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8 Mistakes Every New Parent Makes

by Katlyn Joy | May 25, 2014 3:23 PM
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We read all the books, take childbirth and parenting classes, and prepare in every way imaginable for the most important job we'll ever have—Parent. But dreams of perfectionism are simply that — dreams! It's a non-stop job that comes with many mishaps, so it's inevitable that you will make mistakes.

1. Believing everything you read by any given expert. We want to know the best things to do for our children, but sometimes you can overload on the expert advice. This can lead to confusion when so-called experts' advice collides. It's good to gather some knowledge, but you have to take everything, even if written by an M.D. or Ph.D., with a grain of salt. At some point, you've got to trust your own parenting gut. If you are unsure, a simple call to your pediatrician will help alleviate the confusion.

2. Letting someone else have a say over your parenting. Related to the first point, this one is common for the particularly soft-spoken among us. It could be your mother, mother-in-law, or a best friend. They begin by helping out, giving a hand, offering some words of wisdom and the next thing you know, she/he is dismantling your parenting methods, butting in and taking over little by little. Set boundaries, practice being firm and take a stand. "This is my home, my family, my child, and I'll take it from here. Thanks."

3. Thinking everything your child does is precocious rather than precious. These are the parents who look in every developmental chart and insist their child is way, way advanced because they blew spit bubbles at two weeks old rather than at two months, or they have a sound sleep schedule at six weeks. Later, their child is speaking Italian, rather than babbling in baby talk. Your child doesn't need to be a genius; isn't he just perfect without having to be... well, 'perfect'?

4. Freaking out over every sniffle, cough or pimple. Babies make odd noises, get random bumps, and occasionally unleash a spit up or a burp that rivals toxic waste. If their poo looks more green than yellow one day, maybe it's that salad you had for lunch, not a precursor to the flu. Babies are very resilient creatures and made for living outside the uterus. You don't have to be a doctor's nightmare patient to be a good parent. Get a good baby health book and learn to relax. Trust me; you'll KNOW when you need a hospital!

5. Starting bad habits that are hard to stop. If you pick up baby every single time she fusses, you might be over-parenting the child. Meeting their emotional needs doesn't mean smothering. Let baby fuss a bit before snatching her out of the crib. Maybe he will get distracted playing with his thumb and go back to sleep. If you never let your child be, how will she learn to entertain herself, soothe herself or have confidence in her abilities to do anything without your assistance? Many bad habits start with infancy.

6. Indulging in famous last words. You know, those famous last words you wish you could eat. They often start with phrases like, "My child will never..." or "My husband and I are committed to raising our kids to..." Trust your gut, but don't go too far and be sure of things you've yet to experience. Things change, circumstances change, and many times we don't have the control over everything that we would like to.

7. Buying the wrong things. If your whole life you've dreamed of dressing a little girl like a doll baby, you are certain to end up with a drawer full of adorable outfits your child will wear once, if at all. Don't think you need all the bells and whistles of babyhood. If they make a chair that displays the solar system, records your voice singing your child's favorite lullaby and mimics the motion of the fetus in utero, you don't actually need to buy it. Babies have simple needs and desires, and most of them reside in you.

8. Assuming baby isn't aware of things. Babies may not know what a marital spat is, but they know the two people they depend on are upset and upsetting baby. If you make a habit of swearing in front of baby like a string of sailor speech, when will you stop that? When baby is speaking, when baby is repeating? If you think baby isn't affected by gory movies, angry people or other bad behavior, you are underestimating your child. Creating a loving environment for your baby.

If you and your husband are having a fight, try to set a time for talking, or screaming (yes, this is normal, common, and sometimes needed) when baby isn't around. Find a babysitter, a family member, or a friend to take your child for a little while so that you two can resolve the problem, and get back to a happy, healthy environment that your baby needs.

We parents aren't perfect, and we shouldn't expect to be – even though we all certainly try our hardest! Love your baby, love your family, cherish each moment, learn what matters, and what doesn't, and take it one day at a time. Parenting is a learning experience, a journey, and the best one anyone could ever take!


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