Why Is My Parenting Life So Difficult?

struggling child

Why Is My Parenting Life So Difficult?

Dr. Bob | struggling child, struggling parent | 0 Comments | Post Date: April 18 2019


If you’re a parent who has ever asked, “Why does my parenting seem so much harder than my best friends, neighbors, brother or my sisters’ experience,” you have found help! 

Or if you are struggling with "I love my child but hate parenting,” you have come to the right blog. If you are a grandparent or a teacher or a caregiver who has wondered, “How can I help this child who seems to be struggling?” you have found help.


This website is a companion to my book, The Normal but Not So Easy Child. My book and website/blog are to help you understand why your parent life is difficult. All parenting is not alike. Everyone professes that kids are different but persist in thinking all parenting should be the same. It is as different as our children are. If you have an easy child your parenting will be the same, if you have a not so easy child (NSEC) your parenting experience may be difficult.


Why Read My Blog?

My blog will help you understand why your child is not easy, how you can help your child’s struggles and how to relieve your frustrations, anger, and guilt. The goal is to achieve just-right parenting for your unique child and bring some peace and relief to you.


This site is your professional resource to seek answers to your questions. Parents worry about their parenting, their child’s behaviors, learning, school progress, self-esteem, being bullied and how to discipline. In a nutshell, how to best raise your child without scarring them for life and remaining sane at the same time.


We will discuss how to go to Target without buying toys, gum, candy and your child throwing a fit. We explore trips to the mud hole, and how to raft down the rapids of the Behavioral Cascade. I will discuss social trends and the current research about kids. I’ll discuss my research in early-childhood  education, what’s right, why pupils struggle and what needs improvement.  I promise to present the topics professionally but with humor. We have to laugh because raising NSE kids can be fun and growing up is a funny business.


What makes me an expert? Well, if an expert is made by multiple, frequent mistakes, sleepless nights worried about my child, conflicts with a NSE child, disagreements with my spouse about how best to proceed, witnessing my pediatric practice parents struggling similarly and living to talk about it, then I qualify.  I have had lots of help. My wife of over 50 years, my two children and five grandchildren have taught me, humbled me and from the “in the trenches” experiences will share some best practices, hints, tips, and truths.


So, why is your life with a NSEC more difficult, what is a NSEC, and how do you navigate these challenges?


The number-one message for you is that you are a good parent, and your parent practices are NOT causing your child’s challenges. Secondly, you have a full bag of guilt that I want you to leave in the trash as you exit this site. Guilt is destructive, serves no positive purpose and makes you second-guess yourself, all negative voices in your head.   Stop listening.


Children come in several flavors: easy, not-so-easy (NSE) and whoa, very, very, NSE.  How do you know for certain? Take this one-minute test.


The Not-So-Easy Child   (NSEC) score for your child is measured by the number of challenges she/he gives you in a given time period.   A challenge is defined as anything that causes you to be frustrated, drives you a little nutty or creates a melt-down by your child and a screaming fit by you. A challenge can be expressed as a refusal to obey, a tantrum, a crying fit, or meltdown, resistance to a request, defiance, refusal to try anything new, or anything that causes you to be interrupted in your flow of the day.  If your child gives you a challenge two times every month she/he would fit in the second box: Occasionally Challenging, and you select the number below like 3 or 4. If your child causes you to be frustrated every day, then you would circle 9 or 10.

not so easy child score card

Now you know for certain that you have a NSEC and whether a 5 or a 9, you could use some help. I don’t label these children difficult because that implies “on purpose" (much more about that later). There are many other labels associated with these children: strong-willed, defiant, difficult, behaviorally challenged, high maintenance, demanding, high spirited, head-strong, troubled, temperamental and spoiled. 


I feel that "not-so-easy child" is a kinder phrase to use to refer to these interesting kids. What makes them NSE?  We will spend several articles discussing this, but first, a step back to give an overview of the new neuroscience that helps explain how your children are wired and what makes them tick and their alarms to go off.


Nature vs. Nurture

First a quick look at Nature vs Nurture debate in the light of all the research in the past twenty years.  Do you believe a child is born a blank slate, and the nurture factors will determine a child’s differences & future success or struggles? Or do you believe a child is born with a predetermined personality who will dictate their future? Most say it is a combination of both?  Here is how we arrived at where we are.


Science overplayed the importance of nature (our genetics), but by the 1930s to 1990s underplayed nature’s importance and over appreciated nurture. Post-1990s new neuroscience realigned genetics as more important, and in many cases the most important. Now we can put a person into a functional MRI machine and literally watch the brain work to solve problems. Post-1990s nurture realigned as less important in good environments (families) and rated it more important in abusive or neglectful families. The turning point came after the emergence of the Adverse Childhood Events study.


Most of the reasons our personalities are the way they have more to do with your genetics (nature) than nurture. Alterations may occur because of a poor environment, but it doesn’t change our fundamental brain operations except in extreme cases. 


We will explore. Why do some kids sail through their childhood while others struggle? Why do some parents seem to have all the answers while others are at a loss to manage their children? Here is where I say your child is more a function of your genes than your parenting style. The good news is that you have an opportunity to help your child strengthen any weak skills and improve the stronger ones. These parenting tools will be discussed at length. You can explore how to predict how your child will handle the challenges of growing up.


If you would like to read an introduction to my book, there is an exerpt at the bottom of the page About the Book.


Happy reading and exploring the world of raising children.


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