Monday, September 13, 2010
The Best Parenting Advice I ever Got
(My sister-in-law took this picture. She gets the best photos of my kids!)
It seems that once you announce to the world that you're expecting everyone and their pet dog has advice for you. Within the first three months of being pregnant I perfected the “smile and nod” technique. And most people didn't know I was pregnant prior to 11 weeks, so you do the math...
But as much as I met people who told me they knew lots about kids because their sister, who lives 4 hours away, has a couple of kids that they see sometimes (true story!), I also have some really smart parents in my life. Both my own biological and in-law parents as well as tons of friends who are a little farther down the parenting road than me.
The really smart ones I take the time to ask for their advice or watch what works with their kids. I've learned to make friends with people who raised kids that turned out how I want mine to turn out. Hopefully I'll glean some tricks from them.
And I have learned some wonderful little tricks along the way for dealing with my headstrong, stubborn (and equally sweet!) two-year old. I've also learned some tried and true advice. So here are the top pieces of parenting advice I've received. If you're a new/expectant parent, I hope they are gems for you as much as they were for me. If you are a parent and you have an equally valuable nugget of gold that has gotten you through so much, I'd love to hear it. This doesn't need to be a complete list!
1.Don't take breastfeeding advice from someone who has never breastfed.
-I know this isn't really parenting advice, but it's advice I got as a new parent. And let me tell you, it is SO true (I was really tempted to put on about a zillion extra O's on that “so.” Imagine saying it that way, okay?). Inevitably you will meet some really nice nurse who will try to help you. And she'll even sound like she knows what she's talking about. But really, if a person is going to claim professional status in anything else, we expect them to have at least done it once. The same should be true about breastfeeding. So ask how many kids she nursed and for how long (if it was only 2 days, ask for someone else!).
(A little note to those who work in this area. If you have never breastfed, please do all mothers a favour and keep your mouth shut. I know that sounds harsh, but really, you don't know any more than the mom (trust me, if she's planning on breastfeeding, she has read all the books). It's then the blind leading the blind. Except she doesn't know you're blind. It doesn't matter if your sister, best friend or wife nursed, if you didn't, you have no business trying to help someone else do it. I have SO (again, add those extra O's) many friends who have been led astray by a well-meaning, misinformed nurse. Its not fair to her or her baby. Go get your coworker who actually nursed a child. You'll do the moms under your care a huge favour.)
2.Parent from your feet not from your seat.
-Sigh. This one is hard, especially when you're tired (and even harder now that I have two kids and the older one has figured out the times – like when I'm nursing the baby – that I can't really parent from my feet), but MAN it works. My kid responds so much better when I get UP to parent her instead of yelling (or even talking nicely) from the couch. So even when I don't want to, I try to remind myself that there will be a shorter battle if I'm standing and intervening rather than yelling/coaxing/begging plunked in my favourite chair.
3.Every time you ask your child twice (or more!) you undermine your own authority
-Ugg. Again, so true. Hard to live by, but once the habit is formed its so much easier. We work a lot on first time obedience at my house. And when I say “we” I mean me too because I have to remember to not ask a second (or third) time if I expect her to respect me and what I'm asking.
4.Get over Mom-guilt. It robs you of the joys of today
-Everyone makes mistakes. There are always better ways you could have handled the situation. Acknowledge that, apologize (to your kid, yourself, your spouse, whomever) and move on. Don't dwell on it. Wallowing in the guilt does not make you a better mom. And all of the worry and guilt does nothing to help you today.
5.Allow your kids freedom and independence.
-You are raising your kids to be contributing members of society (hopefully that's one of your goals!), so teach them how to contribute and then let them do it. You WANT them to be independent. If you teach them to always need you, what will they do when you're gone?
6.Pray, pray, pray.
-Sometimes that's all you can do.
Okay, let's hear yours!