Help! What do I do now?!

So many parents feel overwhelmed by the demands of being a parent.  After all, once this child has been brought into the world, you as a parent know you must provide food and shelter, you must clothe this child, you must bring this child for medical and dental checkups, you must tend to bruises, cuts, and boo-boos, you must dry tears and read nursery rhymes and change sheets, you must smile and laugh, you must discipline. . .in other words, you must parent your child(ren).  There is no rule book, no play book, no straight guidelines for parenting, as we all know that each child is different.

Most parents are excited at the birth of the child while maybe also being a little scared because of the sheer responsibility that they know will be theirs for the next 18 years or so, but with few exceptions parents are excited by possibilities.

And then there are the curve balls tossed your way.

Maybe your son was born with all his fingers and toes, but he cannot see them.  Maybe your daughter is absolutely perfect but she comes down with meningitis and it robs her of the potential talents with which she had entered into the world.  Maybe your child is reckless and gets hurt badly because of their curiosity and impulsivity.  Maybe your child is bullied, or has learning disabilities, or gets caught up in a gang.  Life happens, and we cannot control life.  We can only control how we respond to life’s challenges.  Yet for many parents, even when they recognize this seemingly simple fact, the fact is there may be things they can do but they don’t know where to turn.  How can one make lemonade from lemons if one does not know how to squeeze a lemon?

I always encourage parents to ask for help.  But there’s a catch.  If you want good advice, seek it from those whose successes are those to which you aspire, or that somehow seem related to your challenges while offering hope for positive outcomes.  For example, if a friend had a tough time raising children through a divorce but came through it better on the other side, then ask how they approached the problem of blended families and dual homes.  If a family member had a child who faced a challenge in school and they found help for the child, ask whose help they accessed.  If a coworker struggled balancing their family’s needs through a crisis with the challenges of holding down a full-time job and wound up keeping their position while giving their family the time it needed, ask what they did to find some balance.

We all struggle from time to time.  You don’t need to be perfect, because no one is.  And you cannot control life.  It is easy to say that struggle can lead to positive changes or outcomes, but it is hard to struggle–emotionally, physically, psychologically, intellectually, financially, morally–and can drain a person particularly when the struggle is prolonged.  But asking for help and good advice is usually a good first step.  The rest is up to you.

Help! What do I do now?!