Parenting tips tend to start coming in from all corners the moment people mention that they are going to be new parents. The incredible thing is that everyone has something to say about how they think you should raise your child -- even those who have none and plan never to have one! But that is life.
It’s vital for you to realize that many people who offer you parenting tips are well-meaning. Some are not though and will drive you nuts with their advice. However, it’s always good to remember that you have the final say on how you should parent your children.
Ways of Becoming a New Parent
Giving birth is not the only way for you to become a parent. And yet many people who offer parenting tips may provide advice assuming biological parenting to be the only way to have children. There are other ways through which you may find yourself becoming a parent even when you did not intend to be one.
One of the ways through which you may become a new parent is via legal guardianship or legal custody. Did you know that there are 153 million orphans around the world? You probably did not agree to become a legal guardian to your loved one’s kid(s) expecting them to die, did you? But sometimes bad things happen. And when they do, you may find yourself having to step up and become a parent.
Adoption and fostering
Adoption or fostering are also ways for you to become a parent. The U.S. foster care system is heavily burdened. Did you know that there are over 400,000 children in the foster care system at any given time, with over 100,000 of them waiting for adoption? And many of these kids will age out of the foster care system, which means when they turn 18, they are no longer eligible to remain in care. They are sent out into the world on their own, and it's because of this aging out that we have thousands of homeless teens. If you have opted to become a new parent through either adoption or fostering, then know that you are making a difference in the life of at least one child. And ignore those who give you unreasonable parenting tips.
You can also become a new parent via marriage. On any given day in the U.S., 1,300 stepfamilies are formed. That is not surprising when you consider the current rates of divorce in the country, with at least 30 percent of marriages ending at some point. While these rates have been declining, the odds are such that you are likely to date one person who was married before at some point. So, while your partner may not be a new parent, you may end up as one when you marry that person or vice versa.
There is no better or lesser way of becoming a parent. Giving birth is an excellent way of advancing human populations around the world. Adoption, fostering, and legal guardianship all enable you to become a parent while making a difference in the life of a child or children who need someone in their corner. And becoming a step parent adds value to your life when you meet someone new. Parenting comes in many forms, and not all parenting tips will be suitable for your situation.
Parenting Does Not Come with a Manual
Regardless of whichever manner you end up becoming a parent, you need to know that it’s not easy. Parenting has no manual. You have to adapt to parenting challenges as you go along. Perhaps that’s why about 12 percent of parents experience high levels of parental burnout. Raising kids into responsible adults is no joke.
For this reason, you need to ignore all parenting tips from people who pretend to have a grasp on every aspect of their lives. There is no perfection in parenting. It’s not all roses.
Dealing with New Parenting Responsibilities
In this modern era, both men and women should parent their children in the partnerships they are in. And yet, mothers seem to feel more pressure to parent kids than men do. Studies show that women still assume more housework and parenting responsibilities. However, men are more involved with their kids now than they were 50 years ago. These days, 63 percent of men believe they are not spending time with their kids, so there is hope that things will change satisfactorily.
It is crucial that you understand where the potential problems may be concerning parenting right from the start. This ensures that you can have honest conversations with your partner. Doing so will help you implement parenting tips that will benefit your partnership and your kids in a way that creates a win-win situation for everyone where possible.
Parenting Tips You Should Consider Implementing
You don’t have to apply all the parenting tips that people send your way. You need to parent your way because you are the one who is responsible for turning that kid into a good human being. So take the time to determine what advice to follow and go with your gut. Here are a few parenting tips that you should consider.
1. Give up your misconceptions about what you think parenting is about
Everyone thinks they know how to parent until they have kids. And then everything they think they know goes straight out of the window. You and your partner need to give up your misconceptions of what you think parenting is about.
Every parent wants a child who is healthy, but you may not always get what you wish for. For instance, about 3 percent of all babies in the U.S. are born with birth defects, and 15 percent of children have developmental disabilities. These issues could make parenting your kids more difficult than you would expect. The parenting advice meant for children without special needs or disabilities would not work here. Therefore, it's important that you deal with your child and any issues they may have.
2. Accept help from trusted people
In this day and age, it is impossible to trust every person you come across with your child, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't accept help from those that you do trust. You and your partner’s parents should be your first line of defense if you need help taking care of your kids and they live nearby and are willing to babysit. Research shows that grandparents who help take care of their grandkids live longer. You, on the other hand, will benefit by getting the break you need to take some time off for yourself. And you and your partner may even be able to go out on a date!
