Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world and it will take a long time until you will feel confident about it. But it shouldn’t be so. Below, I compiled some tips I would give new parents
First and foremost, relax. If you feel you don’t know how, find people, books or methods that can help you. Listen to your intuition. In the end, all our answers are inside us.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your parenting challenges; everyone has them. When necessary, cry about them – to a good friend who knows how to listen. And then you listen.
Take time for yourself regularly. Make a list of 20 things you love to do (thanks to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way for this idea) and make sure you do something from that list as often as possible, preferably daily. When your batteries are recharged you’ll have more energy for your kids.
Institute routines and try to stick to them.
If you find yourself having trouble being consistent or saying no and sticking to it, seek whatever help you can now, especially if your kids are very young. Love, of course, is the most important thing, but limits run a close second. One without the other will create problems.
Raising kids is the hardest job in the world, according to one of my mentors, the late pediatrician, child psychiatrist and parent education pioneer, Dr. Nina Lief. Remember that when the going gets rough. Pat yourself on the back (or better, do something from the list mentioned above) when things are going well.
Listen to your kids. Acknowledge their feelings without judging them. As my 17-year-old daughter says: “Mom, I don’t need you to solve my problems. I just need you to accept my feelings.”
If you’re having discipline problems, read Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, one of my favorite parenting books.
Read to your kids daily. There are some wonderful children’s’ books out there; you will enjoy them, too.
Sing with your kids from time to time. Learning nursery rhymes like Jack be Nimble can be a fun experience that will further enhance your bond.
If you’re about to give birth, read The Continuum Concept. In it Jean Liedloff describes the way a tribe of stone-age Indians in the Amazon raise happy, self-reliant kids who seldom cry by cleaving to age-old child-rearing wisdom.
Spend unstructured, do-nothing time with your kids in which you have no plans other than to hang out. Spend time with them in the wild.
If possible, make it a priority for one parent to stay home – if he or she will be happy doing so – for at least the first three years of a child’s life. Life, hopefully, is long, and this investment is worth its weight in gold.
The less TV, the better. If you can live without television, do so. It’s not so bad.
The less time spent playing computer games, the better.
When you become a parent, all your own unresolved issues will surface. We often find ourselves unconsciously playing out these issues with our kids. For example, if you feel your parents didn’t pay you enough attention, you may overcompensate by paying too much attention to your kids, thus creating demanding little tyrants. Becoming conscious of such dynamics may help avoid them.
They say that kids absorb little of what we say, more of what we do, and much of who we are. Find a way to work on yourself, to release internal blocks so your love can flow freely.
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