During your During your

On Being A New Parent

On a stone bridge, young parents admire their child.

During your pregnancy, you were probably bombarded with unsolicited advice. But now that you have your baby, you have real concerns, doubts, and questions and you don’t know where to turn. You may be blessed with guidance from family and close friends you trust and feel comfortable with. Or you may hesitate to follow their advice because it seems outdated or just doesn’t feel right to you. You may hesitate to get advice from those close to you because you want to do it your way or are afraid asking about one thing will lead to them taking over and telling you how to do everything. Or you may not have family or close friends to turn to for advice. You may turn to your pediatrician, but discover those rushed appointments don’t lend themselves to exploring all your concerns in depth.

Notice whom among your family and friends is a good parent. Spend time with that person. Join a local mothers group, notice who you feel comfortable with there, and make a point to spend time with those particular people. Moms Club International, La Leche League, and Meetup Groups are available in most towns. Your local parenting magazine publishes a list of local parenting groups. Surround yourself with good influences.

Stay away from bad influences.

Consider those who have a negative effect on you. You may, for example, notice you feel bad about yourself around them. They may be critical, unsupportive, or judgmental. Avoid spending time with these people. If you can’t avoid them, limit the amount contact both in frequency and duration.

Pay attention to your child. Be mindful of how they respond to you. Of anyone, your baby will teach you best of what they need from you.

Read books and magazines about parenting, but be critical of what you read. Remember that during the first year of life a child develops a strong bond and attachment with parents that shape their future relationships. Their developmental task is trust vs. mistrust. If they have good enough parents and other caregivers who are consistently—but not perfectly—responsive to their needs they learn they are loveable can trust others and . This responsiveness is a gift from you to your child, which sticks with them and serves as a solid, stable foundation to future development. Books can be helpful but don’t follow advice blindly or rely too much on them. Listen to your instinct.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We can’t do it alone. We need all the help and support we can get. Consider counseling, especially if upsetting feelings are prominent and persistent. You don’t have to experience marital conflict, anxiety, worry, depression, or emotional pain. A counselor is an experienced and objective third party who can listen and offer guidance, helping you find your way.

© Copyright 2010 by Susan Martinez, MA, LMFT. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • kory

    January 29th, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    It is very important not to pressurize yourself into striving into becoming a ‘good’ parent… but what is actually required is to make sure that you and your baby comfort each other and are happy and content with each other’s presence… when there is good care-taking, the bond develops naturally…

  • Nancy

    January 29th, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    Thank you for writing this wonderful article! With three children of my own I often get overwhelmed and concerned about how I am raising them. Your article has given me some great ideas to aide me in my journey of being a loving and nuturing parent.

  • Carolyn

    January 30th, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    Parenting is really just all baout feeling things out for yourself and finding what feels right for you and your family. There is some great advice out there to be had but there are also some bad ideas that are flotaed around as well and it is hard to make sense of it all. But I think that the best thing to do, as I get my 2 cents worth in, is to find out what works best for you and your crew. Parenting is not one size fits all. Every family and family dynamic is different. As long as you give the children love and support the rest will typically fall into place.

  • Kallis

    January 30th, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    having a kid is a major event in any person’s life… it brings in a new relationship and also changes the aspects of your relationship with our spouse.

  • Jennifer Schafer

    January 31st, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    I LOVED the article!!!! I found it very helpful. Parenting is hard and I agree that finding parents you feel like are doing a good job with their children. We moved out of state when my daughter was only 3 months old. I went to many play dates and found moms doing things that did not feel right in my heart. For example, forcing their kids to sleep alone in a crib and letting them cry it out! I knew that did not feel right in my heart. So I found Attachment Parenting International and La Leche League. Both organizations had the same belifes as me. I soon met many other moms doing things the way I did and felt at home with them. Finding the right group is key!

  • Nicole

    January 31st, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    I agree that it is important to discern good and bad influences. As a new mother, I found myself questioning my own intuition and searching for “quick fixes” as promised by some bad parenting advice. In the end, I learned to connect with my children and allow them to guide me through their needs on a much deeper level.

  • maggie W

    January 31st, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Being a parent is hard work and if anyone ever tells you anything different then they are lying.

  • Olivia

    February 1st, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    When you become a parent that is definitely the time to throw away all of the bad influences in your life and concentrate on bringing only positive things into the life of your child. If you are not willing to let go of the negative environment then you are probably not ready to have a child!

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