grow like weeds.
Kristin is dead on.94Nole
Jul 17, 2003 4:29 AM
There ain't no one in a toddler's world but that toddler. We almost gave our 2nd child away when he was about 18 months old. Of course, I jest, but it was a very trying time, especially for my wife. You'll certainly have your collective hands full when the new one arrives.

But hang in, the joys far outweigh the pain. Ours are now 10 and almost 14 and I couldn't have picked out two anybetter if I had've picked them from a catalog. Of course with a 14 year old, my days may be numbered.
A friend said, "Haven't had a full night's sleep in 33 years"cory
Jul 16, 2003 4:12 PM
This is merely additional amateur opinion, but while CONCERN is certainly typical, the level of fear you describe seems excessive to me. But that could be because my kids are 22 and 18, and we got the older one through childhood cancer (sorry to throw in a new worry, but after that, day-to-day problems just don't seem like that big a deal).
I don't mean to dismiss your fears (I'm almost pathologically protective of my kids even now), but it might be helpful to remember that most children do fine--they grow up, stay healthy, don't get killed in the car crash, make it through college and move out, where you'll still worry but won't have to do it face to face.
I think (oh, no: amateur psychoanalysis, too!) the stage-of-development thing someone else mentioned could be a factor, too--he's getting older and is able to do some things without you now (just wait another year, and he'll INSIST on it). Plus the new baby is already a presence, even though s/he's still unborn. The two of you may be aware of how that will change things, or even feel some subconscious guilt about not being able to give your full attention to the first child. Or, hell, maybe not. But chances are overwhelming that everything will be fine.
re: parenting issuesPMC
Jul 17, 2003 6:29 AM
Being the parent of a teenage boy, I worry more now than I did when he was younger. Concern for your children's safety is natural and shows you and your wife have the paternal/maternal instincts most good parents have.

The bad dreams your wife is suffering through may be a different story although I'm no expert and don't pretend to be.
You have to accept that the kind of control...........Len J
Jul 17, 2003 7:20 AM
we want to protect our kids is an illusion.

The older they get, the less direct control, or ability to protect them, you have.

It's natural to have fears, it's not natural "every waking and sleeping moment" to be consumed by it.

As a result of being a non-custody parent (post divorce), I was forced to acknowledge that I had little if any control over their day to day lives. I couldn't be there to protect them. As a result of this, I decided that I wanted to "arm them" with good decision making skills. I wanted them to be able to "do the right thing" without me being there. All of my parenting energy was directed at making them self-sufficient adults. I know that I couldn't have done this as well if I was there every day, it would be too easy to "protect them". Kids (and all of us) learn best from our mistakes. Part of a parents role is to allow their kids to take ever increasing risks (and consequently make mistakes) but manage the potential consequences. This IMO is the hardest thing in parenting........letting go. Most parents either let go too much or not enough. I move back and forth & have to pay attention to this daily.

If your wife can't find a healthy fear balance, where it is not consuming her, she needs to get help sorting this out. If she doesn't resolve this, your child may suffer.

At the end of the day, it's a scary world. Lot's of bad things can (& do) happen. But either you can be content that you can only do the best you can, and let go of what you can't control, or you can drive yourself & those around you nuts.

Fears are healthy, constant fears that overly affect your actions are not. Only you & she can determine where her fears are on this scale.

Good Luck

bravo...well saidKristin
Jul 17, 2003 8:09 AM
Len, your kids are truly blessed. You're one of the wisest parents I've encountered. Thanks for the post.
Thanks....wisdom comes from........Len J
Jul 17, 2003 9:22 AM
many mistakes (in my case). I wish that I knew then what I know now.

If I can be a better parent today than yesterday, I feel succussful.

