Some days, I miss having babies. Not enough to actually have more babies, but I have many fond memories (and thousands of pictures) of my children’s early years. I spent hours gazing at my first-born son, captivated by his every expression and movement. But I also felt overwhelmed, uncertain and tired as an inexperienced parent. Very tired. When I had my daughter, I was more confident about what I was doing, but still very tired. Now that they’re older, I sometimes wish I could turn the clock back to relive their younger years – even if just for a brief moment.
This monthly column provides tips for anyone who is helping raise children, based on the world-renowned Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, available to families in Santa Cruz County. If you have a question or idea for a future column, email me at email@example.com.
Dear Nicole, I really like the simple parenting tips in these articles. My husband and I are expecting our first son next month. I’m excited about having a baby, but my friends and family are giving so much advice that it’s getting overwhelming. Do you have any tips for new parents? - Guadalupe
Congratulations! Raising your child to become a healthy, happy, capable adult is the most important, rewarding, challenging (and never-ending) job you’ll have in life. And like most jobs, it will take both time and practice to gain confidence in your skills and abilities. There isn’t one “right” way to be a parent. Deciding how to parent is a personal choice influenced by many factors, such as how you and your husband were raised; religious beliefs; cultural values and traditions; messages from friends, family and the media; and your life experiences. All these factors can easily make parenting overwhelming or confusing. Here are a few tips to make your job easier:
Final Thoughts: It’s common to feel overwhelmed and tired as a new parent. If you find that you get upset easily, lose your temper, or feel sad or anxious, these may be signs that you could use extra support. Talk to your doctor, pastor or a friend, or attend a parenting class to get assistance from other parents. Trust me, you won’t be the first parent to reach out for help.
Nicole Young is the mother of two children, ages 11 and 15, who also manages Santa Cruz County's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program. Scientifically proven, Triple P is made available locally by First 5 Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (Mental Health Services Act) and the Santa Cruz County Human Services Department. For more information on Triple P classes and one-on-one sessions for parents, visit http://triplep.first5scc.org, www.facebook.com/triplepscc or contact First 5 Santa Cruz County at 465-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.