Tag Archive: parent tips


Family

I don’t ever profess to be the perfect parent AT ALL. In fact, most days, I feel like I’m falling short in a massive way. Motherhood is by a long shot, the most difficult journey I’ve had to navigate and it’s not just that newborn, super-over-tired phase. Each stage and each part of your child’s development presents new challenges and believe me, most days it feels like the blind leading the blind! That “Ï’m a new mom, what am I doing?” feeling rears its head often – whether you’re a mom of a newborn or a mom of a five year old. While I don’t have a newborn, I’ve never parented a five year old either – and that’s the stage I find myself in so technically, I’m a new mom too.

Recently, my babies got their first cousin – she is three weeks old now and just too precious. So I started thinking about what I would’ve told myself, if my newborn’s mom self and five-year-old’s mom self sat down and had a cup of tea. Candice of June 2009 meet Candice of March 2015.

1: PICK YOUR BATTLES

The birth of a child affects an entire family, not just a mom. Pick your battles – with your kids and with anyone else in your house. You’re going to be so tired, whether your child is a month old or three years old, so you can end up grilling your husband about something totally ridiculous (been there, done that) and when you look back, IT IS totally ridiculous. Before you rage, take a step back and think about it. With your kids too. I’ve learnt this the hard way.

2: COMPARISON CAN BE A KILLER

Don’t be hard on yourself. Your child will never be like anyone else’s and just because your child isn’t sleeping through the night at 8 months, doesn’t mean that’s your fault. Comparing your child to anyone else’s doesn’t achieve anything but parent-stress. What messes with our heads the most is how we think it’s supposed to be. Be confident in the way you choose to parent your babies.

3: HONESTY IS KEY

Parenthood doesn’t of course come without its struggles. In fact, it’s riddled with them. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, so we might as well all be real about it. Being open about what you find difficult along the way, is one of the best things you can do. You often find that there are other parents dealing with the same things and you can swop ideas on how to deal with that particular thing. If you act like you have it all together even when you don’t, you’ll eventually get tired of it. People relate to honesty. If you’re having a HORRENDOUS day, say so. Other moms and dads are likely to encourage you and identify with where you are. You won’t feel so alone!

4: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

This is the MOST important thing I can tell you ~ always remember, you are their parent first and their friend second. That might be choosing the harder road most times, and that’s going to sting but some of the most important things we teach our kids, require us to be their parents above being their friends. It’s one of the greatest injustices you can do to your kids. Friends hold no accountability, friends have no boundaries, friends want to appear cool, and friends know it’s easy to say yes. Parents set boundaries, parents instigate consequences, parents are consistent, parents use

mistakes as teachable moments, parents know when to say no. It’s hard to stick to that, when your love for your child is so strong and you want to give them everything THEY want but teaching them a life lesson requires us to be the parent, and not the friend. We equip our kids for life when we parent as parents, and not as friends. Of course, they can be your friend as they grow and mature, my mom is one of my best friends, but when it comes down to the stuff that really matters and the years where the foundations are laid, always remember you’re their PARENT first, and their friend after that. They will thank you later in life.

(I feel this will get harder to stick to as my babies grow but I’m gonna try!)

On the hard days, just remember that your child was given to you, formed and created specifically to be parented by you. That’s an immense privilege. Yes, there will be days we get it wrong – we must have the courage to say we’re sorry. Yes, there will be days where we feel like we’re getting it right – celebrate those small victories. Shaping and guiding a life from birth is something that we shouldn’t take for granted, even on the days where we feel like we’re the ones who should be sitting in time out!

Hang in there moms and dads. No-one ever said it was going to be easy but I can tell you for sure, it’s all going to be worth it.

For more from Candice Fourie, on her own most excellent blog, click over here.

[For the next exciting part where Melissa Hertz shares ten tips from her own parenting journey, click here]

calvin

So tbV and i do not have any children at the moment. And we are kinda hoping that moment lasts a lifetime. Which makes some people tend to weird out a little bit as if having children was the ultimate point of life. [SPOILER: It’s not!]

Having and raising children is an incredible thing and both a huge responsibility and privilege, but it is a choice that some people make and other perfectly normal people choose not to. We should get over that for starters.

However, having been around people with young children a lot during our three years in Americaland then lived with two families with young children for the first six months back in South Africa we have been able to observe many things, and one thing that is for sure – raising children is not easy.

The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ sounds completely apt because it can be such a complicated thing to do as two people [with one working, or in some cases both] and even, in some situations, as one.

Complex aspects such as when your child throws a tantrum [both publically and at home], how to discipline effectively [when different parents may have different ideas or growing up experiences to draw from] and even ‘simpler’ things like ‘getting them to eat their food’, ‘monitoring how they play with other children’ and ‘losing games well’ can seem like mountains if what you try doesn’t seem to be working.

i thought it might be helpful to canvas some parents i do know who seem to be doing okay or whose children seem to be well adjusted, and to ask them for some tips, ideas or experiences from their life, that may help some others of you out there. Obviously each child and each family situation is different and this is definitely an area where one size does not fit all. But i also imagine that some of the time you are just looking for some new ideas that might be worth a shot and may even work for you.

That is what this series is going to be about, and if you think you have a parenting tip that worked well for you and may help out someone else who is struggling in some area, please don’t hesitate to email me at brettfish@hotmail.com and see if we can add it here]…

Happy [and hopefully slightly more successful] parenting people…

4 Tips from a mum – Bek Curtis from Australia had so many things to share, she could not keep it to one

The Most Important Thing – frequent collaborator Candice Fourie shares some key tips for parents

Ten Tips from a motherhood that has stretched me – Melissa Hertz shares some skills she picked up as a mom

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