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Parenting Is Always Challenging, Do We Need A License For Being A Parent?

Parenting Is Always Challenging, Do We Need A License For Being A Parent?

We need a licence as a proof of qualification for driving, teaching, doctoring and many more things. We believe that these things require professional qualification because it’ll be dangerous to have unqualified people perform these jobs.

Parenting is not an easy job. How a child is raised shape the kind of person they become in future. But despite the fact that parents have a very great impact on their children, no license is needed for being a parent.

Even the basic needs for a child can be a great challenge for parents.

You must have heard about the many sleepless nights a parent has to get over when their baby wakes up in the middle of the night crying for food; or the many times a toddler just want to be held in the arms instead of walking in the street even though the parent is already exhausted after a whole day out playing with the child etc.

Children depend on their parents for pretty much everything ranging from basic survival needs to care and guidance. They need attention and parents simply can’t ignore the attention their children need.

Aside from the basic survival needs such as feeding and accommodation; responsible parents should be aware of the children’s development too.

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To teach children the right attitudes and values, parents have to be good role models.

Children tend to learn about morality from their family, so parents are responsible for being a role model and demonstrate the appropriate values to children. If a parent wants to teach their child about the importance of being honest, they should demonstrate honesty in front of them.

As children grow bigger and reach the stage of teenagers, it may be difficult for parents to communicate with them. Teens start to become aware of their individuality, and tend to question or even challenge their parents’ authority[1] but this can be a great chance for parents to demonstrate their communication skills and respect of individuality when they try to talk with their young boys or girls.

Parents should show that they’re willing to listen to their children and openly talk about their thoughts. It is hard, but patience is the key to maintaining a good parent and child relationship here. When children feel that they’re being respected, and that their parents are treating them and talking with them like an adult, they’re more willing to talk about their issues and will also show respect to their parents and other family members.

Parenting is always about striking a balance; and it’s never easy even for anyone who’s not a parent.

Children are not like machines; there isn’t a standard way to input data that automagically leads to desirable ‘outcomes’. Parents have to learn how to properly nurture their children by striking a balance about discipline and freedom; and very often, they have to learn on the go by observation and accumulating experiences.

A good parent is able to be strict about certain boundaries while at the same time allowing their child plenty of freedom to explore and learn on their own.[2] Setting boundaries which the child must stay within teaches them to respect others and to control themselves; on the other hand, giving a child enough room to develop themselves shows that the parent respects and trusts them.

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After all, learning through experience is crucial to building a person’s character.

Bad parenting will have tremendous consequences, for both the children and the society.

We can look at an extreme example of this: in 2011, an 11-year-old was involved in a gun-relating crime, and was arrested for that.

Columbia County Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan said,[3]

I think we attribute it to parents who need to pay more attention to their children. The problem almost always starts at home. Some role models set poor standards for behavior and are unaware of their children’s habits.

Another example is, in 2009, a 6-year-old crashed his family’s car in an attempt to drive himself to school after missing the bus because his mother was sleeping at home.[4] The boy allegedly “learned to drive” by playing the M-rated video game GTA.

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These are just a few of millions of unfortunate stories of parents who set their children wrong boundaries and do not care for their needs as they should have, and ruin their future as a result. And good parenting can prevent all these from happening.

Besides all the challenges in raising children, parents have to make sacrifices in life, especially their pleasures.

This is particularly true for a new parent.

Besides all the necessities such as diapers, day-care, and medicine that parents have to spend on the children, they have to change the way they live and make sacrifices to a certain extent.

A good parent has to be willing to give up a lot of good nights’ sleep, the times to hang out with friends and the quiet ‘me time’ to just rest and do nothing.

Parents probably can’t have the used-to-be romantic times with just the couple having a dinner date or going out for a movie any more because most of their time and energies are spent on being with the children, and they simply prefer resting than any kinds of dating activities. It’s also hard for them to just put off their lovely children for some times.

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However, going through the hardship of raising a child can also be an invaluable opportunity for the couple to understand themselves and each other better.

Parenting is not easy; but nothing worth it comes easy.

Now that you understand the many challenges that a parent faces, what do you think about the idea of having a parent’s license?