Please consider trusted friends with whom you could share babysitting responsibilities. All of you can work out a schedule that allows every parent who is part of that arrangement to take turns babysitting and then getting time off to enjoy a few hours free of their kids.
Babysitters are also worth considering if they have an excellent reputation. The average pay for a babysitter ranges from $7 to $15 per hour. Paying for babysitting services is a wonderful investment if it gives you time off and helps you to keep your sanity.
Asking for help when you need it as a new parent is one of those parenting tips that you should implement. It does not make you a bad parent. On the contrary, it will allow you to take time off for yourself so that you can keep your sanity and continue to be a good parent to your child. Don’t be ashamed to get help from people in your social circle that you trust.
3. Learn to say no and create your special traditions
"No" is a complete word that will save your life. Learn to wield it like a weapon when you need to. As a new parent, you will come across all manner of tips on how to raise your child. Some people will be forceful in how they go about commanding you to deal with your children. Don’t try to please other people and parent in a manner you are uncomfortable with just because you do not want to disappoint your close family and friends. People-pleasing is a very stressful habit and will turn you into a stressed-out parent who will raise stressed-out kids.
Create traditions that are special to you, your partner, and any child or children that you may have together. Do you want to take your child to church as Jennifer Garner does? Who cares if everyone else around you disapproves? Do you want to read to your child every night? You do that. Do you prefer raising multi-lingual children like Suri Cruise? Don’t let anyone stop you! Do what’s best for your child and let the naysayers rant.
4. Walk away from a crying child to avoid shaking the baby
Parenting is rewarding. But when your child is crying, and you have fed that child, changed the diapers, and made sure everything is okay, it can be very frustrating for you to keep listening to those cries. It is difficult to deal with those grating cries especially when you are dirty, cranky, and operating on minimal sleep. But it will happen.
An estimated 1,000 to 3,000 babies suffer from Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) every year. This form of abuse usually involves an older child or adult shaking a baby violently. Some parents do it out of sheer frustration when they feel nothing else is working to calm the child. Don’t do it. You need to learn to walk away! Let your child continue crying and take the time to calm yourself mentally before you go back to try and soothe the baby. This will ensure you do not irrevocably harm your child based on a few moments of stress.
5. Rest when you can
New parents sleep for less than five hours on any given night. Sleep deprivation is a real challenge for many new parents. So, take the time to rest when you can. Don’t start cleaning up your house when your child is sleeping. You are better off sleeping instead. You can always hire someone to help you clean your home later. Your wellbeing is more important.
6. Create a routine for your child
Routines are worth the hassle it will take to set them up in the first place. They are an excellent way of helping new parents organize themselves and their children’s schedules. Research shows that family routines are related to marital satisfaction and parenting competence. They also help enhance a child’s language and social skill development as well as academic achievements. It’s worth noting that kids with a bedtime routine sleep for longer and better.
7. Trust your instincts
If your gut tells you that there is something wrong with your child, especially when that child is unwell, seek a second opinion. Trust your instincts. You know your child better than other people do.
8. Don’t neglect your partner
One of the biggest challenges for new parents is the lack of time. The bond between you and your partner will get tested in ways you have never imagined. Don’t neglect your partner. Remember that parenting tip on asking for help? It will come in handy here. Let others help you with your child, and take the time to go bond with your partner. A stable relationship between the two of you will be beneficial for your children.
9. Be on the lookout for postpartum depression
About one in every nine women suffers from postpartum depression. These rates can be as high as 20 percent in some places. Don’t dismiss what you are feeling and assume that they are “baby blues” that will go away. Ignoring this problem may lead to suicidal thoughts or even attempts. And you deserve to live for yourself and your loved ones.
Postpartum depression also affects men. The rates of men who suffer from paternal postpartum depression can be as high as 26 percent! Those who have partners with postpartum depression are at higher risk of becoming depressed. Becoming an adoptive parent does not spare you either. Postpartum depression does affect adoptive parents and is just as serious.
You need to talk to a psychotherapist once you realize that something is not right with you or your partner. This is not just something that you will get over. Sometimes you may need medication to help boost your mood and ensure that you function normally again. Don’t be a hero. Get help when you need it.
Implement the Right Parenting Tips for You
Not all the parenting tips that people will send your way will be worth your time. But some of them will help save not just your life but that of your child. The above parenting tips will get you started. There are lots more out there that will be of help to you as you embark on your parenting journey. Find what works for you and discard what doesn’t. Remember, parenting does not come with a manual and it is all trial-and-error. You turned out just fine and so will your children as long as you love them with all your heart.