Fear is natural in all new parents. Transitioning from being solely responsible for yourself to now becoming responsible for such a small, helpless little person is going to evoke fearful thoughts at times. The trouble comes when you find yourself continually in a state of fear or anxiety about everything pertaining to your child. Hopefully these tips will get you back on track to finding a healthy middle ground of cautiousness and common sense, so you can begin laying some of your fears to rest.
If you are a new parent, here are some tips to help calm some of the common fears you might have surrounding your new bundle of joy:
Grandma most likely knows best on this one. Of course each generation changes and evolves from the prior one in some ways. For example, there was a time when parents lacked the knowledge that drinking or smoking during pregnancy could be harmful to a developing fetus. Adapting with the times is important with examples such as this one, but be wary of the messenger because some of your fears might not be based in reality.
If you are in fear of your child being exposed to germs and bacteria, sanitizing everything in his or her path, take a moment to think about the following. Humans have survived this long because parenting is natural, as are germs. However, advertisers would have you believe that without their antibacterial products or sanitizers, you are directly placing your child in harm’s way. As grandma will tell you, you can’t protect your child from every germ. In fact, where germs are concerned, there is much evidence to support that a child’s immune system needs exposure to some bacteria to develop resistance. So always pay attention to the messenger behind the fear. Often you will find their primary goal is to make a profit by preying on the fears of new parents, just like you.
Grandma knows best on this one, too. Parenting can be difficult and there are times when all parents need a break. Recruit your spouse, neighbor or family member to give you the alone time you need to recharge once in a while. At the same time, just like a mother bear keeps her cub close to her, know that as long as you keep a watchful, nurturing eye on your little one, the odds of accidents happening are greatly reduced.
Many new parents purchase every household safety device imaginable because they are afraid their children will be harmed by common household threats, products and other dangers they’ve read about in their newspapers. It is certainly acceptable to buy these gadgets for peace of mind. However, as grandma will tell you, no amount of safety devices makes a home child proof, so they shouldn’t be used for a false sense of security to take your eyes off your cub for “just a second.” Most tragedies don’t happen in front of a parent’s eyes. Be committed to the task at hand, keeping a watchful eye on your cub to eliminate your fears that accidents are around every corner.
Grandma didn’t have exposure to the internet and the continual fearful messages that appear regarding childhood diseases, from infancy through adolescence. In some ways, ignorance is bliss, because every sniffle or long nap didn’t result in grandma’s becoming paralyzed by fear that it was a symptom of a terminal disease. In modern times, there are even fears about vaccinations, water safety, fluoride, air quality and other things your child might be exposed to on a daily basis.
The best way to overcome these natural fears is to be your own reporter and recognize you aren’t powerless over them. Gather information from both sides of the fence when deciding on what is best for your child. Don’t put all of your faith in one perspective over another. Gather data and make an informed decision after assessing all of the facts. If you also find yourself worrying about your child contracting a serious illnesses, do your own research on the statistical probability of the illness to put your mind at ease. Being proactive will quickly put you back in control over your fear.
Always remind yourself that, throughout history, humans have survived and thrived in various challenging conditions. Understand that all new parents have fears that will subside in time, and that your happy and healthy child is going to thrive in your tender care. Believe it or not, someday you will be the grandma or grandpa your child turns to for parenting advice, because of the wonderful parent you are right now.
Guest writer Grace Pamer is the author of RomanticFrugalMom, one woman’s on going quest to keep romance alive despite the time pressure of dealing with three beautiful but crazy kids and an always working husband. Check out her love letters for her section if you’re looking to put the romance back into your marriage with a well crafted love letter to your nearest and dearest.
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