You’ve spent months considering clothing colours and preparing for the birth. But you may not have even considered preparing emotionally for becoming a parent, until suddenly it’s all very real.
Along with feelings of joy and excitement, it’s also common to feel confused, fragile, and uncertain. You may also find that it doesn’t help when you’re getting a lot of conflicting advice! Having positive parenting strategies right from the start helps you as well as your baby.
When your first child arrives or is due soon, you suddenly move into a new generation, which takes some emotional adjustment. You have new responsibilities, new routines, and even physical challenges. You may also find you become more aware of your own childhood experiences.
Babies are sensitive to what’s going on around them, and a positive environment helps their development. There’s no such thing as the perfect parent, and everyone has good and bad days. However, finding healthy ways to deal with tiredness, conflict, and worries in the early days of parenting helps you cope with these challenges. Learning to manage a wide range of feelings will also help you to be a good emotional role model for your child as they grow. This includes feeling confident about your parenting knowledge and skills.
Ideally, parenting support helps you feel informed, empowered, so you can choose what could be helpful to your family. Unfortunately, many new parents encounter the opposite: ‘you must’ or ‘you must not’ do this or that – with each ‘expert’ contradicting the other. This understandably creates confusion! On the other hand, building up your own toolkit of positive parenting strategies and skills helps you feel more confident. You’re the expert on your own child, after all!
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Parenting advice shouldn’t create confusion
So how can you be more emotionally prepared for parenthood, and feel empowered and more confident?
It can help to start by being realistic. Modern society tends to shield us from the realities of newborn life, and advertisements and greeting cards make it seem like all babies do is sleep and gurgle happily. It can help to do some research about what’s normal when it comes to crying and sleeping. Keep it in perspective though – every baby’s different and you’re the best person to make decisions about your own baby.
Well-meaning friends and family may brush aside your feelings of sadness or worry, or go the other way and scare you into thinking the worst. Being aware of your own thoughts and emotions and how they’re linked is a good first step.
Allow yourself time to adjust emotionally, rather than expecting to instantly feel great about all the changes in your life. It can really help to seek out friendly and supportive community groups and family members who you can share experiences with.
And for couples, a great way to keep your relationship strong is to learn positive communication strategies to help you share feelings in a supportive way.
Triple P for Baby is a program especially for new parents. It can help you turn ideas into reality, with practical, positive tips, ideas, worksheets and more.
You can achieve your parenting goals with the Triple P’s toolkit of parenting solutions and strategies. The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, developed here in Australia, is now the world’s most widely researched parenting program.
Triple P for Baby has undergone many years of research and clinical trials in various countries, with couples, mothers, and fathers. The program helps parents feel less stressed, happier, and more confident. Couples also reported improved relationships with each other.
Learn new ways to help your baby develop, as you manage changes – positively!