Parenting is hard. If you didn’t already know that, you’re either not a parent or you’re doing it all wrong. But what is it about parenting that makes the whole process of guiding wild small people into wonderful big people so gosh darn aggravating? Is it the lack of sleep? The expense? The tantrums? Or is it all of those things combined with about a billion more? I vote for the latter.
If you’ve ever mopped up toddler pee and stopped to wonder where you fall on the parental aggravation scale, you’ve come to the right blog post.
A new study released by Child Trends examining parental aggravation trends within the U.S. between 1997 and 2007, found that parents were 15 percent more aggravated in 2007 than they were just a decade before, bringing the national average of frustrated parents to a whopping 35 percent that year. Wowzers. I mean, I know why I was aggravated in 2007, I had a colicky infant, but was America facing the same witching hour? Or was handheld technology to blame? Maybe it was the economic downturn? Ooo, let’s blame Y2K!
But just when I thought I had it all figured out (hello, kids were simply 15 percent more frustrating), the study determined that economics and iPhones weren’t to blame (pfffft.), but rather a number of frustrating factors that included child/parent traits, parent education, and a lack of social support.
Before we cue the sad trombone, it’s worth noting that the trend in parental aggravation doesn’t appear to be increasing by an ugly 15 percent every decade (whew!). Between 2002 and 2005, parental aggravation levels seemed to hold pretty steady at 33 percent for the national average. Yay?
Is it just me or does 33 percent of aggravated parents nationwide sound a little scary? I mean, I’m totally part of that one-third of frustrated parents, but I expect more from you guys.
I live in a California, the state that ranked #1 for parental aggravation in 1997 (23.3 percent) before slipping to third place on the national parental aggravation scale in 2007 (37.9 percent). If I had to guess as to the reason why Californian parents be so stressed, I’d guess it has everything to do with having to work on sunshiney days to keep up with the ridiculous cost of living. Well, that and our inability to get from point A to point B in less than three hours due to all the everyone living here and driving cars at the exact same time.
Look at the chart and tell me you’re state’s excuse for being either exceptionally chill or an aggravated hot mess in the ways of parenting.