Families come in all shapes and sizes; different family types have different challenges. Managing a family alone can be difficult, it can also be difficult for two parents to develop a shared Parenting plan they both agree with. Stepfamilies have their own challenges as they learn to live together. No matter what your family is like, the following hints aim top help make parenting easier.
Have realistic expectations of yourself
Do not think you should know all there is about parenting, as you learn to be a parent and meet the challenges that face you everyday, remind yourself that every parent makes mistakes and learns as they go. Have realistic expectations of your partner or others around you as well, they are learning as you are, so try to be understanding of each other. Try to have realistic expectations of your child, check that the parenting demands you are making you are making such as chores or standards of behaviour are appropriate for your child’s age and abilities.
Enjoy your child
In a busy family it’s easy to get caught up with other demands, try to make time each day to enjoy your child’s company and have some fun together. Find out what’s happened in your child’s day and talk about it together. Spending time with your child is important for your relationship and shows them that you care.
Look after yourself
Just because you are a parent does not mean that your own needs are no longer important. It’s much easier to look after your child if your own needs are being met. If you find find it difficult making time for yourself, start by just doing one thing a day you enjoy, 10 minutes can make a huge difference. Everyone needs some time away from their children, this is normal and healthy, proving your child is well cared for and you have plenty of positive times with your child, it will not harm your relationship to have time apart.
Avoid conflict in front of your child
Do not argue or fight in front of your child as it can be upsetting for them and children learn a lot though watching others. Children who can see their parents arguing or fighting can often pick these sorts of behaviours up as ‘normal’ and mimic them when dealing with issues within their own lives.
Everyone needs help in raising their children, through family, friends, neighbours or elsewhere within the community. Meeting with other parents like yourself can provide social contact, sharing care and allows you to talk through ideas and share experiences.