Naturally, since I have a 2-year old, and I have a “Dad Blog” I’m now an expert on all things parenting, so now it’s my turn to give you advice on what to do as a first time parent.
My first piece of advice, don’t take general parenting advice from anyone outside of your doctor… including me (except for this piece of advice I guess).
A good friend of mine had his son shortly after my daughter was born and before he was born my friend asked me if there was any advice I could give him about the initial stages of becoming a parent. Obviously I had all these things running through my head that I thought I would tell him about sleep training, and scheduling, and all that stuff that comes with having a baby, but I stopped myself. If he would have asked me for advice on a specific topic, like sleep training, I would have gladly told him stories and given him ideas based on what we had done, and what we found to work, but in this case he was just asking for any general advice…. So this is what I told him.
Whatever anyone tells you, or anyone says, or any advice that another parent gives you, take it all with a grain of salt. Smile… nod… and raise your kid how you want to raise your kid. You’ll figure it out along the way and while you can certainly ask for advice, or ideas, most of the time it’s just a matter of figuring out what works for you and your kid.
And that was the only piece of advice I gave him at the start.
I can’t take full credit for this though, this was actually advice I had gotten from a good friend of mine a few months prior to our daughter being born. Everyone around you is going to have thoughts and opinions on what’s right for your family and what’s right for your kids, but ultimately you’re the one raising them, and you should do exactly what you think is right, and raise your kids how you want to raise them.
And at the same time, try not to impart your methods on to other parents unless you’re specifically asked to do so. That’s another reason why I wanted to start this blog.
I don’t necessarily want to push advice on to other up and coming parents, but I do want to share my stories related to parenting and how, as a Dad, my perspective might be a little different than that of a mom. There are tons of mommy bloggers out there on the internet, but I never see a lot of Dad’s commenting on their side of things.
I know my wife and I differ on a lot of things when it comes to parenting, and how to handle certain situations, but for the things that really matter, we’re in total agreeance on. Basically our goal is to raise a kid that’s not an asshole, a kid that’s strong and intelligent, and makes smart decisions (most of the time). As long as our kid isn’t hurting themselves or anyone else with the things that they do, or they aren’t getting into too much trouble (kids are going to get in trouble), and can learn from their mistakes, we’ll be happy with how we’re doing.
And it’s because of that underlying ideology that we’re confident in our abilities to raise a kid. There are definitely going to be bumps along the road, and it’s not easy by any means. But I knowing that we’re good people and have good values, I think our kid(s) will turn out just fine.
So when it comes to raising a kid, or having your first kid, try not to sweat all of the unsolicited advice that might be coming at you from all angles. It’s bound to happen and there’s no getting away from it… Although, I have found if you keep shooting down the advice from people (in a polite manner of course), they will just stop giving it to you. Kind of like when you constantly turn down free shots at the bar when someone else is paying… eventually they realize that you don’t want to take shots of Jameson all night, and they stop offering… it’s kind of the same idea. However, then if you really want a shot of Jameson one night, you’re going to have to be the one that ponies up and asks everyone else if they want a shot.
So in terms of advice, it’s ok to shrug off the unsolicited advice, but if you are truly looking for advice on something specific related to your kid, make sure to ask. Like I said, I would have been happy to give my buddy advice on something specific, had he asked, but in terms of general advice for a new parent… you’ll figure it out.
On another note though, don’t disregard the advice from your doctor. They will obviously give you unsolicited advice at certain points in the baby’s life, and the advice they give you will only make your life easier down the road, so take it to heart, and be sure to ask them any questions if you have them, that’s what they are there for. Taking the advice of our doctor on sleep training and feeding, and things like that have made our life 1000x more enjoyable than some other people we know that didn’t act on the advice that was given.