Ten things I have learned since becoming a parent

Being a parent isn’t easy, you have to sort of go with the flow. I will admit, I had my first one when I was 21 years old. And I must say, he changes my life. I didnt know how to be a father. I didnt know what was wrong or what was right. But, at the end of this month, my oldest son will turn 8. Since the day he was born, I’ve learned a lot about children, parenthood and just being a better person. A few years later, my second son was born, I felt little more confident in being a father, but I still had a lot to learn when adding another child into the mix. Unfortunately, my relationship with there mother did not work out. But after a few years of doing it alone. I am now a proud single father of two boys.

Here are 10 things I have learned. Hopefully they can help you, as they have helped me.

1. Put your foot down

We have all been there, parent or not.
A child breaks down in a store demanding something, and the look on the parents face shows one of two things: either terrified, or they look like it doesn’t even phase them. Giving in to a demanding child is the worst thing you can do. I’ve had this issue with both my boys.

Over time, I learned to do a prep talk with them before entering a store. I would say that we are going to get a few things, but you are not getting anything. If you cause a fuss, I will take away your snack or you will go to bed early. This mostly depended on what time of day it was.

It worked; it took months but now both my boys have learned not to mess around in a store, minus the few ‘O.K., we are tired and going to annoy dad instances!’

2. Watch for Cues

I grew up with ADD, I was what you would call a hell-raiser. To this day, my family still recalls some of the crazy antics I tried pulling off, and when seeing my kids, they tell me things like “now you know what we had to deal with.”

I laugh it off, but have learned the cues for my boys. I also advise you do the same. As they grow, you can you start to see the hyperactive side start, and you can catch it before they get carried away. The ability to do this will help avoid a lot of stress, especially in large gatherings where most kids will get a little carried away. Just be sure to pay attention, and if you notice them getting a bit too crazy, change the environment. A change of environment will always calm the most hyperactive child down.

3. Clinger Alert

My boys are clingers. They cling to anyone who comes around, so be careful who you bring into your life. Relationship wise, if you are a single parent it could be hard to date and meet other people, but just be safe around your children. They can, and chances are they will, become attached to the new person in your life.

This is dangerous if you don’t know what you have with the person, so don’t bring your kids into it. And if you have no other choice, keep it friendly in front of the little ones, introduce the person as a friend and do your best not to give your kids any sort of mixed signals!

4. Someone order a sponge?

It doesn’t take much, a split second for a child to remember or say something they have heard. So if you say something horrible about someone they know, they might just repeat it. This will only make you look silly!

What they hear, and see, will inevitably make its way back to the other parent. If you’re freshly single, that could cause some issues, hence why it’s always better to keep it friendly in front of the little ones!

5. Don’t pick sides

This one doesn’t really apply to parents with one child, but I’ve found you can’t always be there when your kids start to fight. You may hear that one hit the other, or one called another a name. You really don’t know where or how it started, you just get called in to break it up. I’ve found that its best to give both kids a time out, but insist that it doesn’t matter who started it, just that they were both involved.

I’ve been doing this for about a year now, and I’ve noticed a huge drop in arguments. To tell you the truth, when I was younger I used to try and get my sister in trouble just to see her have to stand in the corner, then I would laugh at her when she was in it. She also did the same, so I learned never to discipline one or the other, go for both!

6. They are not glass

Yes, I said it… Children are NOT made of glass, it’s O.K. for them to get a few bumps and scrapes. Maybe they’ll even get a few cool scars to talk about when they get older. When my youngest was 3, he was climbing up the play structure and I could see he started to get a little scared. I told him that I was there if he needed me, but he was almost at the top. When he got to that top he was so happy, and I was very proud of him.

I didn’t want to take him down just because he looked scared, or because he was getting too high. I wanted to let him know that I was there for him if he fell. Being a parent, that’s what you are there for- to pick your kids up when they fall, and to encourage them to try again and never give up. I once read that a broken bone will heal, moral will take a lot longer.

7. They have difficulty comprehending time

When you say five minutes they think five seconds. What I have learned with being a busy parent with so much always going on, is not how much time you spend with your kids, it’s the fact that you simply spent time with your kids.

So what if you don’t have all day to spend at the park, they will remember the fact that they went to the park, regardless of whether you were only there for 15 minutes!

8. It’s O.K. to fail

Sometimes I am just running too late to take them to the park, or maybe I just couldn’t afford to take them to the movies. It’s O.K. Parents are not perfect! Instead I play a bit of indoor hallway hockey with my boys, or have a movie night with some stove popcorn and fruit smoothies. Just have a few back up plans, they can go a long way!

9. They don’t need everything

You don’t need to shower them with gifts just so they like you. You are their parent. They will like you regardless. If you can’t afford to buy them something, don’t break the bank. We all want to give our kids everything, but sometimes we just can’t afford it. Instead take them to the park, or do something free! Can’t afford to order pizza?

Make some pizza bagels, click here for recipe. But make sure to include your kids in the fun, they will enjoy the time they spend with you.

Personally, my kids LOVE these things!

10. They are messy

Kids will make a mess of anything, keeping up with that mess is next to impossible. I’ve found that if you can spend the time to organize your kids toys into boxes, they will spend less time searching for something which will avoid making a bigger mess.

This doesn’t always work, so I started limiting the toys they can play with. They have to clean up what they started playing with before they can start something new. I’d like to hear some reader input for a few tips for this one.

So there you have it, 10 things I have learned from having kids. Just remember though, if you have kids and thought this was great – let me know. If you don’t have kids and know someone with kids, share this with them and see if it helps them feel a bit better. It’s amazing how many kids are a like.

What do you think? 

I want to know what you think, are you a parent, have you tried any of these. Or what are some of the things you do or have learned. Comment below, I would love to hear your opinions or ideas!