With all the varying theories, methods, and studies out there, parents are often confused as to what's right. What makes a good parent? How can you tell if you're doing things right? Is there even a right way? Before I became a parent, I had all these theories about what other parents were doing wrong. I may have been right some of the time. But the truth is, you never truly know what works and what doesn't until you're a parent yourself. So how do you tell if you're a good parent?
Act with love. Whether you are hugging your child for his latest accomplishment or reprimanding him for misbehavior, do it with love. You are more likely to see a better outcome from simply giving your child the love she needs. A good parent leaves any anger aside when doling out punishments. Allowing that anger to come into discipline leaves the door wide open for negative results you will regret later.
Apologize for mistakes. We're all human and we all mess up sometimes. I can guarantee you there is not one parent out there who does every single thing perfect from the start. Being perfect is not a requirement for being a good mom or dad the last time I checked. Bending the rules slightly to fit each situation has been a lifesaver for me. Let your kids know you're sorry when you disappoint them. Fill them in on why you made that choice initially, how it was wrong, and what you intend to do the next time around. That earns more respect than trying to put on a "perfect" facade.
Multiple methods can solve the same issue. Remember that just because "A" worked for Sally, doesn't mean "B" won't for you and "C" won't work for Sam. There are many different methods and techniques out there when it comes to parenting. Take a look at the methods used in your child's school or daycare as compared to yours. Also look at divorced parents who both have responsibilities toward the child. What happens in each location may not always be the same. But more than one parenting style may work on the same child. A specific method does not define whether or not you are a good parent.
Do your best. When you truly give your all, that shows your kids you care. This will be more important than the car you drive, the schooling methods you choose, how many new outfits you buy, and so on. No matter which parenting style you operate under, put forth your best effort. You may not think your kids pay attention to that kind of thing, but they can sense what type of work you are putting into the family.
Trust your instincts. When in doubt, always go with your gut. What does that inner voice say to you about your actions? If you feel something is wrong, avoid it at all costs. When you believe strongly in something, speak your mind and take action. Parental instinct is often more accurate than you think. Don't doubt yourself. Just sit back and listen to those gut feelings. What you feel in some of the moments can be a good indicator of your parental rating.
Ignore naysayers. Since raising kids is near and dear to the hearts of many people, you are likely to be talked about no matter what you do. Being a good parent is not always about going with the popular choice. Unless the offending party has a valid point about your skills, ignore rants from other people about you not being a good parent.
Every person knows the answer to this deep down in their hearts. What is your heart (and just plain common sense) telling you? Are you a good parent?
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
My kids absolutely love the outdoors. If you'd like yours to do the same, perhaps some of our family habits will inspire you to get your kids out there. Raising kids who love the outdoors is not as hard as you may be thinking right now. It's best to start early. But it's never too late to get in on the outdoor fun and adventures.
Make the outdoors a part of your normal family routine. When the kids and I go to any nearby stores, we always walk. We found a walking trail in our area that leads to pretty much every destination we have nearby. Whenever possible, we walk on this trail. We are a green family and try not to use vehicles if we don't have to. If we can walk or use a city bus, we will. This involves a great deal of walking. But we turn it into an adventure by using the trails or whatever else is around us. If we aren't outdoors in that way, you'll catch us outside reading, playing in the garden, and more. I work at home and the kids are homeschooled. So you'll even catch us working and studying outdoors. What each family does will vary. But the point is to be outdoors as much as possible.
You've made the decision to bottle feed your infant. Now you want to be sure it's successful. Whether you are using breast milk or formula, these 5 secrets to successfully bottle feeding your infant may come in handy. My experiences as a mother and former nanny, in addition to research over the years, has taught me some great lessons that I hope will help others.
Choose the Proper Nourishment
Infants have sensitive stomachs. They also each have their own specific nutritional needs. A big part of successfully bottle feeding your infant is the choice of formula. You may use breastmilk exclusively, a combination of breastmilk and formula, or formula alone. If you are choosing formula, it is important to check with the pediatrician to be sure the brand and type you choose meets the needs of your baby.