Len, your posts never disappoint. nmJS Haiku Shop
Jul 17, 2003 8:28 AM
Len, your posts never disappoint.Jon Billheimer
Jul 17, 2003 1:02 PM
Len, I totally agree with your post. I'd like to add one more thing though. Remember the "culture of fear" theme that Czardonic posted below? It's truly pervasive and insidious, warping peoples' perceptions of reality and creating a mass mental illness of sorts. I've raised three kids. My wife obsesses over risks that I never do, and the ones that preoccupy her are the ones that in my opinion are the most remote, e.g. child kidnappings, molestations, etc. These things are beamed into our homes daily via television and internet, but in fact seldom if ever are a part of our personal experience. Skinned knees, school yard bullies, etc. are the common and constant features of growing up and haven't changed a heck of a lot over the years. However, our tolerance for these things has been reduced because of our media-induced paranoia. My 2 cents.
Right, right--this can be the media's fault, too.cory
Jul 17, 2003 4:16 PM
After all, we're all liberal and we have so much power that we were able to block the election of Ronald Reagan, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the ascension of Clarence Thomas and the appointment of G.W. Bush....
Uh, sorry, but this is something I feel pretty strongly about. Among the many conservative contradictions is the claim that people are able to form their own opinions and be responsible for their own actions without government interference, juxtaposed against the claim that the media have to be muzzled because people aren't smart enough to sort through the information. I could argue for either one, but you can't have both.
I don't follow your reasoning.czardonic
Jul 17, 2003 5:01 PM
For the record, I think the notion of a liberal media is laughable. But, whether the media is liberal or conservative (or either) is not the issue. The issue is the media's undeniable role in scewing public perception. That a person could technically divine the truth from the litany of spin, titilation and pander that passes for news these days is hardly relevant. What the average American see's when he or she turns on the evening news is no longer news. It is entertainment designed not to inform but to encourage viewership. It plays to fears and desires that predictably dovetail quite nicely with the commercial interests of the parent corporations that provide or sponsor this "service".

That's not to say that the politicization (by either side) of news is not a problem. It is simply one facet of the disinformation spewing out of the once respectable Fourth Estate. It is a sad state of affairs when the public must sort out the truth because the notion of objectivity barely remains as a pretense, and it has a predictable effect on the degree to which people pay attention at all to things that matter.
I don't follow your reasoning.Jon Billheimer
Jul 17, 2003 8:54 PM
I also think it's as much an effect of ubiquitous information technology as outright content of the news. We're simply bombarded constantly with messages, most of which are negative. This is no different than news always has been, but the volume's been turned up 100-fold.
No no, Its the public schools faultKristin
Jul 18, 2003 5:56 AM
They teach us that there is only one right answer to all questions and that they will tell us what that answer is. The mass production of zombies primed for a media frenzy.

Or perhaps we should blame it on the weather.

Oh, let's just go full circle and end this at the sourceStarliner
Jul 19, 2003 8:42 PM
Not trying to be a shill for the media, but not everyone is negatively conditioned by media bombardment and slanted coverage. I think Doug would be the last one to admit mind pollution from listening to Rush.

So my hunch is that Doug's problem lies within his family. They are likely afflicted with perfectionist's syndrome. Symptoms include overly controlling behavior, fear of failure, need to be 'right', etc.

To help get through the day, people with this affliction commonly develop behavior patterns which make it difficult for them to live with another, and for others to live with them. One example is the "win-win" scenario, where they operate from a perspective of fear and doubt. If the fears come true, they can tell the world "I told you so, I was Right"; and if the fears do not happen, their life is for the moment satisfactory. Either way, it's a winning situation for that person. But misery for those who live with them and who see things otherwise.

When an infant comes into the picture, things get complicated as one's ability to control situations is tested, and weakened from outside influences (school, friends, personal decisions).

At this point, for this kind of person, I think it is a good time to get some family counseling (and some personal sessions too).
Jul 20, 2003 1:17 PM
My post was making light of the blame game that was going on. At this point I could add to it and blame Dougs parents and inlaws. :-)

However, your post seems a very assumptive. Unless, of course, you are Mr & Mrs. Sloan's personal therapist. While some of your statements are true, your perspective is that of a victim looking for restitution. Your posts paints Mrs. Sloan in a pretty negative light. That kind of talk never moves anyone forward towards healing. It usually only produces shame, which hinders healthy behavior. A therapist (correction, a good therapist) would never say such things.
Taking care of the triplets this week.Spoke Wrench
Jul 18, 2003 9:56 AM
My daughter has 2 1/2 year old triplet boys. My wife and I have been taking care of them while the rest of the family is in Florida. We've taken them some places (parks, an airport, the school bus lot and the carwash) and had some fun.

I find it to be fairly low intensity but it sure is CONSTANT. I don't think that I am very well suited for this sort of thing because my attention span is too short. I'm ready to go home.