The new arrival of a child into the family normally shakes things around a bit. Kids seem to have an endless list of needs that only the parents can satisfy. While many couples opt to become parents because they feel that they are ready for the task, nothing quite prepares you for the tremendous amount of roles that comes with being a first time parent. There will be long days and even longer nights. You will have to say goodbye to quiet, restful evenings and a clean and neat house. Every stage will come with its own set of challenges. Here is some advice for new parents that will help you safely get through the challenges of new parenting.
Never compare milestones
There is no standard guide for the ages when children will grow and develop. While many parents will be happy to see their child grow teeth earlier than normal or even learn to walk earlier than expected, there is no need to panic when the child learns these things later in life. While many books of advice for new parents will tell you that a baby should start uttering her first words within the first year, there is no need to be worried if she is one and a half years old and has not yet started speaking. Instead learn to praise and reward your child for every positive achievement no matter how small.
There is no perfect parent
No matter how hard you try, once the children arrive, your house will never be the same again. Simply put, it will be messier and noisier. There will be bits and pieces of baby stuff all over the place. Most of your time will be spent caring for them; cleaning, laundry, cooking, feeding. You will hardly have time to read advice for new parents and organize your house and keep it as neat as it was when there was no kid. You should therefore lower your expectations of a perfect home. Additionally, stop worrying about what guests coming to your house will think of the mess. They know that you have children in the house and they probably won’t care. What matters most is that the kids are happy and healthy.
Ask for help
Raising children is not simple. You may have looked after a friend’s child before for a couple of hours and thought it wasn’t that bad. Well, it is not as easy if you have to look after the same child around the clock. It becomes tiresome. You will have many friends and relatives offering advice or to drop in and help you take care of the children or with other household chores. While your polite nature may tempt you to turn down these offers, it is advisable that you accept them. You need all the rest you can get to recharge your batteries for another round the clock session of parenting.
However when it comes to advice, you do need to take every piece of it. People tend to have a say on how to raise your own children and could even make you feel patronized. Only follow advice that you asked for. Otherwise, just nod, smile but later discard what doesn’t suit you.
It’s OK to Hate the New Role
As said earlier, parenting is full of hurdles. There is no special school or institution of higher learning that can teach you advice for new parents or everything there is to learn about first time parenting. It’s a job you learn daily. Along the way, you may find yourself wondering why you got into this. To put it simply, you may hate the role. With this comes the feeling of guilt. Your whole life you have been told that parenting is the most fulfilling job in the world yet here you are only a few months in hating it. This can lower your self-esteem and make you feel like you will be a horrible parent. What you need to know is that this is a normal feeling and it happens to many people at some difficult stage of parenting. Every phase eventually comes to pass.
Enjoy every moment
Do the best to enjoy every moment of parenting by getting advice for new parents. This phase lapses away very quickly. Laugh through the stress, play, create lasting memories, capture special moments, have fun together. Above all, don’t forget to say I love you. Not with a material thing or by restraining discipline but rather being there and supportive. These tiny tots grow up pretty fast. One day when you are really old, you would want something to look back at and smile.
Stay in control and be the role model
It is very easy for your kids to be out of control but it is your duty as a parent to be in charge. Allow creativity, independence and exploration but with some laid down boundaries. As they grow up, kids like to test the waters by crossing those set boundaries just to see if there are consequences. Everytime limits are crossed, discipline should prevail.
Being the role model is another thing of utmost important. If you cross the boundaries expect your kids to do the same. Children are copy cats. They do not do what you say but rather what you do. If you want respectful children to show respect, if you want organized kids, be organized. Your children are a reflection of you.
In conclusion, the most important piece of advice for new parents is to know that the job requires more time and energy than many other roles you have taken up before. Be prepared to give your all to the role. It will drain you physically, emotionally and make you hate the job at times; eventually, you will find it to be the best job you ever took. Use available resources for help with behaviour transformation as this is typically the greatest hurdle. Talking to Toddlers by Chris Thompson is one great place to start from if you want to learn how to communicate effectively and build a rapport with your children.