Choose the Correct Bottles
Successfully bottle feeding an infant also lies in the bottle choice. Choose a bottle design that allows for the least amount of air bubbles to flow out with formula. Too many air bubbles can cause gas. Check not only the bottle itself, but the nipples and attachments as well. If the nipples flow too quickly, that also can cause too much air to escape while baby is feeding. The best bottle systems are designed to keep out air and have choices of nipples with varying flow levels. For instance, newborns should use nipples with a slower flow. However, older babies will swallow too much air from trying too hard on a nipple with very slow flow. The flow should match the baby’s efforts and abilities.
Burp Baby Often
Even with the best bottle systems, a baby is still going to need to be burped frequently. This does not mean the bottles aren't working. It is simply a normal action that should occur during and after feeding. Successfully bottle feeding an infant is about nourishing the baby as well as making sure the baby is comfortable as possible. Relieving the baby by burping him or her is part of that. Talk with your pediatrician about proper burping techniques if you’re having difficulties with what was instructed by the medical professionals at your birthing location.
Keep Bottles at Correct Angle
There is no general angle that will apply to all bottles because there are so many different designs. However, keeping bottles at the correct angle for their design and baby’s needs will be integral to successfully bottle feeding your infant. The bottle should be held at an angle that allows the formula or breast milk to flow without any air pockets. Some bottles are designed with a tilted position that helps with this, while others are not. Follow the directions that come with the bottle, as well as instructions from the pediatrician.
Hold Infant Close and at Proper Angle
Another very important aspect of successfully bottle feeding your infant will be bonding. Be sure to hold the baby close and at an appropriate angle for feeding. Baby's head and chest should be elevated and your baby should be supported at all points. Perhaps the most common bottle feeding position is to lie baby in the lap and support his or head with one arm, holding the baby close. Use the opposite hand to feed the bottle to the baby. Ask the pediatrician to instruct you of proper feeding positions shortly after birth.
-- Note that the author is not a licensed medical professional. The above is provided for informational purposes. Always consult a licensed medical professional for any advice pertaining to health matters.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
As you get closer to that big day, the day of your precious baby's birth, a variety of things will be going on inside your head, as well as your home. You probably will find yourself on a countdown of sorts. Anxiousness and excitement are just a couple of the emotions you might be feeling. Likely, with the help of your newfound "nesting" instinct, your home will be undergoing changes, preparing for the arrival of the new baby.
Seeing your precious little one through ultrasound or sonogram and hearing his or her tiny persistent heartbeat during the final stages of pregnancy may have you steadily finding yourself on a countdown. How many days until it is time for baby's arrival? You have been carrying and nurturing this sweet bundle and you are anxious to not only see the fruits of your labor but to meet this little person you have somehow come to love without yet seeing in the outside world.
It can be beneficial to feel excited or anxious, but it can also cause stress. One way to avoid this type of situational stress is to pour that anxiousness and excitement into planning for the baby's arrival. This is where the excitement and anxiousness actually will come in handy. There is plenty to do and plan for. Keep busy at it and before you know it, your pregnancy will be over and you will have given birth, in what can seem like a blink of an eye. Creating lists for each task can help make this aspect easier. Writing is also a great stress reliever, so the lists could have more than one benefit.
One thing you may be planning on your countdown is the type and style of furniture you would like in your baby's nursery. There could also be wall decorating or painting, the choosing of the nursery bedding, packing the hospital diaper bag for mom and for after the birth of the baby and many more tasks. A baby needs various supplies, some small and some large. It may take some time to come up with everything you feel is necessary, which is perfect for keeping your mind busy and focused, rather than stressed about the countdown to the big day.
Another great thing to do while on your birth countdown is to talk to family and friends who have experience with pregnancy and birth. Asking them what they did in their final days could yield some great tips and possibly uncover some ideas on preparing for the baby that you may not have thought about previously. Spending time laughing with friends and family can also be beneficial in preparing for the new baby. Not only can it be a stress reliever, but once baby comes, you may not be as available for this special time. For this reason, getting plenty of rest during the birth countdown is also a good idea.
