Monday, August 8, 2011

Sean Said: Advice to New Parents

Pretty much the only guys who ever get asked for parenting advice are the ones whose profession makes it seem like they should be an expert; I don't know if its because people just presume we don't know anything (a belief we do a great deal to reinforce with our antics around a first baby) or what. But whatever the reason, I have never been asked for my opinion on any child rearing topic unless Margaret was by my side and the question was aimed at us both.

However, this lack of questions doesn't change the fact that I am a know-it-all and really want to share what I have learned with someone. Fortunately, writing on a blog doesn't require the audience to have requested the opinion, so I can just go right ahead and tell you what I think every new parent ought to know.

Learn Everything You Can

The very process of raising a child is itself educational, and everyone learns many tricks along the way, but don't ever be satisfied with just learning from your own experiences. There are countless resources in this world to help you be prepared for what is happening and what is to come - use them. Read books, magazines, websites and blogs about parenting. Watch tv shows with child rearing experts. The more you know the better.

Have a Plan

There are some people who seem to think that they would be pissing all over a kid's childhood to introduce some structure and order into their lives - nothing could be further from the truth. As a parent who has tried to order some parts of my child's life, but not others, I can say with complete assuredness that the ordered parts not only achieved the desired results, but gave my son comfort and even confidence, while the chaotic parts were a pain not only to myself and Margaret, but to Robbie as well

We had plans to get him to read, sleep well and eat well - and those have all been unmitigated successes in his life. We did not have plans for getting him potty trained or teaching him sports and those have both been huge set backs for him.

Evaluate Your Parenting Regularly

Its very easy to get comfortable with a particular routine in regards to parenting, without having really thought through what the impacts of that routine might be. So look at what you doing. Examine every aspect of your parenting in its minutiae and ask yourself - is what I am doing the best choice for my child, myself and my family?

Sometimes the answer will yes, and then you can take comfort or even pride in your actions. Other times you will see a need for a change, either to correct a problem, or nip one in the bud.

Cherish Every Moment

Its really easy to get so caught up in the burdens of parenthood to not properly appreciate the time you have. Whatever age your child is today, and however hard today was for you, there will come a time when you wish you could have had them this age a little longer. Make sure you are wishing that because of all the fond memories and not because you didn't spend enough time with them.


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