New Parents: 7 Common Parenting Mistakes and Problems

New parents are often full of fears and doubts. Knowing the main difficulties of parenting and how best to approach them can make the task easier.

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz on November 18, 2021.

Last update: November 18, 2021

Parenthood is one of the most rewarding adventures, but also one of the most challenging that a human being can embark on. Being responsible for another life can be overwhelming and the path is often full of doubts. In fact, new parents are especially affected by fear of educating.

You need to know that mistakes are inevitable. No one is perfect and along this journey you will fail multiple times. In fact, there are certain areas in which the majority of parents find themselves with doubts and difficulties frequently.

However, being forewarned can help you avoid certain setbacks and make the most of your time with your child. Are you ready to discover some of the most common mistakes?

1. Stiffness: a common feature in new parents

One of the most common mistakes new parents make is being extremely rigid.

In the face of uncertainty, it is normal that a tendency arises to want to control everything in order to avoid problems. For this reason, new parents often make the mistake of maintaining a rigid attitude towards parenting.

Before the baby arrives, a series of goals and objectives are usually established, for example: feeding exclusively with breastfeeding, practicing co-sleeping, maintaining stable routines and schedules or not taking the child to nursery school until they are three years old.

What happens is that These well-intentioned purposes cannot always be fulfilled or end up not being the most appropriate option for the family.

It is important to be flexible and open to change; that is to say, knowing how to change the address without this implying a great burden of guilt or a feeling of failure. From theory to practice there is a long way; Therefore, do not fear that you will not be able to meet your initial expectations.

2. Not knowing how to set limits

It is common for new parents to receive a lot of advice from everyone in their environment regarding how they should raise their child. Thus, It is essential to establish limits to prevent family and friends from interfering in decisions of the parents. He is your son and you choose how to educate him; clarifying this premise from the beginning will avoid problems and conflicts as a couple.

3. Not having trusted professionals

Raising a child requires help, support and guidance, and it is essential to have trusted professionals to turn to. Make sure your pediatrician is in the same parenting line and that he is available to answer your questions without generating guilt or discomfort.

In the same way, there are other figures that can accompany you in this process like the doulas, perinatal psychologists or lactation consultants. These professionals are specialized in the life stage that you are going through and turning to them when you need them can drastically and positively change the course of your motherhood.

4. Forget that the couple is a team

It is common that after the arrival of a child, life as a couple is affected. The baby requires attention, time and care and moments of intimacy can be increasingly scarce. Nevertheless, it is important to continue cultivating love, fostering communication and remembering that the bond with the partner is also a priority.

In the same way, it is common for the distribution of tasks and roles to generate certain problems and conflicts. In some families, Mothers completely devote themselves to the baby and take charge of all the care, relegating the father to the background. However, the parent must also be involved from the beginning in parenting and the couple must act as a team at all times.

5. Act without defining a solid foundation

It is true that instinct is a good guide in many moments of parenting, since it indicates a path to follow naturally dictated by the emotions of affection and protection towards your child. Nevertheless, improvising is not always the best alternative.

It is very positive that both parents ask themselves from the beginning what kind of parents they want to be, that they establish the parenting style they want to follow and prepare to apply it. Thus, they will know how to act in challenging moments and will not have to later regret an impulsive action that is not aligned with their values.

6. Not promoting a good relationship with food

Favoring a good relationship with food depends on the parents. Don’t make the mistake of forcing your child to eat.

Feeding is one of the most problematic aspects for new parents. In their quest for the child to eat enough and eat everything, they can make some mistakes that can harm their child’s relationship with food. For instance, overfeeding him, forcing him to eat when he doesn’t want to, or resorting to blackmail or threats.

This can lead to being overweight, family conflicts and, paradoxically, more difficulties with food. Therefore, it is better to allow children to self-regulate (they handle hunger and satiety signals well) and focus on motivating them, creating eye-catching dishes and make mealtime calm, enjoyable and satisfying.

7. Poor sleep management

During the first months or years of a child’s life, parental rest is affected and can be reduced in both quantity and quality. This is inevitable, since the sleep rhythms of babies are different from those of adults and you have to adapt. However, certain practices can help the whole family’s sleep improve:

  • Take turns between the couple so that each night one cares for the baby and the other can rest.
  • Try the dream feeding to lengthen the baby’s nighttime sleep.
  • When an infant wakes up crying in the middle of the night, not coming to comfort him generates high levels of stress in his brain that are toxic and very detrimental to their present and future emotional development. Avoid doing it.
  • Whether or not to co-sleep is a decision of each family; as well as deciding when to take the child to his own room. However, it is important to ensure that This transition does not coincide with the stage of separation anxiety or the birth of a baby brother.

Not enjoying the experience: the biggest mistake of new parents

Although making any of the above mistakes can be scary, without a doubt, the biggest mistake that new parents can fall into is not enjoying the experience by worrying excessively.

Don’t let uncertainty or fear cloud your first months or years with your child. If you find it difficult to manage the emotions derived from your new situation, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

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