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May 19 2022 12:31 PM ˚
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Tips every first-time parent should know

One parenting trend that has remained consistent till today is that most new parents would rather keep parenting tips in the family. (Photo: Freepik)
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Entering parenthood can be overwhelming for adults who often feel entirely unprepared for it. In our rapidly changing world, first-time parents may quickly come to realize that the world they were raised in is not the same as the one their children will be raised in. اضافة اعلان

There are the usual parts of parenthood that will always be there for any new parent, like changing diapers. But there are also responsibilities that are unique to current times, and parents must learn to adapt their parenting techniques in order to keep up. Today’s conversations with your children will revolve around a lot of rapidly rising social issues, ensuring internet safety, regulating screen time, and more.

Many studies looked at how parenting trends have either remained relatively similar or evolved over the years, and which ones are on the horizon. One trend that has remained consistent, according to a 2020 survey data by diaper-rash company Boudreaux, is that most new parents would rather keep parenting tips in the family. The survey found that 42 percent of parents prefer turning to their partners for advice and 41 percent turn to their mother before seeking information from external sources, with other parents being the third most popular source of information.

The same survey suggests that 17 percent of new parents go online for parenting tips, and 10 percent turn to social media. However, there is a disparity in accessing online resources, with parents from better socioeconomic backgrounds having better access to such resources. Lack of access to modern parenting advice, strategies, information, and resources results in new parents not having the necessary education and knowledge about how to raise their children in a holistic way that ensures their future wellbeing.

The preferred parenting style, according to the same 2020 report, is authoritative, with parents firm about their set rules and boundaries while still maintaining empathy for their children. Child development experts agree that it is the optimal choice among the four main parenting styles, the other three being authoritarian, neglectful, and permissive.

Interestingly, a 2020 study done at the University of Washington found that “parentese” – when parents and adults alter their speech when talking to babies by using exaggerated vowel sounds – can actually help with the development of a child’s vocabulary at a faster rate. However, it is important to note that “parentese” is not the same as baby talk, which does not have the most positive reputation.

Irrespective of the parenting trend at any given moment, it is important for first-time parents to know some tips that have stood the test of time and will help them gain the confidence they need to embrace their new role.

With this new wave of “momfluencers” on social media platforms, which portray an eerily perfect life as new mothers who are handling parenting like it were a piece of cake, it can be difficult for mothers not to compare themselves and feel as though they are doing something wrong because their reality does not match what they see on Instagram.
Decisions are not black or white, and what works for others might not work for you, so let your parenting be guided by your priorities and values.
Even though less pressure is put on fathers, it is still there, and some dads might also feel as though they are not performing their “role”, especially when the family dynamic is different from what is considered socially conventional.

Never compare yourself to anyone, especially not to someone on social media who is only portraying a miniscule percentage of what their life with their new born is like.

Accept that there will always be mommy-shamers as well as conflicting opinions and guidelines when it comes to parenthood, so the best way to deal with the pressure is to stop feeling guilty and feeling the need to explain every choice you make as a parent. Decisions are not black or white, and what works for others might not work for you, so let your parenting be guided by your priorities and values.

Feeling that your child is not hitting all the milestones you set can overwhelm and exhaust you, and make you feel as though you are never doing enough. If your child is moving at a concerningly slow pace, seek professional help and listen to your paediatrician, not the internet.

Accept that with a child, everything will take 10 times longer to accomplish, even simple daily tasks. So be ready to face uncertainty and get comfortable with last-minute changes. It is also important that you set realistic expectations for your partner as well, and accept that moms and dads will do things differently. As long as the end goal is to succeed, agree on the big things and let the little things go.

The fear that the child might resent being told “no” might make it difficult for parents to set necessary boundaries for the child’s wellbeing and safety. However, that is when you should remember that your job is not to be cool or popular. Children are not capable of making the healthiest and safest decisions for themselves; that responsibility falls on the parents. So, it is okay if your child does not like you in the moment, and might even say “I hate you”.
Know that in the long run, children will appreciate you for setting clear expectations for them. In addition, the better you get at saying no to your child, the fewer times you will actually have to do it.
When a child says he hates you, he does not actually mean it. The things that matter most to children will be their toys, electronics, junk food, amongst others. So saying no to them, taking gadgets away or setting clear rules surrounding their use will be the biggest heartbreak children will have experienced up until that point. Therefore, they will match that experience with the word hate, even when they do not really know what that word entails, to express their anger and frustration.

Know that in the long run, children will appreciate you for setting clear expectations for them. In addition, the better you get at saying no to your child, the fewer times you will actually have to do it.

The earlier you establish a household routine that accounts for all hours of the day, the easier life will be for you and your child. Have a family meeting and set the rules with your child, allowing him to have a say in the rules set, and making sure that they are fair. The earlier you agree on bedtime, mealtime, and playtime, the more likely you are to significantly reduce the amount of temper tantrums and screaming matches.

Give children chores for them to become self-reliant and good hygiene routines, whether it is hanging a jacket, putting their dirty clothes and toys away, making their bed, and setting the table. Helping out with household tasks will improve children’s self-esteem because it shows them that you trust them to get the job done.

At the end of the day, the quality time you spend with your child will determine the quality of your relationship. Build traditions early and allocate time for them irrespective of how busy your schedule is. When you do not give children the attention they need, they will look to get it in rebellious ways.

It is vital that you read to your child every single day. Stories are the best way for children to learn important life lessons and grow imagination. Try to answer all their questions, no matter how ridiculous they might sound. One of the best things about children is their curiosity, and if you stop answering them, they will stop asking you and turn to other people or, even more dangerously, to the internet, for answers they should be hearing from you. 

Children are like sponges; they absorb everything around them, so try your best to be a good role model. Foster happiness and optimism, apologize and own up to your mistakes, talk about your day and your feelings, and most importantly, trust your gut.

Despite the countless resources available to help parents navigate this new journey of parenthood, nothing will teach them to be a parent better than simply being one. As long as you are doing your best you will have done a good job.

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