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parenting issues

Parenting Issue: How a Disturbed Sleep Routine Can Damage the Health of Young Parents

Sleep—or lack of if for that matter, is an extremely common problem of the 21st century. We often hear parents complain that they don’t get enough sleep or get any at all. Becoming a parent is a wonderful experience but, let’s face it, it’s no stroll in the park!

Parenting- Not for the Weak and Wimpy

Let’s be realistic. You might have thought that parenting would be easy after adopting two cats – no way is it THAT easy!

Your child depends on you for each and every little thing — especially the little drooling ones (infants, toddlers and young kids). They demand constant attention from you and are rarely happy with your decisions. What’s more, you need to simultaneously prepare each and every detail of their day for them while keeping a close eye on them! Because we all know that it only takes one kitchen trip for your child’s juice refill, to come back to a Picasso baby scribbling away on those clean white walls. Constant supervision is not an easy task and can take a toll on a parent’s mental state easily, causing a rise in their stress levels. And here is where the trouble starts………

Aiming for Balance

If you are stressed and overworked, you will start experiencing poor sleep and suffer from sleep deprivation. This can seriously impact your parenting as well as your state of mind.

Sleep Deprivation = Zombie Parents!

Sleep deprivation might seem like a harmless little issue but its impact on your relationship with your kids can be quite gruesome. If you are sleep deprived, your ability to deal with your kids patiently is quite compromised — insomnia and poor sleep is very likely to steal the level of patience you exhibit towards your children during parenting. When your patience is compromised, anger, annoyance and apathy is going to replace the gentleness, kindness and love that you are supposed to exhibit towards you kids.

Bad Hair Days and Sleepless Nights!

Having kids will definitely mean sleepless and disturbed nights. Kids will steal your slumber. Not only will you be unable to get your required hours of sleep, the quality of sleep will start deteriorating as well. Kids have a tendency to get sleepy during playtime and hyperactive at bedtime. Getting uninterrupted sleep at night time as a parent is almost like getting a raise from your boss. Very rare!

Why Sleep Deprivation is a big No-No

Sleep deprivation has been linked to various medical conditions like cardiac diseases, cancer, blood pressure issues, diabetes, weak immune system etc. Although there has not been any solid scientific research done on sleep deprivation among parents and how it affects parenting (phew!), but, there is no doubt in the claim that sleep deprivation DOES negatively affect parenting.

The “I don’t sleep at all but my Kids turned out Fine” Lie

If you think that not getting enough sleep won’t affect your kids, you couldn’t be more wrong than Arnold Schwarzenegger saying that he never took steroids! As a sleep deprived parent, you will find it very hard to remain attuned with your kid’s emotions and feelings. In fact, sleep deprivation may result in you allowing your child to stay glued to the TV and remain busy in an activity that you, otherwise, would not approve of — if only you were not so tired and relieved that the kids are busy and quiet.

It can also lead you to a point where if your child is throwing a fits and complaining, you willingly and gladly hand over your phone/tablet to your child just to get a moment of peace. This is bad for your child in the long run and does not serve as a good lesson in discipline at all.

How to Avoid Spanking —Sleep

Another extreme situation that some parents resort to is — spanking — or feel the urge to spank as a corporal punishment when they are sleep deprived. Spanking your kids has a long term negative effect on their personalities and that is something that SHOULD NOT be practiced or even thought of at any cost!

Sleep deprivation can at times make you so annoyed that you may start finding it easier to discipline your kids by spanking them rather than making them understanding by talking to resolve the issue non-violently. It is not easy for parents to take out the time to get proper sleep while parenting but it is something that must be done.

What Hinders Parents from Getting Sleep

Parents should start rejecting the notion that loving their child means putting their sleep and mental health at risk. In today’s world of tough economic times, many parents are already struggling to keep up with work and not let it affect their family life. This is a stressful struggle itself. The social pressure for parents to equate themselves to zombies to care for their kids should be removed.

Useful Tips to Avoid Zombie Parenting in Society

Parents, just like every other being, need to rest.

  • A community of parents can be established to help each other cope with sleep issues and offer assistance to each other.
  • The government and the local community, all must chip in to address this issue.
  • Sleep assistance and sleep counselling should be readily available to the parents who require it.
  • Parents should be made aware of the negative impact sleep deprivation will have on them, and how this will hinder their relationship with their kids.
  • Parents should be told to take out ample time for themselves to rest.

If parents start taking the proper amount of rest they require, a society full of happy families would not seem like a distant reality.

Eugene Gabriel John

Eugene Gabriel has his BSc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology and has always been fascinated by the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it on human productivity and overall well-being. He has helped thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully. Read his post on common sleep allergy solutions.