3 Unspoken Truths About Becoming A Parent You Won't Really Get Until You're There

Once you have children, you'll know that these simple truths are unavoidable.

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People often say that one of life’s toughest challenges is being a parent. After all, there’s no rulebook or one-size-fits-all approach, and no matter how hard you try, you’re bound to make mistakes.

So, what are some unspoken truths about parenting that we wish we knew sooner?

Therapist Jeff Guenther breaks down three things you should know about parenting that don't get talked about enough.

@therapyjeff Listen to my new podcast, Problem Solved, for more on this! 3 truths they don’t tell you about when you become a parent. Join me in Passes for extended commentary. #mentalhealth #therapy #relationshiptips #parenting #parents ♬ original sound - TherapyJeff

3 Unspoken Truths About Becoming A Parent

1. You’re a critical character in your child’s story.

Parents might forget how big a role they play in their child’s story. But how you parent and the choices you make will really shape who your child becomes.


Guenther adds, “No matter how wonderful and responsive and in tune you are with your kid, you’re going to let them down in so many ways.”

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It’s inevitable, and as a parent, this can leave you feeling powerless. Nobody wants to play the villain, especially in their child’s story.

“But it’s important that you allow them to tell their story and validate their emotional experience of you,” says Guenther.

As hard as it is, validating these experiences can draw you and your child closer. Helping you create a healthier relationship built of mutual respect and trust.


2. Parenting leads to a cool emotional hack.

Parenting isn’t just about learning to help your child handle their emotions or being kinder to them. It’s also about healing your inner child and learning to be gentler with yourself.

And honestly, when you become a parent, a lot of past trauma is going to be brought up.

Licensed therapist Annie Wright writes, “Why? Because our love and devotion and self-sacrifice for our child can more sharply contrast what we ourselves didn’t receive.”

You’ll find yourself angry at your parents for their bad treatment. And you’d probably say, “I would never treat my child the same way.”

However, through this anger, you’ll slowly begin to heal. Despite feelings of sadness and resentment, the more you treat your child kindly, the more you’ll find yourself being patient with your outbursts and mistakes.


We will begin to realize that we have a lot of inner work to do and that it’s more than okay.

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3. You'll need to grieve the loss of your old life.

“Part of the process of becoming a parent is grieving the loss of your old life,” says Guenther. It’s the desire to go back to how things were before you had children.


Understandably, most parents will never admit this. They don’t want to be labeled as selfish or evil. However, wanting your old life back doesn’t make you selfish or evil; it makes you human.

Guenther continues, “It’s important to acknowledge it. You are allowed to be sad about it.” And yes, it’s a bit weird if you aren’t even a little depressed about it.

Being a parent comes with a lot of responsibility and stress, which can lead to these depressing thoughts. So, allow yourself to grieve and find healthy ways to cope.

Be sure to prioritize your mental health and take a day off for yourself each week to help you reset your mind.

Parenting is a journey filled with twists and turns. And even as your child grows, you’ll find yourself discovering something new that you never thought of before.


So, be patient with yourself and allow yourself some grace when you inevitably make a mistake.

Know that you aren’t alone in this confusion and that your skills as a parent will only improve over time.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.