The biggest challenge a first-time parent faces is the fear of making a mistake.
I've seen it in the eyes of so many parents of my patients, and I have personally experienced this feeling myself.
Nothing obstructs the path of any parent more than the fear of making a mistake.
You can make a wrong move in a business decision or with a purchase of a material item. Nothing that bad happens if a mistake is made in these situations….but things change when it comes to your most treasured possession: your son or your daughter.
The fear of being wrong makes us think that if we make a decision regarding our children and it’s not "correct", this can profoundly and negatively affect the lives of our children.
But nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to our parental decisions regarding things that we do for our babies, things that we buy for them or even our mindsets towards our children, we CAN make a course correction.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do your due diligence as a parent. Nor am I suggesting that you shouldn’t be careful about your choices, or not to spend a little more time thinking about parental decisions before making them.
There’s plenty of parents out there that try a medication out only to find that it doesn’t work, or decide to give their child a double vaccination because they feel that it’s better to do that than not give it at all.
Something that's NOT okay, even though this is a universal issue, is doing something because someone with "more" experience did it and it worked, or maybe it’s because “my mom did it with us, so it must be OK”.
The toss-up is simple:
Don't do it… and nothing happens.
Not doing anything and deciding to go with the flow is also a decision. This option is far and away the most commonly presented to me amongst my patients.
Stop looking outside of yourself for the answer. An angel isn’t going to fly down from heaven to tell you that you MUST buy that stroller you just saw in your local mall, that you couldn’t decide whether to buy or not.
Nor will you receive subliminal messaging to help you decide what type of schooling is best, or whether or not you should formula feed baby when you return to work.
And what about the newest trend of feeding your baby raw broccoli at 6-months old? Applying an onion and whisky blend to sore gums, or using an amber necklace? What about punishing your child? Where do you stand on corporal punishment?
There are SO MANY examples that I could give you. Just the few that I have mentioned here are not meant to stir your emotions, they are just some of the MANY that have presented themselves in my office.
None of these questions can be answered by anyone except by you, the parent.
I encourage you to search for your own answers and motivations by investigating, asking questions, buy books, read the Internet, watch videos, collect and analyze information from any and all valid sources you can find.
Why not borrow that “new age” piece of baby equipment you think your baby needs before purchasing it? How about buying the minimalist high chair that your friends use from a second-hand store? That way you won’t feel too regretful about your purchase if it ends up not working out.
Discover what you like, what you feel good about, what feels right for you and yours. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
Here and there you can try new approaches with your baby.
Try things out, figure out what works for your family. And hey, if it doesn’t work out – for the love of God, just change it!
I see so many first-time parents with fear in their eyes. “It’s just that I’m waiting for you to tell me what I should do” One Mom said to me in my office.
The only things I can tell you as a Doctor, is that no one has the absolute truth when it comes to parenting issues.
Things change all the time, and even the gurus within our health and education systems have to constantly revise and update their procedures and information.
So make your decisions, live with them and enjoy each and every parental experience.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes.
Nothing major happens when we do, and we get to correct ourselves and move on. More often than not, you’re going to find that you are NOT making mistakes – and those are the moments when you can really feel yourself growing into your role as a parent.
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