You and your Child : Being a Parent (part 2)

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- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

Your hopes

There are as many personal reasons for having children as there are for not having children. For some parents, children represent the hopes, dreams, and ideals that are unmet in their own life; they represent the chance to “put right the wrongs” of the past; for others, having a child is the natural evolution of a partnership or marriage and the desire for a family; for some, a child is an unexpected outcome of a relationship or liaison that was never going to be long-term; for others, it is a deep and powerful biological instinct. If you have been brought up as part of a large family, you may hope for the same environment for your own children, or you may see value in being an only child. Whatever the motive for becoming a parent, the vision of what it means will be influenced by your own past.

Ask yourself, honestly—what are your expectations of your child? Are you anticipating that she will be just like you? Have you already begun to look for signs of super-intelligence or natural ability? Are you imagining that your daughter might become a rock star or a brain surgeon? Your son a teacher or a top athlete? These impulses are natural, and part of the fun of watching your child develop, but learning to manage your own expectations from an early stage is very important.

From baby to toddler

You’ll be counting the days for her to take her first steps. Then, before you know it, she’ll be walking, running, jumping, and climbing—and your main challenge will be to keep up with her.

Nature and nurture

Your child’s development is a healthy mix of nature (the result of her genes) and nurture (your influence and her life experiences). She will eventually grow up to be uniquely herself, for better or worse. The more children you have, the greater the scope for variation and unpredictability. Each child is an individual and will develop in a way that is uniquely different from her brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends—and you.

The rewards

Being a parent may bring out a whole new side of you. Through your children you can rediscover a sense of fun and find new ways to relax.

What’s your story?

Raising a child may prompt deep-seated memories of your own childhood. This meeting of past and present is completely natural and inevitable, but may mean that your child’s behavior becomes affected by something that is going on in your life rather than hers. Likewise, if you and your partner are experiencing relationship difficulties, these may sometimes be reflected in your child’s behavior. When a child has behavioral problems a clinical psychologist will begin by asking the parents about their relationship, their past, and their own experiences of being parented. The clearer you can be about the impact that your past may be having on you or your relationship, the more aware you will be when something that occurs in your child’s life is actually more about you, rather than her.

Consider for a moment:

This is not an exhaustive list of questions, but by considering your answers you can learn how your life and experiences have had a lasting impact and will influence the way you feel about yourself as a parent, and the way in which you nurture your child.

  • Was your childhood happy, sad, loving, playful, strict, liberal?

  • Would you say you were/are close to your parents?

  • Were there any traumatic events in your past such as parental separation or divorce, continual fights, bullying, accidents or illness, bereavement?

  • What was your experience of your child’s birth? Were you separated from your child for longer than a few hours?

  • Have you ever lost a child or seen her suffer serious illness?

  • How do you view your relationship with your child’s mother or father?

    Is your relationship secure, loving, passionate, full of conflict, finished?

  • What are your expectations of yourself as a parent and of your future relationship with your child and with your partner?

Parents’ expectations

Having appropriate expectations is an important aspect of being a contented parent. Expecting too much from your toddler at too young an age can cause frustration and disappointment.

By what age would you expect your child to…

Q: Use her first word.
A: 10–15mths
Q: Walk without assistance.
A: 10–18mths (50 percent by 13mths)
Q: Wave goodbye without being asked.
A: 10–12mths
Q: Look where you point to, instead of at your finger.
A: 12–18mths
Q: Ask for something by pointing at it.
A: 12–18mths
Q: Stop putting objects into her mouth to explore them.
A: 15–18mths
Q: Echo your words and phrases back to you.
A: 15–24mths
Q: Put two words together in a meaningful way.
A: 18–24mths
Q: Draw a circle by copying you.
A: 2–3yrs
Q: Show concern, and try to comfort a child who is crying.
A: 2–3yrs
Q: Begin to “pretend play,” such as “Mommy and Daddy” and making tea).
A: 2–31/2yrs
Q: Be toilet trained during the day.
A: 2–3yrs
Q: Be dry and clean during the night.
A: 2–5yrs

Q: Be aware of differences between boys and girls.
A: 3–4yrs
Q: Pedal a tricycle independently.
A: 3–31/2yrs
Q: Learn to count to 10.
A: 3–4yrs
Q: Understand the concept of time—for example the difference between today and tomorrow.
A: 3–4yrs
Q: Start to understand that you or someone else has a different point of view than her own.
A: 21/2–31/2yrs
Q: Understand sharing.
A: 21/2–31/2yrs
Q: Enjoy simple jokes.
A: 31/2–41/2yrs
Q: Dress and undress unassisted.
A: 4–5yrs
Q: Recognize her own name and try to write it down.
A: 5yrs
Q: Be able to use a child-sized knife and fork.
A: 41/2–5yrs


(Note: these are not a precise guide, and all answers assume a full-term birth.)

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