Even though there’s no licence for being a parent right now, parents should hold themselves accountable. Parenting should always be taken seriously and it’s good for parent-to-be to get better prepared before they welcome their children.

For instance, they can read books on parenting, join some parenting workshops and learn from other parents’ experiences. They can also look up to their own parents as role models, and reflect on their own childhood experiences.

But the lesson here is that, parenting is an art that can’t be underrated, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges of parenting.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Wen Shan

Proud Philosophy grad. Based in HK.

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Published on November 30, 2018

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Signs of Postnatal Depression And What to Do When It Strikes

Postpartum depression (PPD) strikes about 15% of women around childbirth.[1] Moreover, this mood disorder is estimated to affect 1% to 26% of new fathers.[2] The causes of which are thought to be linked to hormonal changes, genetics, previous mental illness and the obvious change in circumstance.

The stigma of mental health – with or without support from family members and health professionals – often deters women from seeking help for their PPD. In this article, I will show you 10 ways to begin overcoming PPD.

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

Postnatal depression is defined as depressive disorder, beginning anytime within pregnancy up to the first year of the child’s life. The symptoms of post natal depression are the same as those of depression. In order to receive a diagnosis from the doctor, 5 symptoms must be shown over a two week period. The symptoms and criteria are:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Low libido
  • Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
  • Poor self-care
  • Social withdrawal
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
  • Lack of concentration and poor memory
  • Fear that you can not care for the baby or fear of the baby
  • Worry about harming self, baby, or partner

Should you, a friend or your partner be showing any of these signs, I recommend you to seek medical advice.

Causes of Post Natal Depression

It is worth noting here that there is a difference between what is commonly known as ‘The Baby Blues’ and post natal depression.

Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues,” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. The Baby Blues should clear within 14 days, if not it is likely an indicator of something more in depth.

It is not known exactly what causes post natal depression, however there are some correlating factors. These factors have a close correlation and haven’t been shown to cause PPD:

  • Prenatal depression or anxiety
  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
  • Stressful life events experienced during pregnancy
  • Maternity blues
  • Birth-related psychological trauma
  • Birth-related physical trauma
  • Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
  • Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childcare or life stress
  • Low social support
  • Poor marital relationship or single marital status
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Infant temperament problems/colic
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Elevated prolactin levels
  • Oxytocin depletion

One of the strongest predictors of paternal PPD is having a partner who has PPD, with fathers developing PPD 50% of the time when their female partner has PPD. [3]

Ways to Overcome Post Natal Depression

1. Seek Medical Help

As knowledge of PPD grows, more and more physicians are becoming aware of the indicators and risk factors. This means that health care providers are looking for signs as early as their first prenatal care visit.

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If you are at risk, letting your provider know early in your pregnancy means that you’ll be given extra support and care throughout the process. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If it’s detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Experts have also found that children can be affected by a parent’s untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep disturbances, impaired cognitive development, insecurity, and frequent temper tantrums.

2. Therapy

This is the first line of defence against post natal depression and will commonly be prescribed alongside medication. Around 90% of post natal depression cases in women are treated with a combination of the two treatments.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare. Your counselor will ask questions about your life, and it’s important you answer honestly. You won’t be judged for what you tell, and whatever you talk about will be just between the two of you. Your counselor will teach you how to look at some things differently, and how to change certain habits to help yourself feel better.

Therapy is personalized for everyone, but women in counselling for postpartum depression often discuss topics including; who you’re feeling, your behaviour, your actions and your life. (If you need immediate support please call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. The toll-free call is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.)

3. Medication

There have been a few studies of medications for treating PPD, however, the sample sizes were small, thus evidence is generally weak.

Some evidence suggests that mothers with PPD will respond similarly to people with major depressive disorder. There is evidence which suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective treatment for PPD.

However, a recent study has found that adding sertraline, an SSRI, to psychotherapy does not appear to confer any additional benefit. Therefore, it is not completely clear which antidepressants are most effective for treatment of PPD.

There are currently no antidepressants that are FDA approved for use during lactation. Most antidepressants are excreted in breast milk. However, there are limited studies showing the effects and safety of these antidepressants on breastfed babies.

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4. Communication with Partner

Don’t blame yourself, your partner, close friends or relatives. Life is tough at this time, and tiredness and irritability can lead to quarrels.

