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So, you are a new parent!

Here is a list of questions for which you may want to be prepared:

  • What if he is still sucking on that pacifier when he starts school?
  • What if she gets so attached to sleeping with us she never leaves our bed?
  • What if he develops attachment disorder because we let him cry himself to sleep?
  • What if we give her so much of what she wants as an infant that she becomes spoiled or even worse, entitled?

How do you feel after reading these questions? What emotions do they trigger? If, as a new parent, you are feeling a bit of anxiety, it wouldn’t be a surprise. These are just a few of the most commonly asked questions expressed by new parents. But look again— the fact is that these are not really questions at all, are they? They are actually hypothetical expressions of projected woe. (That’s a mouthful) And, guess what? There are no creative solutions for such expressions of fear.

Let’s try this again:

  • In what healthy ways could we start to wean our child from his pacifier?
  • In what healthy ways will we help our child transition from our bed to her own?
  • In what healthy ways can we help our child fall asleep on his own?
  • In what ways can we learn more about an infant’s needs and how to meet them?

How do you feel now? Do you feel like maybe you and your co-parent or another family member could get busy exploring creative answers to these questions? Of course you do! That’s because the best and easiest parenting takes place when we are able to remove fear from the equation. Fear, by its very nature insists that we shut down creative thinking, and for good reason.

There is no room for deliberation when imminent danger is present. We must keep our options simple: flight, fight or freeze, stop-drop-and roll. It’s a matter of survival, isn’t it?

But being in a frequent state of survival mode brought on by excessive worry and doubt and ‘What-ifs’ is not healthy and certainly does not promote sound decision making for the long-term. This is why it is imperative that when making important decisions about rules, expectations, routine and discipline, we … stop, drop and roll? No, just kidding. Before making
any parental decisions we should first undergo a quick audit of our motivation.

A simple check-in with our motivation might sound like this:

  • Am I coming from a place of fear or from a place of love and trust?
  • Am I acting out of desperation or out of inspiration?
  • Remember, on whatever we place our focus, it will expand.

And, if we are able to be honest with ourselves during times of fear, we can go a step further and name exactly what it is that bothers us. It’s important to express for example that we are afraid that our child’s extended use of his pacifier might pose problems for him. But we don’t need to react to this fear. Instead we acknowledge it as a concern and then trust and enjoy focusing on the possibilities for solutions—the process of creative problem solving.

It is the knee-jerk reaction to fear that often results in escalation, expansion, and development of new problems and arguments including those we might have with our partners and extended family members. When we remove fear from the process, and this includes honoring it and imposing it, we feel more relaxed with our choices. When we come from a place of love and inspiration we gain confidence in ourselves as we grow into parenting. And, the magical side-effect is that we have an enhanced ability to see the goodness in our children and gain a greater appreciation for the
gift of parenthood.

In addition to my weekly parenting tip, The Purposeful Parent is introducing two fantastic avenues for growth-without- fear for new and soon-to- be parents and their families.

First, I would like you to be aware of an extraordinary new facility here in Racine, Wisconsin. It is called Nest Playspace, and it is a place like no other. It is a newly designed space for parents and their children ages 6 and under to engage in imaginative play. With whimsically designed child-sized campers, teepees, kitchens and more, your little one can explore in a safe and clean environment by your side. The Nest Playspace provides an affordable much needed alternative and unique play area for highly deserving dedicated parents.

Second, it is at this space where I will be teaching parents and families healthy, love-centered strategies based on tried and true psychology to help make your day as a parent, easier.

During the month of October, the sessions will be centered on strategies for new or soon-to- be parents.

To find more about The Nest Playspace and opportunities for workshops with The Purposeful Parent, please go to:

Nest Playspace
505 Sixth Street
Racine, WI 53403

or contact me at click on ‘The Purposeful Parent’ tab in the menu or call me at (262) 637-8176.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.