Every parent will, at some point, doubt themselves. That's totally normal, by the way. My mother always told me that a good parent is occasionally nervous because it means you care enough about your child's well-being to be worried. So you are definitely not alone if you have experienced common parenting fears. As with most fears though, they may be rooted in a place of legitimate concern, they can often turn out to really not be as big as you might have made them out to be in your head. How many times have you stressed over something, even before you were a parent, only to realize that everything ended up just fine?
Sure, there are some fears that will probably always linger throughout parenthood. I don't know a single parent who doesn't think about their child's safety from time to time or lose a little sleep when their children are sick. Although it can be healthy to keep your kid's welfare in mind, you might be shocked to know that some of your biggest parenting fears aren't really as big and bad as they seem. Sound to good to be true? Well check out some of the parenting fears that you shouldn't have and you might be surprised.
1. Will A Stranger Danger My Child?
This goes against everything your parents and teachers warned you about, I know. But it turns out that wasting time worrying about things like kidnapping, scary strangers, and things of that nature are really quite unfounded.
Parenting expert and author Christie Barnes told NPR that those kind of worries aren't even statistically in the top five causes of children getting hurt. Though there is always a one in a million chance of something dangerous and unexpected happening, it's good to remember that "one in a million" means it is a pretty rare occurrence.
2. Is My Baby Crying Too Much?
If you're a new parent, you've probably wracked your brain trying to figure out the source and solution to your baby's seemingly incessant cries.
Michelle Haley, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics, told Parents magazine that "crying will not hurt an infant ... a baby who cries a lot is not an indication of poor parenting skills — some babies simply cry more than others." Although it can be extremely frustrating and even concerning when your little one seems upset, it is all completely normal and will indeed pass.
3. Am I Spending Enough Time With My Child?
Whether you're a working parent or not, you have probably wondered if you're giving enough attention to your child. Though a drive for bonding is definitely a good parental trait to have, worrying about exactly how much is enough isn't healthy for anyone. Researchers, Melissa Milkie at University of Toronto, Kei Nomaguchi at Bowling Green, and Kathleen Denny at University of Maryland, told Today about their recent study that found quality is indeed more important than quantity when it comes to spending time with your children.
4. Am I Giving Too Much Affection?
I lean towards the Attachment Parenting approach, so I would often be warned that "coddling" my infant son could end up spoiling him down the line.In a study published by the University of Notre Dame's Department of Psychology, Professor Darcia F. Narvaez found in her research that it's actually impossible to "spoil" a baby and, in fact, prompt response to your baby's cries helps calm their developing brain.
5. What If My Child Isn't Successful?
Though it's easy to understand why many people could worry about economic and financial stability given the current state of affairs in our country, this is one fear that you should really just put on the back burner. If you find yourself constantly worrying about your child's future and feel compelled to do everything from watching Little Einsteins to finding the best preschool, you might want to chill for a minute
6. "Is Breast Really Best?"
This is a debate that has gone on for ages. Though people on either side of the issue will swear that their opinion is correct, arguing about it and worrying over it doesn't do anyone any good, especially not you and your baby. Time magazine recently reported that research has found, "no significant difference in 10 of 11 long-term health outcomes between children who were breastfed and those given formula." So stop arguing with your friends and just do what's best for you and your baby.
7. "Is My Child Hitting All The Milestones?"
Obviously, if there seems to be a significant delay in your child's development, you should voice your concerns to your child's physician. However, most of the time, parent can get caught up in a vicious cycle of comparing children and seeing who is or isn't meeting their milestones.
Gigi Schweikert, early childhood and parenting expert and author, told Parents, to stop comparing your child to all the other infants because "children develop at different rates." While my son may be better at his ABCs, for instance, there are other children in his class who have already mastered potty training. The sooner you realize it's not a race and your child is unique, the more at ease your mind will be.