The survey asked parents to rank 10 factors in order of which one they worried the most about. The most worrisome, on a 1-10 scale was job security (3.48), followed by saving for retirement (3.75) and dying before their children grow up (4.30). The ability to afford their children's educational needs (4.48) rounded out the top four. The issues parents worry about less than saving for college include crime (5.05), the environment (5.20), rising gas prices (6.73), the amount of time their kids spend watching TV or playing video games (6.84), the threat of terrorism (7.27), and lastly, traffic (7.64).
In looking at this list, it was interesting to note that there are two categories of worry; those they have little control over and those that are mostly within their influence. By looking at the worries in these two categories, it helps to map out a plan for alleviating them, and finding more restful peace of mind.
Frightening, but 'out there'
Terrorism, crime, environment, gas prices, traffic, violent video games? while things undoubtedly affect our lives, and will impact our children's futures, they are largely, beyond any family's ability to control, and therefore don't have the 'wake you up in a cold sweat' factor. That being said, there are things that individuals and families can and should do to address these causes of stress.
It could happen to us
Parents keenly feel the new responsibility a child brings into their lives, and this drives job, financial and health insecurity in a new and powerful way. It may take some time to develop new habits, but once done, the effects on a parents stress levels can be remarkable.
Enjoy your sleep
A full night's sleep is one of those things that you cannot fully appreciate until you have had it interrupted. To care for a new baby (or even a sick child) is tiring, but worth the exertion. Losing sleep over worries is perhaps unavoidable, but steps can be taken. To figure out why you are losing sleep, many experts recommend keeping a notebook and pen by your bed. This will help to find any issues that are hidden in the new parent haze, as well as helping you back to sleep once you've written the "must remember to go" item on it, that is assuming you can read your own handwriting in the morning.