Just in case you’re unsure, “parenting is hard,” it will test you beyond what you think you can handle. You will bend but if you prepare properly you won’t break. Anyone with kids can tell you it’s not always a walk in the park. There are so many different styles of parenting but one thing we can all agree on is that parenting is hard. Having kids comes with many joys and proud moments, but it doesn’t come without hardships and sacrifices.
Parenting is Hard…Really Hard
Having friends or family members who are parents can offer a great soundboard to talk to about the struggles that come with parenting. There are some aspects, however, that nobody really tells you about being a parent or it just isn’t brought up in conversation. For instance, no one tells you beforehand the number of unsolicited comments you will receive in public about parenting. Everyone has an opinion on what’s best for their child and it doesn’t matter what you do there will always be someone telling you it’s wrong.
As if becoming a parent doesn’t present its own challenges, add on the guilt that often comes with it. The pressures many parents find themselves faced with today are much different than those of our parents. Even before the baby arrives you have important decisions to make. The multitude of choices parents now have regardless of their reasons also invites opportunity for unsolicited opinions. This can leave new parents feeling as if they’re not making the best choices for their children.
Parents of newborns will tell you the newborn stage is the hardest while parents of toddlers might argue the toddler stage is the hardest. The more experienced parents of teenagers will merely laugh and say the teenage years are the hardest. Every stage of parenting is hard! Each stage of your child’s development comes with different challenges. There are effective ways to tackle every stage to help make the journey a little smoother.
Having an understanding and learning about different factors that come into play when raising a child provide a good start. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Much of what you learn can and will be gained from experience. Having a guide to help you through those experiences will ultimately guide you towards raising happy, successful children.
Best Books for New Parents
There is a saying that children don’t come with an instruction manual. While that may be technically true, there are books that can be really helpful to first-time parents. Why choose books over the Internet? The simple answer is books offer more sound knowledge backed by credible sources whereas you can pull up anything on the Internet that could be false. Another reason to opt for books is that they will more often leave you feeling better than you did before. As many helpful and knowledgeable resources you can come to find online there are always going to be the negative nancies that have an opinion. Books may offer the opinion of the author on certain things but it’s not likely to bring on guilt.
If you don’t have close friends who are parents or family members to talk to about parenting, having useful resources to turn to can offer some peace of mind and clarity. These are some great book options that can guide you on what to expect in those early years and what to do in common and not-so-common occurrences you might face.
Baby 411: Your Baby, Birth to Age 1!
This book was written by Dr. Ari Brown and Denise Fields to combine the wisdom and experience that comes from parenthood and solid medical evidence. It covers those frequently asked questions many first time parents find themselves asking during the early stages of parenthood. Find out what questions you should be asking and tips for choosing the right pediatrician. Learn tips and secrets for getting your baby to sleep through the night and what gizmos work and which ones don’t.
Common concerns and questions parents ask in terms of what is normal in their child are also covered and when you should worry. Learn what to look for and cues of fussiness that might be due to colic, reflux, or gas. Also covered is valuable insight on what’s normal in your baby’s development and what you should expect at each stage and milestone. It is conveniently formatted with headings for questions that are covered making it easy to find the answers you are looking for. Baby 411 is a great guide for new parents, experienced parents, and caregivers as well as grandparents! There is also a second edition written by these authors, Toddler 411 which offers even more solid advice and tips during the toddler stages. If you enjoy this one you are most likely going to enjoy the Toddler edition equally!
Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Years
Written by trusted child care experts and the parents at Mayo Clinic, this Guide to Your Baby’s First Years is a legit source for your parenting needs. You will find useful information on the standard practices such as a guide on proper nutrition, how to create a safe environment indoors and outdoors, how to comfort a fussy baby, tips on diapering and toilet training just to name a few. This guide offers new parents reassurance to meet their baby’s needs and how to provide a healthy foundation for their growth and development.
The newly revised edition of Mayo Clinic’s Guide to Your Baby’s First Years also offers some of the unexpected challenges new and experienced parents alike may face. The authors behind this book are not only doctors and experts in the field of child-raising, they also address the simple fact that parenting is hard. It covers some of the modern-day challenges and demands of parenthood you might not find in other typical parenting books. In addition to guidance on things such as developmental delays and various conditions it also addresses new challenges like single parenthood, establishing work-life balance and the emotional toll it can take on a parent raising a child.
Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
One thing you can bank on when you become a parent is losing sleep. It’s no secret that newborns sleep in short spurts. This is simply because they require frequent feedings in those first few weeks of life while they are rapidly growing. Over time babies will usually sleep at more regular intervals but there can be any number of issues that may cause disruptions to their sleep pattern. In Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems Dr. Ferber offers valuable information based on research in regards to improving your child’s sleeping patterns.
This book is written by the director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Richard Ferber. You may have heard or even read about the FERBER method in previous parenting books. This book elaborates on various causes that could be linked to a child’s sleep problems. It covers effective strategies for each problem to help parents find the ideal solution for their child’s needs. Topics you will find include bedtime difficulties, nighttime waking, nap-taking strategies, and sleep disorders. It also covers bed-wetting, head banging, and other common challenges overtired parents might face.