‘Having a go’ at your partner can weaken your relationship when it needs to be at its strongest. It can be a huge relief to talk to someone understanding.

By spending time with your partner doing activities that you both enjoy, like going for a walk, can really help. This change of state, from moving location, can significantly elevate mood whilst providing ‘neutral ground’ in which to open up communication.

Be honest with your partner and show ways in which they can support you best through this time, even if it’s just talking or letting you have time to go take a shower.

5. Self Care and Rest

Don’t try to be ‘superwoman’. Try to do less and make sure that you don’t get over-tired. It’s common that women are the experts at ‘being busy’ and ‘doing it all’.

Rest whilst the baby is sleeping, and really take time to prioritise yourself. Throughout life, if you’re constantly giving out energy, you will be left feeling unbalanced. It’s important to become aware of one’s energy and making sure to give yourself energy first, before giving out is imperative.

Your body has just been through the trauma of the birth, which is very stressful. It therefore needs time to recover so taking time to yourself is important. Things as simple as a cup of tea, or shower or listening to music will really help.

6. Supplementation (especially DHA)

St John’s Wort is a herbal remedy available from chemists. There is evidence that it is effective in mild to moderate depression. It seems to work in much the same way as some antidepressants, but some people find that it has fewer side-effects.

One problem is that St John’s Wort can interfere with the way other medications work. If you are taking other medication, you should discuss it with your doctor. This is very important if you are taking the oral contraceptive pill. St John’s Wort might stop your pill working. This can lead to an unplanned pregnancy.

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It is also worth noting that fish oil (containing DHA) is being shown to correlate with lower instances of PPD. DHA consumption during pregnancy — at levels that are reasonably attained from foods — has the potential to decrease symptoms of postpartum depression,” conclude study researchers led by Michelle Price Judge, PhD, RD, a faculty member at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.

7. Movement

Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor and find a fully qualified pre and post natal specialist. That being said, there is plenty of movement that can be done prior to ‘hitting the gym’, such as walking.

Not only does being outside positively benefit you by getting some fresh air and vitamin D. The same is said for your baby, who will likely sleep better once they’ve been outside. Exercise gets your endorphins going, which helps alleviate depression symptoms, It can also get you focused on something for yourself. In an analysis of data from 1996 to 2016, researchers discovered that moms who stayed physically active after birth experienced fewer depressive symptoms.[4] In contrast, one study found women who led a more sedentary lifestyle were, in general, more likely to experience postpartum depression in the first place. [5]

The type of workout doesn’t matter much. Yoga for pregnant women, stretching, and cardio are essentially equal in terms of making you feel better.

8. Socializing and Support Groups

Do go to local groups for new mothers or postnatal support groups. Your health visitor can tell you about groups in your area. You may not feel like going to these groups if your are depressed.

See if someone can go with you. You may find the support of other new mothers helpful. You may find some women who feel the same way as you do.

9. Accept Help

Some cultures believe that the symptoms of postpartum depression or similar illnesses can be avoided through protective rituals in the period after birth. Chinese women participate in a ritual that is known as “doing the month” (confinement) in which they spend the first 30 days after giving birth resting in bed, while the mother or mother-in-law takes care of domestic duties and childcare.

Whilst this may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that being able to accept help from your friends, partner and family can be extremely beneficial.

10. Avoid Smoking, Drink and Drugs

Which may seem common sense, however you may be tempted by the short term ‘fix’.

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Don’t use alcohol or drugs. They may make you feel better for a short time, but it doesn’t last. Alcohol and drugs can make depression worse. They are also bad for your physical health.

Final Thoughts

Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. One in four mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old. However, this can mean a lot of suffering.

PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well.

PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended. So the shorter it lasts, the better.

Sometimes there is an obvious reason for PND, but not always. You may feel distressed, or guilty for feeling like this, as you expected to be happy about having a baby. However, PND can happen to anyone and it is not your fault.

It’s never too late to seek help. Even if you have been depressed for a while, you can get better. The help you need depends on how severe your illness is. Mild PND can be helped by increased support from family and friends.

Featured photo credit: Derek Thomson via unsplash.com

Reference

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