Fatherhood is a Rewarding but Exhausting Role: Maintain Your Mental Health and be the Best Dad Possible
Of all the jobs you’ve held in your life, the most important one is being a good father for your children. But it’s probably one of the most stressful and draining roles you’ll fill, as well. Watching your children grow up to be happy, healthy adults is without a doubt worth the effort – but it’s essential to take care of yourself along the way.
Whether you’re a brand-new dad (congratulations!) or getting close to being an empty-nester, the demands of raising a child can take a toll on your mental health. In order to be the best possible parent for your children, it’s vital to recognize when you’re stressed and burned out, so that you can take action to find relief.
New Dads: Postpartum Depression Affects Fathers, Too
Postpartum depression has long been recognized in new mothers – but come to find out, fathers aren’t immune. In fact, “more than a fifth of fathers have experienced depression by the time their child is 12 years of age,” according to Michael Yogman, a Harvard Medical School professor of paediatrics and an expert on father-child relationships. But postpartum depression in fathers can be difficult to identify, since it manifests differently than it does in new mothers.
A man holds a baby
New mothers aren’t the only ones who struggle with postpartum depression.
New moms with postpartum depression typically present with mood swings and anxiety immediately after giving birth. In new dads, it can take up to a year for postpartum depression to reveal itself, according to Yogman. In men, he says, “postnatal depression may include additional symptoms, such as alcohol and drug-related issues, compulsive or anti-social behaviour, and interpersonal conflict.”
And it’s not just depression – a 2019 survey found that 70% of new dads reported increased stress levels in the first 12 months after their children were born. Twenty-three percent reported feeling socially isolated, and more than half took on a new negative health behaviour, such as drinking more alcohol or gaining weight.
The Shame Factor
One of the main sources of stress for fathers is the pressure they feel from “dad-shaming.” Shame has an especially strong impact on fathers of young children, “who research suggests are neurologically vulnerable to feelings of shame during the first two years of their children’s lives.”
Poll results show that 52% of fathers feel criticized or judged over their parenting style. The impact is especially strong when the perceived judgment comes from the other parent. Study author Sarah Clark, of the University of Michigan, explains that “ when criticism comes from a child’s other parent, a dad tends to feel a greater loss of confidence than he would if the criticism came from a grandparent, friend, stranger or professional who works with the child.”
Fathers who feel criticized at every turn respond in different ways. While some are able to seek advice on how to improve their parenting style, others are so wounded that they wanted to be less involved in parenting altogether. If you feel like everyone around you is criticizing the way you raise your children, it makes sense that you’d feel embarrassed, hurt, stressed, or anxious – even if their intentions were good.
Fathers of Teens: The Stress is Real
Even once your children have grown out of diapers, fatherhood isn’t easy. Parenting a teenager is no walk in the park!
A woman with a laptop and phone
Parenting teenagers can be inherently stressful – hang in there!
A recent poll conducted by NPR found that 34% of parents of teenagers said they’d had a “great deal” of stress in the past month. This is pretty much par for the course when it comes to raising teenagers: “When it comes to stress, parenting a teen is ‘inherently stressful even in the best scenarios,’ according to David Palmiter, a clinical psychologist, professor at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa., and creator of the blog Hectic Parents.com.”
With teens and tweens, you may find that you’re never sure where you stand with your kids. Although this is a “normal developmental stage,” according to Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence, “it’s common for tweens and teens to toggle between loving and hating their parents” – and it can leave you hurt, confused, and stressed.
Mental Health Matters, No Matter the Age of Your Children
Whether your children are learning how to crawl or applying to college, the effort it takes to be a good parent can be exhausting. It’s essential to take care of your own mental health so that you can be the best possible father to your children.
When anxiety, stress, and depression have an impact on your life, you may be hesitant to admit you’re struggling. You may not want to resort to medications. But there is no shame in asking for help, and drugs are not your only option for feeling better. Did you know that there is a drug-free way to treat anxiety and depression?
A man uses Alpha-Stim at work
Alpha-Stim is compact and discrete – you can easily use it at home or work.
Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared medical device clinically proven to safely and effectively bring relief from anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders. Alpha-Stim sends a tiny current of electricity to your brain, through electrodes that clip onto your ear, in a modality called cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES.) Treatments are painless and easy, and are done in the comfort of your own home – no need to carve time out of your busy schedule for a trip to a doctor’s office.
Alpha-Stim works by restoring balance to your brainwaves. Unlike with medications, there is no risk of addiction or lasting side effects. In fact, results with Alpha-Stim are cumulative over time: the more you use it, the better your results will be, and the less you’ll need it. And not only does Alpha-Stim work better than medications, it costs less, too!
Being a dad is hard work. You want the best for your children and your family – but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. If depression, anxiety, and stress are wearing you down, it’s ok to ask for help.
Why wait? Get started today and see what Alpha-Stim can do for you. After all, Father’s Day may come only once a year; but you should feel your best on the other 364 days as well.
Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared, handheld medical device that has been proven time and again to effectively treat acute, post traumatic, and chronic pain, as well as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Alpha-Stim uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), delivered through a patented waveform via two ear-clip electrodes, to treat anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) delivers pain relief directly to the source of discomfort via two handheld Smart Probes.
The safety and effectiveness of Alpha-Stim is backed by over 100 independent clinical research studies. Unlike with medications, there is no risk of addiction or lasting side effects.
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