I remember not getting a manual on parenting skills when my very first baby was born or any time after that.
I trust that you did not get one, too, correct?
I know that sometimes a lot of us wish that there is such a thing. There is just no step-by-step guide anywhere in the world that will train parents for what seems to be the biggest job of their lifetime.
Except, perhaps this one?
I remember the first day my first born came with us to the house.
We giggled some more and just took one day at a time.
We are now expecting our second baby and we feel that somehow, we have developed a skill-set of a not-too-bad parents through years of discovering, learning and building.
One reason is because we did a lot of asking around!
We asked our parents, our grandparents, friends, authors of parenting articles and “experts” in the field about their experiences.
While we did not copy and do everything that we were told, we took away the ones that made sense to us.
1. Get To Know The Family
Before anything else- whether you’re learning a new skill, solving a problem or developing new routines- knowing your “subject” is the first most important thing to accomplish.
After all, you want to do good by each other, and you want the family to be happy.
By family, I mean your partner, your baby and you!
If you have another person or other people who are involved in caring for your child, get to know them, too. This is the team-your team- that will work together in raising your child. Be cautious to not involve too many people though- there should only be one person in charge at a time.
2. Ask Around
How do I change the diaper? How often do we feed the baby?
What will I do with the rashes on my child’s skin? Which school do we send him to? Should we enroll in summer classes and if yes, how early? How to potty-train?
Can I give my baby coffee?
The list goes on!
Use your family, friends, doctor and even community workers as resources of ideas on what’s best to do. You will not raise your child according to their opinions, but what you are doing is gathering information that you and your partner will use to conclude what makes sense to you.
3. Read, read, and read! Did I say read?
Our parents didn’t have the helping hand of Dr Google to guide them through the growing stages of their kids. They didn’t get a chance to compare their experience with moms thousands of miles away.
Take advantage of the available sources and be an informed mom – you don’t have to do a PhD in child development, but educate yourself about how can you help your child achieve it’s full potential, how can you make a happy childhood memories for him and how to enjoy your time as a family and grow together.
See how your child responds to your style of parenting especially when she’s around other people when she thinks you’re not looking.
Often times you will discover through her conversations and activities with peers if your child-rearing ability is bringing positive results to your child’s behavior.
Through observing you can validate if you are being an effective parent and if your child is growing up to be the kind of child that you want him to be.
5. Practice What Works
The things that you do that make your child happy, healthy, strong and smart should be maintained so keep at them and practice, practice, practice so that it becomes second nature to you.
6. Find Like-Minded Parents
All parents experienced being first-time parents who had the same confusion and overwhelming feeling as yours. Connect with them and share experiences, they are almost always too happy to share what they found to work and don’t work.
Facebook provides a platform for this through community groups and pages that you could join.
Others touch base in person regularly at parks or any chosen venue which also serve as a breather or play-date opportunity. You will find that there are plenty that you could learn to do and not to do at these gatherings.
7. Keep At It
Parenting is a never-ending process of discovery, learning and practice.
Whether you are a young mother at 16, a working mommy at 32 or an almost-retired grandmother, as long as you have a child you will continue to be a parent.
With this in mind, keep doing the great things that you have proven to really work for your family.
Your children and the people who look up to you will inherent these awesome parenting skills that you have when it’s their time which becomes your living legacy.
8. Stay In Tune
Be attuned to the ever-changing technology and times.
This will benefit you, your partner and your children! By doing so, you are not left in the dark on what’s happening in the world and what gadgets or trends could be affecting your children’s lives and decisions.
You will be able to continuously provide relevant and sensible guidance for your children whenever needed. As a plus- you get to be called a trendy parent that your children could be very proud of!
9. Enjoy It While It Lasts
Children grow up super fast!
So fast that before you know it they would have entered college, started working, getting married or having children of their own!
So enjoy each and every minute of your parenthood and learn, learn, learn from each interaction and chance.
Soon they will stop needing us as much as they did when they were little!
10. Laugh At Yourself
Expect to make mistakes and whenever they happen, laugh at them and laugh at yourself!