The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Heard: An Invitation to New Parents
Amanda Kirk, MS
What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever heard?
I remember listening to a group of moms offering advice about every topic from co-sleeping to picky eating to potty training. As sure as one would say, “Oh, definitely do this,” another would say, “This didn’t work for us, you need to try that.” Their answers and examples were as varied as the children they were raising.
If a young mom listening to that conversation had hoped for a “how-to manual,” she probably left feeling even more confused and lost. However, if she viewed it as a plethora of opinions and experiences to pick through for what felt like the best fit, she could have felt empowered and inspired to start experimenting.
I have learned that most advice on parenting tips, tricks, and techniques needs to be heard with a grain of salt, considering your individual child, and honoring your intuition. Ironically perhaps, the best parenting advice I ever heard had nothing to do with sleep, food, or potties. In fact, it didn’t have much to do with parenting the child at all. At least, not directly.
It went something like this, “The best gift you can give your child is a strong relationship with your partner”.
It sounds a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? This is, after all, the generation in which the term “helicopter parenting” has become widely recognized. If we love our kids, aren’t we supposed to pour all of our time, energy, and resources into their development, upbringing, and exposure to this activity or that?
Maybe not. My own experience and observation, as well as the professional literature seem to confirm that advice – taking care of Mommies and Daddies is one of the best ways to take care of Babies.
Why is this?
Because having a baby – and raising a family ain’t easy. Can I get an Amen? And when we feel mutually connected to our partner and supported by them, we are more able to take on the stresses of the day. Which are many.
If fostering a strong, healthy relationship while adjusting to the normal stressors of becoming a family appeals to you, let me invite you to consider attending an upcoming workshop, called Bringing Baby Home. It was originally developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, premiere relationship experts who corralled decades of research and condensed them into 12 hours of training for couples who are either expecting or have children from birth through toddler years.
They found that after attending a workshop like this:
- Couples experienced:
- High stable relationship quality
- Less hostility during conflict discussions
- Fewer symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety
- Fathers who felt more satisfied and appreciated for their parental contributions
- And the children of those couples:
- Exhibited less language delays at one-year old
- Were rated by mothers as showing less distress in response to limitations (“Research: Parenting,” n.d.).
I am excited to offer the Bringing Baby Home workshop here in Lynchburg, on April 4th and 11th. These two fun days will be packed with learning, tools, and resources. It is a class designed to help couples in this transitional stage of life maintain their friendship and affection for one another while in the early throes of parenting.
If that describes your relationship and you would like to attend this exciting workshop, you can register at https://events.eventzilla.net/e/the-gottman-institute-presents-bringing-baby-home-2138779411 or visit https://amanda-kirk.com/events for more information.
Gottman Institute. (n.d.) Research: Parenting. https://www.gottman.com/about/research/parenting/