Q: My girlfriend and I recently had our first child. Everyone in our small community is telling us what we should be doing to look after our little girl. I love it. It is like the community’s way of celebrating the start of our family with us. But I wonder sometimes about the advice we are being given. I am interested in your thoughts on our first child.
A: As magical as the birth of a child is, diapers still have to be changed, sleep has to be sacrificed and the impact of your first child on your lifestyle is overwhelming.
Parenting is a new and exciting time as you watch your child grow from one stage in her life to another.
New parents often struggle by setting expectations that are too high. You can escape the despair and frustration by enjoying your baby for who she is and not comparing her to other children.
First born children are often more impatient than following siblings. As they get older, that impatience might create problems for them.
The more you can encourage your first born to be patient, the better are her odds for success. The whole patience/impatience syndrome starts at birth, when she is anxious to nurse. If Mom and Dad are relaxed, the baby will learn to relax.
First-born children tend to take on more of their parents’ characteristics than their younger brothers and sisters. Children are more likely to develop their special blend of characteristics if they believe someone is listening to them. That means acknowledging that she has been heard in some way.
Parenting is an honour and a privilege. Enjoy the excitement of each new discovery she makes.
Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor from Saskatchewan. Contact: email@example.com.