*I originally published a version of this content via Yahoo Contributor Network
Daughter of mine
You're growing so fast
Daughter of mine
We always have a blast
Daughter of mine
You light up my life
Daughter of mine
You cause me no strife
Daughter of mine
I'll love you forever
Daughter of mine
Forget this never
*I originally published a version of this parenting poetry about my oldest daughter via Yahoo Contributor Network
Love may not be the first thing some envision when they hear how many kids are in my house. How in the world do you avoid chaos with four kids? That must be a nightmare! No, I can honestly say that I love it. I am not saying every day and every moment is perfect. But I truly enjoy being a single work-at-home mom with a house full of kids and I wouldn't reduce the number for anything in the world.
Boring is overrated.
With four kids around, I never have to worry about getting bored. There's always plenty to do and I love that. Don't know how to sit still? Have some kids and they'll keep you entertained, for sure. Whether it's a game of hide and seek, having family movie night, or even chasing around the mischievous one, there's always something to keep me going.
Ditch the eery silence!
Some people might like a quiet house but I find that quite unnerving. I love the fact that my house will never ever be quiet during waking hours. My kids see to that for me without even trying. There's no such thing as calling the Ghostbusters around here. It's too loud for that. What ghost in its right mind would even dare to take a step in this house?
More kids means less money on clothing.
Say what? Kids grow so fast that one barely has time to wear an outfit before it gets handed to the next. Sure, each kid does get their own new things. But it's nice to know that most items will get their fair use in before donating them to the local shelter.
I don't need the T.V. for background noise.
I've never been a fan of television, unless the NBA is on. So it's a good thing I have lots of kids. They provide plenty of background noise during my day-to-day tasks and I love it because it helps me get my work done.
I can have a fancy dinner every night.
Who needs to go out to eat when you have a bunch of little chefs-in-training around? My kids and I take turns cooking and sometimes we all cook together. Every night is gourmet when the food is made with love.
No one wants to come disturb me while I'm working.
I work at home, which means I prefer no company during certain hours. Having a house full of kids remedies that situation. Everyone knows that if they come over, I am not going to ditch my kids. So, many just avoid me altogether. We love it because it means I have more time to work and the kids have extra time to learn.
In-house hair stylists keep me well-groomed.
There's no need to go to a fancy salon when I have three girls in the house. OK, so I let my son in on the fun, too. Shh, don't tell their dad! I think my kids have more fashion sense than the 'professionals' these days, anyway.
Last-minute parties are all the rage!
We have enough people to throw a decent party without even making a phone call. We can just throw together some homemade pizza, pop some popcorn, pop in some music, pull out the board games, and we're good to go. We do of course invite others sometimes too. But it's so cool that we don't have to.
Everything I do is amazing!
At least that's how the younger kids see it, anyway. Mommy is a magic miracle worker who can make anything happen. When's the last time your boss thought you were as awesome as Santa?....never? Yeah, I thought so. I love having lots of people in my house who think I'm the most amazing creation ever - and guess what? I think they are too!
There's never a shortage of love.
Having a bad day? Try hugging a kid and watch how quickly those troubles melt away. Each time I see one of the kids smile or hand me one of their latest crafty creations, the worries I have disappear in a flash. Love is the cure for everything and when you have four kids around, there's plenty of it.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
*I originally published this on Yahoo! Contributor Network (some words were changed here, due to outdated info)
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, this awesomely crazy family conquers the world, managing Intent-sive Nature while going on Upstream Parenting adventures & lessons, sometimes in an RV. They strive to cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they settle for rescue dogs and cats.
By supporting us, you support a single parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to and/or stands for several causes, including homeless pets, homeless people, trans youth, equality, helping starving artists, and more! A portion of all proceeds from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature goes toward worthy causes.
For guidance in the world of freelance writing or for advice on her specialty topics, Ask Lyn.