Introduction to Parenting (Part III): The Joys and Rewards

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In the previous article, I discussed some of the sacrifices we have to make when becoming a parent. But they are all worth it when we look at some of the joys and the rewards we get with our children.

A baby will teach us a lot about ourselves and hopefully make us change for the better. We have to learn what our children’s needs are and become role models in these areas.

Research shows that you pass on your temperament to your children not only through your genes but also through your behaviour and childrearing style. Even very young babies will imitate your emotional behaviour; for example, when you smile your baby will smile back at you, when you stick your tongue out she will stick her tongue at you.

It is normal to feel tired and overwhelmed looking after a new baby especially if it is your first baby, but if you are constantly stressed out or depressed you must seek help. Parents who are depressed cannot praise nor have fun with their children.

Learning about giving unconditional love

Having a child will teach you about unconditional love
Having a child will teach you about unconditional love

When you look at the little bundle in your arms you would have felt this overwhelming desire to love and protect her at whatever cost. Often you may wonder how you have lived without her. Unconditional love does not mean giving in to her every whim and desire. You need to have some discipline so that she does not become a selfish and demanding child.

Learning to be calm and patient

Having a baby will teach you to be calm and patient
Having a baby will teach you to be calm and patient

You need to have a lot of patience when it comes to handling children. The more impatient you are the harder it is to make them do what you want. Even newborns will know your feelings and will fret and cry if you try to rush them too much. Give yourself plenty of time to interact with your baby during feeding, bath time etc. Always stay calm even if you are not sure how to handle a situation. When you start to panic, your thoughts cannot be focused and your baby will react to your emotions by crying which will make you panic more thereby creating a vicious cycle.

Learning to sing

You can be a rockstar in your own home!
You can be a rockstar in your own home!

Singing is a wonderful way to help your child learn language and develop mentally. Music also helps us to stay calm and happy which enable us to be good role models for our children. Start learning to sing children’s songs and if you are like me without any knowledge of the lyrics, get a couple of karaoke discs where the lyrics are displayed. After a couple of weeks you will be able to sing without help. A word of caution, your baby may enjoy your singing only for a couple of years after which she may say “mummy please don’t sing” but you can still use your singing skills when the children are grown up and you start going to karaoke lounges again.

Learning to be a teacher

Part of your job as a parent is to teach your child responsibility
Part of your job as a parent is to teach your child responsibility

Teach your child to do meaningful things. Even as early as 10 months your child can be taught the satisfaction of give and take. A smile and praise will help your child learn the pleasures of giving which will become part of her character. Simple household chores, such as putting her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, putting away her toys and books or setting the table, can help a young child feel that she’s making a contribution.

Believe me there is nothing more satisfying than to see your child growing up into a caring responsible person and to think that she came to you with nothing and what she has become is what you have ‘put’ into her.

Happy parenting!

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