Parenting expert answers TikTok’s most-asked questions about raising children – including why you shouldn’t feel guilty for being busy
Parenting expert, Pamela Li, has answered the most commonly-asked questions on TikTok, to help separate fact from fiction
This follows a new analysis that has revealed which queries and concerns appear most often under #parentingquestions
Almost 1 in 3 people (29%) using the ‘parenting questions’ hashtag turn to the platform for validation
Pamela Li believes TikTok is an excellent tool for parents seeking a sense of community - but warns against misinformation
A parenting expert has shared the answers to the questions repeatedly cropping up within the parenting community on TikTok - including those discussing parenting guilt.
This follows some new analysis conducted by Parenting for Brain, which involved collating the most commonly asked queries under #parentingquestions on TikTok, and establishing which topics parents seek support with the most.
According to Pamela Li, Editor-in-Chief and expert at the parenting wellness brand Parenting for Brain, TikTok is a great way for struggling parents to feel connected to others, as she says: “Facing the day-to-day stresses of parenthood can often result in people feeling anxious - particularly if they’re first-time parents or perhaps don’t have a solid support system.
“Engaging with those in a similar situation can help combat this anxiety by creating a sense of camaraderie and community, reducing feelings of isolation and allowing mothers and fathers alike to find comfort in the fact they are not alone, and that how they feel is normal.”
So, what were the most asked questions? The data reveals that the key discussion points included how children use technology, how to discipline them correctly - and how to combat parenting guilt.
1. Does anyone else experience parenting guilt?
Per the findings, Pamela Li says, “Parents, especially mothers, tend to struggle with guilt if they believe they aren’t spending enough time with their child. However, the amount of time you spend with your child doesn’t automatically determine how good of a parent you are!
“Focus on the quality of the time you spend together instead. Connect with them, ask about their day, support their emotional needs - that’s the stuff that matters.”
2. How do you find time for yourself?
Of the queries that discussed routine, over half (57%) focused on how to find personal time as a parent - either to get chores done or simply have time to rest and recoup.
Pamela Li says: “Alone time is something every person craves, yet it is one of the hardest parenting challenges to overcome as you have someone else that you’re responsible for at all times - especially if you’re a single parent or are alone for significant portions of the day.
“As long as you ensure you have quality interactions with your child, you shouldn’t feel guilty for making time for yourself. In fact, it’s recommended to do so that you don’t become burnt out and so that you can make sure you’re in the best condition you can be while parenting.
“In the same way that you might schedule a half-hour to help with homework, carve out a non-negotiable slot just for you. If this means you need to have a time-saving meal that night or leave reading a bedtime story to your partner, so be it.”
3. How do you discipline a child who won’t listen to you?
A common question that circulates TikTok’s parenting community is about how to respond to a child who refuses to follow instructions as this appeared in almost half (40%) of queries discussing discipline.
As Pamela Li explains, discipline in this instance will only be successful if a three-component system is implemented. She says: “First, parents must work to build a supportive relationship with their child, that way they see them as a respected and caring caregiver.
“Then, they should introduce positive reinforcement and adopt a “caught-being-good” attitude by praising good behaviour rather than just focusing on punishing or pointing out the bad.
“Finally, allow natural consequences. If your child refuses to go to sleep, let the struggle of waking up in the morning teach them their lesson about staying up past bedtime – rather than punishing them for a mistake they don’t understand they’re making.
“That way, the child knows that there are repercussions to their actions and hopefully will start behaving to avoid them.”
4. Should you give children unrestricted access to devices?
Pamela Li explains: “Whilst parental controls can be useful in preventing abusive content creeping onto younger children’s screens, parental controls with teenagers tend to be less effective - especially with social media.
“Teenagers may interpret it as controlling behaviour, and since they will likely figure out a workaround anyway, your relationship will be damaged without you having achieved your goal.
“Instead, try having an open and honest conversation with them, speaking of the potential dangers and advising them on how to stay safe. Start a discussion about why parental filters are important and what you’re hoping to achieve by having them in place - and you might find that they’re more open to implementing them if it feels like a joint decision.”
5. What is an appropriate age for a child to go on a sleepover?
Pamela Li explains: “There’s no set rule for the correct age for a sleepover. It depends on the child - while some might be ready at seven years old, others might not be until 12.
“Are they likely to be happy visiting friends’ houses without you staying? Can they do their bedtime routine on their own? Have they expressed excitement about having a sleepover? And remember, don’t be angry with them if they change their mind halfway through the night and ask to come home - rather, be proud of them for giving something new a go.”
Based on the TikTok data, the most common reason parents used the #parentingquestions was to seek validation (29%) from others experiencing similar challenges with parenthood.
When sorted into categories, the five most common reasons parents were turning to the platform were to seek help with topics on:
- Parenting Style
Mothers appeared to rely on TikTok as a parenting community the most, as they accounted for 88% of those using the #parentingquestions.
Users also sought help with toddlers aged one to three, more than any other age group, with almost a quarter (24%) of queries relating to this stage.
This was closely followed by children aged three to eight (21%), whereas teenagers seemed the least troublesome, as less than 1 in 10 questions were associated with them.
Summarising the findings, the Parenting for Brain expert says: “While TikTok is a great way to seek support and advice from your peers, it’s important to remember that it’s a social media platform with a billion users.
“Not only does this mean there’s a higher likelihood of misinformation, there’s also countless opinions on the correct way to raise a child being voiced.
“It would be impossible to live up to all these parenting styles as they have vastly different approaches – especially as it is a global platform. You need to find what works for you and your son or daughter.
“If you have genuine concerns about parenting or your child, make sure that you consult a professional and take the advice you receive online with a pinch of salt.”