When you are expecting your first child, by default you are bombarded by people giving you what they think is good advice, when in reality, it’s just nonsense:
“Make sure you get plenty of sleep now, because once the baby arrives,
you’ll be wishing you had more of it!”
That doesn’t even make sense. Even if you sleep 12 hours every day leading up to when that baby arrives, that won’t change the fact you still will be deprived of sleep once the baby is born.
It’s not like the outdated concept of “rollover minutes” on your flip phone from 2003.
Now that my second child is due in April, I’m collecting my thoughts on how to prevent making the mistakes I did with my 1st child.
Last week one of my friends I grew up with, whose first child is due a week before my second child, asked me over Facebook if I had any tips for him.
And that, of course, inspired this blog post today.
I should give this disclaimer, though: All 3 of my tips today are unpopular with the majority.
However, I know that these three tips have led to me being a more efficient parent personally and have led to the making of a good kid.
Seriously, my 5 year-old soon is a good kid. He’s bright, he’s creative, he’s active, he’s funny, he’s well-behaved, and he’s healthy. And he doesn’t get in trouble at Pre-K.
I say those things not to brag, but to provide evidence that the parenting tips I am submitting today are personally effective; not just simply my opinion.
This blog post today is written for open-minded, soon-to-be first time parents, who I am grateful are taking the time to hear what I have to say, in an effort to proactively seek help.
1) Use the “cry it out” method. I have now just revealed that I am not an “attachment parent” or a “helicopter parent”. Unfortunately, my wife and I didn’t learn this lesson until our son was 7 months old.
Your baby is depending on you to learn when night time is and when he or she should be asleep for several hours at a time. By answering your baby’s cries each time during the middle of the night, it is actually counter-productive as it prevents your baby from getting the necessary rest he or she needs; as well as yours and your spouse’s.
Yes, it can be psychologically challenging as the parent to apply the “cry it out” method, at first. It can difficult to choose efficiency over emotion, but my child is proof that this method is not damaging to the child’s psyche.
2) Fruit juice is not a healthy drink option. Yes, fruit juice contains vitamins and is hydrating. However, it doesn’t contain the fiber from the fruit needed for digestion and to balance out the sugar. So what happens is your child gets an unhealthy sugar dose (and possibly excessive gas.)
My son gets a skin rash anytime he drinks juice. That’s what fully convinced me it’s not good for him. Even my son’s dentist, Dr. Snodgrass, quickly agreed with me when I mentioned it to him during my son’s visit first. The dentist immediately acknowledged he can always tell when a child regularly drinks juice, because their teeth typically aren’t as healthy.
So with that being said, obviously sports drinks (like Gatorade) and soda are nothing less than taboo in our household.
Instead, your child can get vitamins from actual fruit and vegetables found in fruit packets; plus I highly recommend buying a Baby Bullet, to provide your child with the right nutrition.
3) Discipline your child without spanking them. Your job as the parent is to provide certain things for your child that, on their own, they are not capable of understanding they need in the moment. They are depending on your lead for these things.
They need to know when to eat (hungry), when to sleep (tired), when to play (bored), when to engage in conversation (lonely), or when they are physically incapable of feeling well (sick).
Unfortunately, it’s only natural as a parent to, in the moment, forget about these things and instead, assume your child is “misbehaving”.
Five years into this, I now know to go off the check list when I am tempted to think my son is “misbehaving”. Each and every time, he’s either hungry, tired, bored, lonely, or sick. (I invented that check list, by the way.)
My role is to proactively provide for his needs, not to physically strike him for seeking negative attention for those symptoms.
Additionally, here are my 5 alternatives to spanking that I learned from when I blogged for Parents.com:
Ignore attention-seeking behavior; pay attention to good behavior; redirect your child; teach consequences that make sense; and use time-outs for serious offenses.
Consider that professional psychologists who have actually studied spanking have come to the same conclusion: Spanking is actually less effective. Even if it was only equally effective, why physically strike your child if you don’t have to?
For me it’s all about efficiency as a parent. It’s about working smart, not necessarily hard.
No need to make yourself a martyr if you know what’s really going on in your child’s brain.
If you are open-minded to my personally effective methods I have shared today, please feel free to comment so I can get back to you.