Psychologists often point out that parenthood can make profound and lasting changes to one’s personality, thanks to the many challenges and benefits it brings to one’s life. For example, people tend to see the world as a more threatening place when they become parents. They also tend to take a more long-term decision-making perspective.
While nothing can truly prepare anyone for the experience of parenthood, it doesn’t hurt to take a few notes from the latest research on the subject. Here are three pieces of parenting wisdom from recent studies in psychology that can help new and old parents “perfect their craft,” so to speak.
#1. Work on your confidence levels
Becoming a parent requires individuals to become more trusting of others. This is because it is impossible to raise children completely on your own.
Research suggests that individuals who become parents experience a gradual increase in confidence in the years following the transition to parenthood.
“Empirical studies on parenting tend to paint a bleak picture, showing that parenting is associated with declining happiness, marital satisfaction and self-esteem,” say the authors of the research, led by Olga Stavrova of Tilburg University in the Netherlands. “Our study highlights some bright sides of parenting, showing that it is associated with increased trust—and trust is a positive trait associated with many positive life outcomes.”
Not all parents are eager to approach the world from a more trusting point of view. People with severe trust issues before parenthood are more likely to resist the urge to become more trusting after having children, which can have adverse mental health consequences.
All parents need to allow more trust into their lives. Apart from the parenting benefits it brings, people who express a lot of confidence are generally more satisfied with life, they are less neurotic, more agreeable, have a stronger sense of control over what happens in their lives, and are in better physical shape health.
#2: Understand your relationship with perfectionism
A new study published in the Journal of Research in Personality explains how unhealthy levels of perfectionism are passed from parent to child.
“We found that demanding, hyper-critical parents raise perfectionist children,” say the authors of the research. “In particular, hypercritical, demanding and controlling parents raise self-critical, demanding and perfectionistic children who feel other people are disappointed in them.”
Perfectionism, according to the researchers, stems from a host of different factors. Biological factors include genetics and temperament. One’s relationships with family, friends, teachers and other socialization agents also matter. There is also social and cultural pressure for perfection.
The authors offer the following advice to parents who may be inadvertently pushing their children toward perfection:
- Try to communicate to your child that you value them not just for what they do, but for who they are
- Strive to be less controlling, critical and overprotective of children
- Teach children to tolerate their mistakes and learn from them
- Emphasize hard work and discipline over the pursuit of perfection
#3: Don’t ignore signs of parental burnout
Parental burnout is defined as a “unique and context-specific syndrome resulting from sustained exposure to chronic parenting stress.” Its primary symptom is overwhelming exhaustion related to one’s role as a parent. Other symptoms include:
- Emotionally distancing from children
- Feeling fed up with parenting
- Losing one’s sense of accomplishment from parenting
To avoid parental burnout, research suggests a simultaneous approach to increasing resources and reducing risk factors. For example, if parental tasks become too heavy, consider the help of a nursery. Or, if parental recommendations (for example, five fruits and vegetables a day, no television before age six, warm and positive parenting) are doing more harm than good, consider changing the idea of what it means to be a good parent. relax Simply put, identify your biggest care stressors and take steps to build resources to help you get through them.
Closure: Becoming more trusting, being careful not to push kids to unhealthy levels of perfectionism, and not being afraid to add resources that help ease the parenting burden are all great ways to perfect your parenting skills .