Best Parenting Books on Raising Kids
The funniest saying that comes from a new or soon-to-be parent is ‘my child will never do that’. What nobody tells you about being a parent are the moments that really test your level of patience. We all want better for our children and there will be moments they do the unexpected, regardless of your parenting style. These books offer some sound advice and tips to help guide you through raising children through the good times and the bad.
Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids
This modern-day book demonstrates techniques that break the cycle of parenting that we were likely raised on. How often have you experienced a stressful moment and immediately reacted by yelling? It’s a common response and occurs without thinking, but in Raising Good Humans you learn methods that help retrain how you react in various situations.
Parenting can be stressful and challenging which is what this book aims to address to help parents through those hard moments. It teaches skills and methods for calming those stressful reactions through mindfulness and positivity. It covers strategies for developing respectful communication, effective resolutions when confronted with opposition, and reflective listening. This is an essential tool for parents to get through parenthood in a more positive way while cultivating a kinder, more compassionate generation.
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Over-parenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
Raising kids is not for the faint of heart. You are going to have moments that will truly scare you. Some of the best-selling, award-winning books and publications elaborate on all of the things that can go wrong if you don’t bring up your child in a certain environment. First-time parents often over-stress on these scenarios and can lead to overparenting. In How to Raise an Adult, author Julie Lythcott-Haims aims to provide parents with alternate strategies that allow children to build resilience and resourcefulness to become successful adults.
During those early years there are many things parents face that can lead them to become over-cautious. As children get older, however, they need to be able to learn from mistakes. The book is relevant to parents of various stages from toddler-hood to parents of young adults, but is essentially beneficial to parents with teens. There are steps covered on how to prepare your child on becoming an adult with topics such as struggles they face and the importance of listening to our children.
All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
This parenthood book is a little different as it takes another approach on parenting today. It is written by award-winning author Jennifer Senior, who researched the complexity of parenthood in a modern-age. Rather than addressing the impact on children from parenting styles and strategies she covers the impact children have on parents. She disposes how changes over the past half-century have impacted parenthood and vastly changed the roles of mothers and fathers today into something much more complex.
In her book she covers the timeless strains of parenthood and new challenges they face today through research and following real families to gain insight from experienced parents. This book doesn’t promise solutions to today’s challenges parents face, rather it offers insight and understanding. It’s very relevant and readers can connect with the author on various levels as she covers different stages of parenthood. Personally, I feel this book is an essential read for anyone that has experienced the all-too-common guilt many parents feel but rarely talk about.
While these books offer great tips and informative guides to navigate you through parenthood they can also help save your sanity. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the newborn stage, toddler stage, or teen stage parenting is hard! Fortunately, there is no shortage of resources to help guide you through them. There are some things that come with the territory you have to learn on the way.
5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me about Parenthood
There are many ways you can plan and prepare for parenthood but there are some things you probably won’t learn from the books. These include the physical and emotional changes you experience and your overall perception of the world around you.
You’re not the same person you were pre-baby.
You physically are not the same person as you were before. As you experience hormonal and physical changes throughout pregnancy and afterwards things about your body just aren’t going to be the same. Your body has to accommodate a small human being. This means your hips have to expand to make room. Don’t be discouraged if your pre-baby jeans don’t fit the same even after losing the baby weight. Other surprising changes some may experience is their taste in foods. There may be things you could never stand to eat before having a baby that you suddenly develop a taste for and not attributed to pregnancy cravings.
Your Perception Changes
Once you become a parent you become responsible for another human being. This makes your perception on things change in a way that’s centered on what is best for them. This may pertain to hobbies and activities you once took part in that may suddenly seem senseless or even dangerous. You become more attentive to things you probably never gave a thought about before.
Developing New Abilities
Besides learning all of the things new parents come to learn about raising a child you will oftentimes develop new abilities. Perhaps you weren’t the best cook prior to parenthood, but suddenly ordering take-out or going out to dinner every night just isn’t a feasible option. You find new motivation to put your kitchen to good use and may even discover a hidden talent for baking or hiding vegetables in unsuspecting dishes. Maybe the last time you used glue, colors and scissors was in the prime of your childhood and now you are looking up new craft projects once a week. Parenting comes with new-found interest, sometimes taking you out of your comfort zone, and discovering talents you may not have known you had. It can also lead you to be more resourceful.
Not Everybody Will Adore or Appreciate Your Child
I know, this may come as a shocker because your child is everything to you and it’s hard to imagine someone not liking your child. Through a parent’s eyes their children are remarkable human beings. It’s very common for people to dote on babies and young children which gives the impression that everyone loves them. The reality is there will be people you may come to meet or cross paths with who are indifferent. It isn’t that there is something wrong with your child or a reflection of your parenting; there are some people that simply aren’t fond of children.
You Never Stop Worrying
Through each stage of parenthood there is this mentality that once they get through this stage it gets better and you will stop worrying. This simply isn’t true. Every stage of parenthood comes with new fears and new worries. What no one will tell you is that even after your children have grown up, moved out and become adults you will always continue to worry about them. It comes from having a love for them like you will never have for anyone else. Their success and well-being will always remain on your mind and it’s a part of parenthood that is worth it.
There will be many ups and downs on the roller-coaster of parenting. The best books and most solid advice are useful tools, but much will come with first-hand experience. Parenting is hard, without a doubt, but it also comes with the most amazing rewards.