A poll has found the 50 most challenging things we parents have to deal with thanks to our lovely children. All the predictable ones make the list; sleepless nights, tantrums, and first day at school
woes, but also some curve-balls such as keeping a lid on bad language and dealing with other competitive mums
The study, commissioned by DryNites, also found that parents struggle with keeping their children off computers and games consoles, tackling bullying, and answering kids' never ending streams of questions.
Emma Kenny, child psychologist and spokesperson for DryNites commented on the findings:
"There are some challenges you expect when you embark on parenthood, like the sleepless nights and tantrums. 'But I don't think anyone can be prepared for how many issues and stressful situations you will face over the years – from the baby and toddler stage and throughout a child's school life."
"Once the tantrums subside and you are getting more sleep, you then have to face a whole new set of trials, such as your child's first day at school, which many mums are having to get ready for over the next couple of weeks.
"And once they are settled into school life, mums have to contend with the worries of bullies, moving up to new classes and schools, as well as a whole range of tests and exams."
And, according to Emma, the 'challenges' do not disappear once children hit their teens
: "Even teenagers and young adults seem to come with their own set of challenges for poor mums."
The top 10 challenges parents face are:
Sleepless nights/sleep deprivation
Keeping on top of the household chores
Getting children to eat the right foods
Giving your child what they want without spoiling them
Getting children to clean their teeth properly
Do you agree with the list? What are your top parenting 'challenges'?
- Showing favouritism
Are you sure? So you’ve taken just as many pictures of your second child as your first then? A study by scientists at the University of California suggested 65 per cent of the mothers and 70 per cent of fathers had a preference for one child - however subconsciously.</p>
- Doing their homework
One study shows that nearly half of parents have done their children’s <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/24/mum-petitions-for-abolition-of-homework/" target="_blank">homework</a> at least once. It seems many either can’t resist the temptation to help their children do well in their studies or would rather do it than spend their lives whingeing at them to stop watching telly.</p>
- Avoiding play time
It’s the ‘not now, maybe later’ syndrome. Your child wants you to read them a story or go the swings but you are ‘just too busy’. Or is it really that you can’t be bothered because you’re texting, checking emails or even watching telly yourself! Figures show that, on average, parents spend just 36 minutes a day <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2010/11/05/do-i-play-with-my-child-enough/" target="_blank">playing</a> with their offspring.</p>
- Using them as an excuse
Blaming the kids is always the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/baby/why-having-a-baby-makes-the-perfect-excuse/?icid=parentdish|DL_2" target="_blank">perfect excuse</a>, whether it’s not having to go to a social occasion, the house being a mess, being late for work, forgetting someone’s birthday, the list goes on...</p>
- Bribing them with food
Whether it’s giving them chocolates or sweets as a bargaining tool for chores or simply to ward off a tantrum we often find ourselves bribing our kids. We’re probably well aware that research shows this could lead to obesity - but heh, anything for a quiet life?</p>
- Giving them a smack
For many it’s one of the biggest taboos. But there are plenty of parents out there who have given their kids a clip - even if it is on very rare occasions. A recent poll for ITV’s This Morning found that three out of four parents had, at some time, <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/10/19/should-i-be-banned-from-smacking-my-child/" target="_blank">smacked</a> their little ones.</p>
- Stealing their stuff
Surely not? Well have you ever eaten their chocolate gift from a relative - because you were ‘saving their teeth’. Sadly that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Findings from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks showed that more than half of parents with children aged five to 12 have raided their kids’ piggy banks!</p>
- Fibbing to get them into a school
Ever found yourself in church pretending to believe, just because it will help get your little on in a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/back-to-school/how-much-would-you-pay-to-get-your-children-into-a-good-school/" target="_blank">school with a good reputation</a>? Around 50 per cent of parents are willing to fib about their address, religious beliefs or ethnic background to get their kids a better education.</p>
- Writing them a dodgy sick note
Did you feign <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/09/09/sending-your-child-to-school-when-ill-do-you-do-it/" target="_blank">illness</a> as a child to get out of games? Now, as a parent, you find yourself writing a sick note for the teachers, even though you know there’s not much wrong with your kid’s health. A quarter of parents admit to this one, while almost 50 per cent have taken their children out of school in term time to save cash on holiday costs, according to <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/" target="_blank">TripAdvisor.</a></p>
- Doing anything to get them to sleep
When it comes to getting some kip every sleep deprived parent has a guilty secret - whether it’s letting them stay up too late so that they just flake out, letting baby fall asleep on you, rather than putting it down in its cot or simply allowing them to sleep in your bed.</p>
- Swearing in front of them
You tell them off for using bad language, then find yourself uttering a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/04/19/there-are-worse-things-than-swearing-in-front-of-your-children/" target="_blank">foul mouthed rant</a> in front of them. When they later use the same words in public you say “they must have picked it up at nursery/school.” Some nine out of 10 parents have sworn in front of their children according to a report from <a href="http://www.youngpoll.com/" target="_blank">Youngpoll.com.</a></p>
- Giving them a treat breakfast
There are few parents who haven’t, at least once in their child’s lifetime, bought them a sticky pastry or bag of crisps instead of making them a healthy breakfast. In fact, figures reveal that half a million kids eat biscuits for their morning meal while more than 100,000 only have a fizzy drink!</p>
- Driving badly
You’re always telling them that their behaviour is dangerous and then you pack them into the car and drive like a nutter. One in four parents admit to having broken the speed limit to get their children to school.</p>
- Overloading the buggy
You’ve read the safety warnings not to do it, but which parent hasn't loaded up their child's buggy with shopping bags while scooting through town, blithely ignoring the chance of the whole thing toppling over? When they get a bit older you allow them to stand up in the shopping trolley at the supermarket too, another health and safety no, no.</p>
- Not having a sit down family meal
Did you know that children are 24 per cent more likely to eat vegetables if they sit down to a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/food/small-cheats-for-big-family-meals/" target="_blank">family meal?</a> But how often have you let kids eat their dinner in front of the telly? Only 30 per cent of families eat together at least once a week.</p>