Parenting

Whether you’re a brand-new parent, supporting a grown child, or anywhere in between, parenting can be complicated. Raising a child can be a source of great joy and fulfillment, but it’s often stressful as well. For some people, parenting can also be closely connected to mental health symptoms.

Almost every parent experiences stress and other negative emotions around parenting from time to time. However, if you think that issues related to parenting are causing you to experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns on a regular basis, you may want to seek support from a therapist.

Currently, there is relatively little research on how parenting affects the long-term mental health of parents.

However, there is extensive research showing that perinatal mental health issues – that is, mental health issues that occur during pregnancy or shortly after a baby’s birth--are quite common for both mothers and fathers. For example, about 13% of mothers worldwide experience some form of mental health challenge related to parenting, most often postpartum depression.

Additionally, the National Institute of Mental Health notes that 18.9% of all adults in the United States have been diagnosed with some kind of mental illness. Accordingly, it’s likely that many people who become parents are already dealing with mental health challenges, which the increased stresses of parenting might make more difficult.

What are some different kinds of mental health challenges relating to parenting?

Parenting is different for everyone, so there is no one set of symptoms or circumstances related to parenting challenges.

That said, some common mental health challenges that might come up in connection to parenting include:

If you’re dealing with any of the issues described here, you have a number of options:

Best therapy types for parenting issues

A number of different kinds of psychotherapy may be helpful for issues related to parenting.

Depending on the nature of your challenges, you might want to work with a therapist individually, or you might want to attend sessions with a partner and/or your children or other family members.

Try exploring the following varieties of psychotherapy and see which you think might be good fits for your specific parenting issues:

What should I look for in a therapist for parenting issues?

You’ll want to make sure that your therapist is qualified to treat parenting issues, as well as any specific related mental health problems you may be experiencing. This will usually involve:

Finally, as with any therapy, it’s important to make sure that your therapist is a good fit for your unique needs. Be sure to evaluate the following in your initial calls with therapists: