Seeing a child and imagining parenthood can spark all kinds of thoughts and daydreams which are a long way from the reality of what parenthood is all about. Often people yearn to have that experience for many reasons, without considering the long term responsibility of parenthood.
This article is written to help young people to decide if they are ready to become parents, and goes into the different aspects of parenthood which they may not have thought of, simply by inexperience. It’s a wonderful experience to see a child born into the world, though preparations for the beginning of that child’s life are essential if you wish to offer a child all the security as well as love that a child needs. Parenthood isn’t just about that tiny baby. They certainly don’t stay tiny for long, and the considerations needed are outlined in an attempt to help future parents to make the right choices.
*Stability of relationship.
*Being ready to settle down.
*Recognizing the sacrifice of being a parent.
*Recognizing the needs of a child.
The environment into which a child is born matter. The child will grow and won’t always be that cute baby who takes up very little room. It is important to know that you can provide a child with a stable home, where they have room to live. It is worthwhile looking into local amenities such as schools and to ask parents in the area of your home how the area is suited to their children.
A home should be a safe haven for a child, somewhere they know they have security, and although we can live by idealism or take the premise that love counts more than the four walls that contain a family unit, what a good base gives potential parents is a foundation upon which to build that family.
When you become a parent for the first time, many of the things you take for granted will go by the wayside. You will no longer be able to put your own needs first. Often a new parent struggles because they believe a baby won’t cost much to look after. With babies growing so quickly, there are so many items needed to be bought to cater adequately for their lifestyle. Clothing will be outgrown in a short space of time. Nappies will cost money and goodness they can go through so many that it is hard to plan ahead. A child needs toys, nursery items and perhaps health care provisions, so that the matter of cost does matter.
Poor people do have children, though by planning ahead and working out your finances, it becomes less likely that you will begrudge the child the expenses that are invariable as a parent. There won’t be the same amount of cash-flow to go out and about and enjoy yourself. If you are thinking of giving up work to look after a child, the cash-flow will become less and must be planned in advance to give it any chance to work.
Stability of relationship.
Often girls think that by becoming pregnant they will make a relationship which is bordering on break-up work. The child is used as leverage to keep that loved one. This isn’t the right way to go forward, as invariably those who are tricked into staying will still leave, even though their leaving may be delayed.
It is important to have a stable relationship before considering children. Having a baby on the hope that this will make a relationship work is risky for you, but more risky for the child who is being used for your own ends. Make sure that both of you know what you are letting yourselves in for. Make sure you talk, as talking forms a big part of family life, and if you lack the ability to discuss things which matter, then perhaps waiting would be wise. Often couples have different ambitions, and instead of forcing parenthood on a reluctant partner, talking things through will help to give a child a much better chance of happiness, with both parties agreeing that they are ready for parenthood.
Being ready to settle down.
A child disrupts your life. Sure, they are cute, though forget the idea of selfish indulgence, as what happens when a baby is born is that all your own needs fly out of the window in favor of the child’s needs. If you feel you haven’t spread your wings and want to travel, enjoy night life, or spend money on yourself, you have to reach an area of compromise which is acceptable to you. If you breach this acceptability, what happens is that resentment sets in. Being realistic about your expectations in life and being ready to settle down helps a child enormously to have balanced parents who planned their child, rather than a child who gets in the way of personal ambition and need.
*Recognizing the sacrifice of being a parent.
You probably heard your parents say at some stage or other that they made sacrifices for you. It is not an uncommon thing to hear, and the truth is that parents do make sacrifice. If the child wants to look nice for a party and money is short, a mother will do whatever they can to supply their child’s needs rather than their own. In doing so, sacrifice is part of parenthood which a parent cannot and would not want to avoid. This little person is your responsibility. Priorities change. A husband may feel neglect when their wife is busy doting over a new baby. A wife may feel saddened by not having adult company, and spend an awful lot of time in baby talk land, where their adult conversation is limited.
Throughout life, we all make sacrifice for the world we choose to live in and none is as apparent as that made by parents. Think over the pros and cons. Go into parenthood with your eyes wide open and plan for the eventualities which you will find hard to cope with, as these can be overcome. A husband and wife can still have “us” time with the proper planning. Grandparents may be able to help or the finances may run to being able to hire a babysitter occasionally, so that a couple’s lives can still have grown up time to enjoy together, without neglecting the child’s needs.
Recognizing the needs of a child.
This is the biggest step in first time parenting. A child is born, and suddenly their needs come first. When the baby cries, someone will have to find out why. When they are hungry in the middle of the night, we cannot make excuses or dismiss their need for food. By planning ahead and talking this through with a partner, often these difficulties can be shared and the strain on one parent made less by the other.
It helps to talk to each other and to use each of your strong points to balance out the weak points of the other. What a child needs is stability, consistency, love and attention and young children will demand it. It’s not their fault, but a natural progression of growing up. Unprepared parents find themselves frustrated by the child’s constant need to be entertained, loved, cuddled and in need of their parents. Prepared couples will gladly share the load, and bring up children who know that their parents have thought out how to cope with the needs of that child.
They have an instinct and will sense rejections, resentment and ill feeling towards them. This is why it is so important to prepare and to plan. Of course, you will still have doubts about whether you make a good parent, though with planning, at least you will have a better idea of what is expected of you, and why. That’s all your child can ask of you, and if you can face any new day in the growth of a child with optimism and awe, then you are indeed ready to become a parent, having done all the planning already, which will help you to sustain your role as their guardian, friend and parent.