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Parenting Tips
By no means are these tips meant to encompass the enormity of raising a child. Just a few pointers to ease you on your journey of parenting.

Babies 

1. Love your child. OK this goes without saying, but love is more than just a feeling. Love is all those late night, or early morning feedings. Choosing the best, in your opinion, childcare, if needed. Deciding whether to stay home to raise the baby or go to work.  Of course, love is more than these things. But those are a few ideas of love and what it entails. 

2. Stay calm. Now in theory this sounds great, ideal even. However, when you have a baby crying for an hour, and nothing seems to pacify him or her, staying calm is the last thing you can do. So, how do you get calm when panic is tearing at you?  Practice. Force yourself to stay calm. Remember those Lamaze classes? Try some of those techniques. Not the pushing part, the breathing. 

3. Enjoy your baby. Its funny how quickly all those cute smiles, pudgy legs and arms quickly disappear. In a blink of an eye your baby is a child. Running around. And then next thing you know they are off to school. 

4. Take lots of pictures. Keep one of those disposable camera's handy. I find one in the Baby Bag, one in the car, and one in the house perfect. When you look at your baby, and get that enormous tug at your heart, take a picture. 

5. Breast feeding. Now for some of you this is impractical or impossible. But for those of you that it is not, I can not more strongly recommend it. 

6. Walks in the park. Or anywhere else. Get out, cover up baby appropriately, (sunscreen, hats etc.) and enjoy the days. I found walking pushing my baby (now older of course) bonded us. It was a way to be together. Plus, on a more innate level, I was "displaying" my baby in pride for the whole world to see. 

7. Form or join a co-op baby-sitting club in your neighborhood. This is great. You watch the others' children for a set time, per child and you get the same hours back for yourself! That one hour all to yourself per week is great! Never will you enjoy a shower, bath or nap so much. 

8. Read to your baby. I was studying Plato at the time my son was born. So, I read it to him. Being a captive audience due to being unable to crawl or walk away, I got the best of both worlds. I was able to study, and I was able to read to him. My voice 
seemed to soothe him, and my grades didn't drop. 

Children 

1. Love your child. Hmm seems to be a theme here. Now that your child isn't completely dependent upon you as (s)he was as a baby, it slowly dawns upon you that your whole life is still, for the most part revolving around your child: what job you have; what school they go to; etc. Sometimes frustrations set in. Its OK to be frustrated. That is natural. If it wasn't meant to be frustrating, women would deliver instruction manuals with the children they deliver. 

2. Read to your child. Well this may seem like normal advice for a new parent. But, even 10 year olds still need to increase their bonding time and brains by reading. And although they look kinda big, they still are kids. They just don't want to be "embarrassed" by their parents in public. 

3. Keep that co-op sitting going! You the parent, still need your time. 

4. Attempt not to buy toys that are "gender specific". Just because you have a daughter, does she have to have the world's largest collection of dolls? No, not unless she truly wants it, and you can afford it. Buy your daughter that doctor's kit. Buy your son that doll. Help encourage your children, through their toys, to be the best fathers and mothers they can be. Help encourage your children, through their toys to be the best person they can be. 

5. Remain calm. Another toughie. Remember those Lamaze classes? Well it seems that even through their childhood years, those techniques are still needed. If you have a "temper problem" seek out Anger Management Classes. Many areas offer those for free. 

6. Manners. Many children now-a-days are taught to say no to strangers, say no to other bad influences, but how many are taught manners? Remain consistent with your teachings of manners. This does not mean teaching your child which fork goes where, but, when wrong to say "I'm sorry", "please" and "thank you" for all times. Not just adults, nor just other children.  But everyone. 

7. Take pictures. Once again, these childhood years will sweep by, and before you know it, you will have a teenager on your hands. These pictures will soothe you as you face and battle the terrible teens. 

8. Educate. Unfortunately in this day and age, there are many harmful influence, start teaching your child what roads are wrong to travel in life. Do it on a level they can understand. 

Teens 

1. Take pictures. Now things are trickier at this stage. Some children turn into teens and you stop and look at your child(ren) and say, "Who are you?" Its hard to believe that a few short, precious years ago, that child(ren) was smiling up at you as you played peek-a-boo. Pretty soon, this person(s) in front of you will get married (perhaps), have a career, children of his/her own, go to college. Once again, cherish this time, no matter how hard it is. 

2. Remain calm. Hmmm...still this strange piece of advise. Yes, that's right, good old Lamaze techniques. It gets harder to remain calm when you have your "baby" pointing out your downfalls or flaws. They fight with you in a combination of Adult/Child techniques. However, they are still your children. Never is it appropriate for you to "fight back" with those techniques. Words you say today, can and will scar for life. 

3. Join/form a support group. Things too tough for you to handle on your own? Then don't. Enlist some help. Years ago, everyone would help in the raising of children. Now -a-days, parent(s) are on their own. But it doesn't have to be that way. Your church can help, minister, friends, those from the co-op sitting club you were in, your family, the list goes on. 

4. Be observant. There are many roads your teen can travel. Pay attention. You can possibly prevent some roads from being traveled by your teen, saving her/his life, even. 

5. Educate yourself. Find out what these different roads are your child can travel. Find out the warning signs. Mentally arm yourself for any possibilities. 

6. Talk to your child(ren). Try to force yourself to speak to your teen in a more adult manner. Patronizing, condescending tones will get nowhere with a teen. Try to resist. Think, Lamaze techniques. 

7. Educate your teen. Keep up those teachings of what is wrong and right. They many look like adults, but they are still your child(ren) to mold into great people. 

8. Love your teen. Showing your love gets more complicated at this stage. Everything seems to embarrass your teen. But perhaps listening, really paying attention to your teen go on about, what to you seems blasé', will help show that love.

Did these help?
 

Recommend Reading
The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be

Practical Parenting Tips: Over 1,500 Helpful Hints for the First Five Years

Raising Confident Girls: 100 Tips for Parents and Teachers

Raising Confident Boys: 100 Tips for Parents and Teachers

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