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October 03, 2022

Where Every Family Matters

22 Thoughts on Becoming a Parent

You're about to be a parent! Be prepared by reading up and reviewing issues that will come up along the way.

Becoming a parent and raising a child a is full of surprises. No matter how many books, parenting forums, and articles you read, the truth is, nothing can completely prepare you for it. After becoming a parent, though, you will have the gift of hindsight. Here’s what other parents say about the first-time experience. If you’re becoming a parent soon, these messages may help!

1. You cannot spoil a baby.
Contrary to what you may hear, a lot of research backs up the claim that you cannot spoil a baby. In addition, holding and responding to your infant is vital to his health and development.

2. Vaccines are NOT evil.
Deadly diseases should only be seen in history books. Vaccines save lives. Modern vaccines are highly effective and safe — serious side effects are extremely rare. To learn more about the vaccines your baby will need go here.

3. There is no “right time” to wean.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies should exclusively breastfeed for six months. However, there is no “right” time to wean since all mamas and babies are different.

4. If you set high expectations, your kids will live up to them.
A number of studies confirm that when parents are involved in their child’s education, the child is less likely to turn to risky behaviors and have a poorer relationship with his parents.

Becoming a Parent

5. Trust your instincts.
According to Psychology Today, motherly intuition has research to back it up. The clear, unconscious sense that something is wrong is a natural response from you regarding the wellness of your children. Additionally, you will develop this as you rear your child.

6. It’s OK to say no.
Setting limits with kids gives them guidelines for behavior and shows them how much you care.

7. Teach a child to sleep.
During Baby’s first year of life, you will work at establishing his sleep. But no matter what age your child, establishing a consistent bedtime routine will encourage good sleep habits.

8. Your child will give you readiness cues for pretty much everything.
From weaning to feeding solids to potty training to learning to ride a bike, your child will give you cues as to when he is ready. Stay in tune with him.

9. Keep the love (and sex) alive with your mate after the baby comes.
Decades of scientific research into relationships have taught us that good relationships take work. Praise each other’s efforts. Focus on intimacy when you can. In addition, put your relationship at the center of your family life.

10. You will never be the same again, and that’s OK.
Adjusting to life with a newborn is adjusting to a new normal. Prepare in advance as much as possible for the changes coming and get a support network in place of family and friends.

11. Always make your child go POTTY before you Go OUT.
‘Nuff said.

Becoming a Parent

12. Your child’s best road map to growing up is you.
Every time you say or do something, your child will observe your behavior. From infancy, children gain language and other skills from you. Your challenge is to provide positive examples: show respect to others and yourself; keep a positive outlook; value health; limit anger; practice positive communication skills.

13. Don’t freak out when your child falls down and HE won’t either.
When your little one starts learning to walk, he will fall down a lot. When he runs and plays he will fall, too. When your child falls, he will look to you to see how to react (if he’s not hurt, that is). How YOU react will dictate his response.

14. Talk, talk and talk some more.
Bring language in during infancy, describing what you’re doing as you care for your child and responding when your child makes sounds. In addition, if you build on this as he grows through doing activities together and good communication, you’ll develop a strong relationship.

15. Yelling at children is harmful.
A 2014 study in The Journal of Child Development says yelling produces results similar to physical punishment for children. Yelling produces increased anxiety, stress and depression, so guard against it. If you have issues with anger, get help in the form of counseling.

16. Distraction is a powerful tool.
According to child development psychiatrists, the three most important discipline tools to use with children younger than 4 years are supervision, distraction and redirection.

17. Kids eat Very LITTLE.
Fussiness about food is a normal part of childhood development. Once your baby starts eating solid foods with the family, expect him to eat what your family eats. If you have difficulties with this, try not to make it a big deal and avoid force feeding. For expert advice, discuss with your pediatrician when there are hurdles.

18. Strengthen your patience.
Often when we lose our temper it is because of ourselves, not our children. If you find yourself losing patience a lot, you need coping strategies. It’s important to enjoy your kids and learn to choose connection, love and kindness.

Becoming a Parent

19. Kisses and hugs from your child are the best parts of life.
Give plenty of affection daily to all members of your family.

20. Plan and prep for baby/toddler/kid outings the night before.’
‘Nuff said.

21. Discipline starts calmLY and ends CALMLY.
Discipline is about guiding and teaching your children — it’s not about punishment or anger, according to the book The Parenting Crisis: Parenting Today’s Teenagers (Fitzhenry & Whiteside; 2005). It’s simply a way of helping kids learn right from wrong and keeping them safe. And it’s best done in a calm and controlled manner.

22. There will be a last time you pick UP your child.
Because one day he will be too big to pick up! How’s that grab ya?

Becoming Parents: Good Books Help

BABIES

Brain Rules for Baby
(Pear Press; 2014)
by John Medina

The Happiest Baby on the Block
The Happiest Toddler on the Block
(Bantam; 2015)
by Harvey Karp, M.D.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution
(McGraw Hill; 2002)
by Elizabeth Pantley

The Wonder Weeks
(Kiddyworld; 2017)
by Franz X. Plooij

What to Expect the First Year
(Workman; 2014)
by Heidi Murkoff

PARENTING

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
(Scribner; 2017)
by Joanna Faber and Julie King

1-2-3 Magic: Discipline for Calm, Effective and Happy Parenting
(Sourcebooks; 2016)
by Thomas Phelan

Parenting with
Love and Logic

(NavPress; 2006)
by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

The Whole Brain Child
(Delacorte; 2011)
by Daniel J. Siegel

 

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this publication and the mom of four amazing kids.