• • • • •
April 5, 2014
Parenting is a complicated job with very few easy answers. When parents try to simplify it by setting policies they think will last for years, they are making a serious mistake.
One mom said about her one-month-old son, “I’m going to stop the teenage rebellion right here.” She proceeded to set some pretty strict rules about feeding and sleep times.
An important thing to understand about children is that they grow through stages of development. At each stage their needs are different. A young baby must have physical and emotional needs met continually in order to develop a sense of security and to view the world as a safe place. Teens need something completely different as they try to develop their own value system and decide who they are going to be as adults.
Because children go through stages, parents must make several shifts in their parenting. Just because you allow your infant to eat “on demand” doesn’t mean that she’ll be demanding when she grows up. Several stages of growth and maturity will take place between now and then. You’ll want to change the way you parent according to your child’s developmental needs.
If your infant is having trouble sleeping, maybe he needs more love and cuddle time. Getting on a schedule will come eventually but we’re not just trying to establish authority in a baby’s life. We’re also helping an infant feel good about being in the world and relating to others in it. There will come a time when you recognize that your child needs to develop some independence at night or to get on a schedule for feeding. When those times come then be ready to make the changes necessary.
Before we’re able to effectively set limits, we first need to establish relationship. Infancy is a time to bond and learn the foundations of communication. We want our babies to know we care about them and their needs.
Firmness and tight boundaries are important as a child grows but be careful about sacrificing love and security needs in the process.
This parenting tip comes from The Parenting Shifts Series by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. Each book helps you understand your child’s unique needs and abilities at that stage.