From your child’s first steps to snuggling on the couch, going on vacation, and graduating from high school, there is a lot about being a parent that is rewarding. However, parenting is hard too. Growing up comes with challenges, and parenting through those challenges can test your confidence and your resolve.
Every parent comes to a crossroads eventually over one topic or another. Here are a few tough decisions you may have to make.
Hiring an Attorney
One thing most parents don’t think about when it comes to having children is the fact that at some point in your parenting journey, you may have to hire an attorney.
One of the most common reasons to hire an attorney involves making the choice to get divorced. Not only is an attorney needed to end your union, but it may also become apparent that a lawyer will have to help you negotiate custody.
There are other difficult situations in life that may require an attorney. Giving your child up for adoption, or choosing adoption as your route to becoming a parent may require the help of a lawyer. If you experienced an unfair birth in the delivery room or if your child receives harmful medical care, you’ll need an attorney to help with a medical malpractice lawsuit as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations runs out two years after you discover the injury.
Many families send their children to daycare. That can be a difficult decision! There are many centers to choose from, or you may decide you want to send your child to an in-home daycare. When they get older, do you let them play at a friend’s house or do you send them to the after school program?
No matter what type of daycare you choose for your child, there are things you can do to make sure you find a good one. Questions you should ask include:
- What is the teacher-to-child ratio?
- Do the teachers have relevant training and/or degrees?
- How do they keep the environment safe and healthy?
- What kinds of learning activities will your child experience?
Don’t want to send your child to daycare? That can be a difficult decision too! Deciding which parent is going to stay home, and giving up your career for the time being so you can be there for your child are some of the most difficult decisions you can ever make.
The simplest choice is to send your child to the school that’s closest to home, but you may decide to do something a little different. From moving to get your child into a better district to open enrolling your child or paying for private education, you have multiple choices available to you.
The choices don’t end just because your child is enrolled in school! You may have to make some tough choices when it comes to your child’s teachers. If your child is being bullied by a student in their class or it becomes obvious that your child can’t learn effectively with their teacher, you may have to speak with the principal about switching classes.
Having children can change your friendships for life. Some friends may drift out of your life, and some may stick around. Unfortunately, just because a friend sticks around doesn’t mean they should stay around. If they behave inappropriately around your child or they make your child uncomfortable, you may have to let them go.
Dealing with your child’s friends can be hard too! If your child starts hanging around with a friend that gets them into trouble, you may have to end the friendship on their behalf, which is definitely going to make your child angry.
Letting Your Child Experience Hard Things
We all want our children to enjoy the best of life. However, there are many lessons in the hard stuff too. It’s important to avoid sweeping in and saving your child whenever they experience something difficult. Make sure they experience hard things.
That means doing things like saying no when your child asks if you can bring their instrument they forgot to school or letting them go to school without a finished project instead of doing it for them.
You don’t have to make them do it alone! Help them learn how to respond and support them as they experience difficult things and they’ll find dealing with difficult things easier as an adult.
How and When to Punish Your Child
Punishing your child is never easy. From making the choice to put your child in timeout to grounding them when they get older, it can be difficult to figure out exactly when to punish your child, and exactly how to do it. It can be especially difficult if their punishment prevents keeps them from something they have been looking forward to, like a party or the big game.
All of these decisions can be excruciating to make, but nothing compares to the decision to let go. From not jumping in to help your toddler climb on the playground to letting your teen drive to school when they get their license, you’ll spend their entire childhood taking a deep breath and stepping back.
It doesn’t end just because they become an adult! When your child goes to college and graduates, you may have to say goodbye as they move out. You may also have to make the difficult decision to cut your child off if they rely on money from mom and dad a little too much.
Not a day goes by that you don’t make multiple decisions as a parent. Some of those decisions, like what to make for dinner, aren’t so hard. Other decisions are among the most difficult you’ll face in your life. Knowing what kinds of decisions you’ll have to make throughout your child’s lifetime can help you prepare when the time comes and that tough decision finally has to be made.