So you are a new parent? Congratulations! Welcoming a new child into a family is an exciting, thrilling time. It can be scary, too, of course. And rightly so. No where else in life will you experience the rollercoaster of life more than in the game of parenting. I know because I have four children and have been parenting for more than two decades. What words of wisdom for new parents can i offer you? Well, if i was to start all over with my kids, I’d want to know that there is an art and a science to the skill of raising a child.
The Art of Parenting.
This is the heart of your parenting. You love your child. You want the very best for him. You envision years of happy times together. This is all good! The feelings and desires you have for your family will motivate you when times get tough. And you can be certain, times will get tough. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
You can establish strong heart bonds with your child by intentionally cultivating the relationship with her. Starting as a baby, spend time with your little one. As one who has been there, done that, I can assure you there is no substitute for time spent with your child.
Get to know this new human. Figure out her personality, her quirks, her talents, her frustrations. This will do several things for both of you as your child grows.
* Allow you to be the person she trusts. Your tender knowledge of her will prove your trustworthiness to her time and time again. She will know you are the person she can come to, anytime, with anything. This will be invaluable all through her young life, and especially as she travels through the teen years.
* Give you knowledge that will help you guide her through the pitfalls she must traverse. Instead of wringing your hands and worrying, you will be in a much better position to take positive action as necessary. Remember, you cannot control your child, but you do have tremendous influence over her as her parent.
* Cause you to deepen your love for your child. Whenever you deepen a relationship, the result is a tighter bond. Yes, I’ll admit this is why you will hurt at times over your child. But deepening your love for your family is what will enable you to make the necessary sacrifices to care for them in the ways they will need.
No one said parenting is easy. But it can be extremely rewarding.
The Science of Parenting.
This is the head or thinking side of your parenting. This is where you apply all the skills you use in other areas of your life to improve yourself as a parent.
For example, you probably had some sort of education to be trained in your current job or career. Perhaps it took you years to learn your career skills. Perhaps it was simply a matter of on-the-job training. Whatever it was, you knew there was a learning curve involved. You may have continuing education requirements for your career, as well.
Thoughtful wisdom in parenting dictates there is also a learning curve. This is definitely an on-the-job type of training, but you needn’t feel overwhelmed. Parenting is the most popular career field on the planet. There is no shortage of books, seminars, classes, and mentors available to you concerning this topic.
Like any career, you’ll need to do a little research to determine which voices to listen to. I recommend making a list of all the parents you know who are raising their children in ways in which you respect. These are the voices to begin to listen to.
Be flexible in your parenting. What works in one season of your family’s life may not work as well in another. And what works beautifully with one child may fail miserably with another child. As you maneuver through the science of parenting, let your heart (art) be your guide. I am a firm believer that no one knows a child the way that child’s parent does. As you listen to other parents and learn through parenting resources, listen with your heart. Will this material work in my family? Could I adapt it to work more specifically for my family’s situation? Feel free to try parenting ideas and make adjustments over time. Very few ideas will work the first time, but many ideas will be invaluable over the long haul.
The last bit of wisdom for new parents I’d like to offer is this: give yourself a break. If you are loving your child and working to learn what you can about the parenting game, you are probably doing a wonderful job. Kids are flexible and can stand up to most of our mistakes. Have a humble and grateful heart and be determined to do whatever you need to do as a parent and you’ll do great.