What kind of mindset do you need when raising babies, who naturally have difficulty expressing their feelings and needs? Today we're going to talk about the mindset needed for new caregivers who have just met newborn babies!
4 Attitudes Needed for First-time Caregivers
1. A bold attitude.
When starting a new job, everyone is anxious. Even if it is not about childcare, there is probably no-one who is merely excited in changing situations such as transferring/relocating/moving.
Through child rearing, our lives face many changes. Take a look back at your past when you faced change. It may have been a lot of anxiety and hardship, but in the end, you would have grown used to it to some extent and continued to work in this new area.
It is true that parenting changes our lives a lot, but we are also beings who can adapt well to that life. Do not worry too much. Believe in the strength within you.
2. A realistic compromise: the child is not a machine.
A child who slept and ate well until yesterday may suddenly lose or show a change in appetite. When this happens, first-time caregivers become very anxious. They may search the Internet a lot, and they also look for advice from various people who may know a lot about raising a child.
Of course, getting expert advice, such as from a pediatrician, is a great strategy. But don’t worry too much. Because children are human too, there are moments when their condition of yesterday and today is different every day, and their usual patterns of behaviour also change slightly.
If you try to do this mechanically by making it too standardised, the whole family suffers.
Tip: Set your own standards to reduce anxiety.
If you set a behavioural standard such as “I'll leave the changes for a day or two, but if the problem persists for more than 3-4 days, I'll go to the hospital”, you can raise children with a more comfortable mind.
This is not unconditionally neglecting the state of your child, but it is reasonable to create a standard and practice it to also protect your own peace of mind. The greater your anxiety, the more difficult it is to perform well in parenting, so by taking care of yourself, you are also taking care of your child.
3. It takes time for relationships to deepen.
Just because you have a child doesn't necessarily instantly change you into an 'ideal caretaker'. It may still be awkward for the child, or it may be unfamiliar to you as a mother or father. These transitions are natural. If you unconditionally deny this transition period (e.g., by constantly thinking “I am a bad parent”) and try to stay away from it, you will have long-term problems.
No one can become friends as soon as they meet. Think of your child as a stranger and understand that you are slowly building a relationship and getting to know each other. There are parts of your baby that become more lovable as you get closer, and parts that are difficult now but gradually become more fun as you get used to parenting.
It takes time to deepen the relationship with not only the child, but also the 'me who became the caregiver'. Think long term.
4. Keep an open mind but keep your own boundaries.
After having a child, you will receive a lot of advice. Sometimes it gets difficult because of the feelings of implied criticism in unsolicited advice, and sometimes it feels like you’re acting contrary to advice that sounds right. While accepting these pieces of advices with an open mind and loosely (e.g., that person thinks like that, and that is fine), it is better to set your own boundaries little by little.
Of course, when you are a newborn parent, your own standards of parenting do not come right away. However, please approach this process slowly with the mindset of 'I will try to do that'. It will take time to think about who you are, what kind of person your child is, and what kind of family you want to be.
Even if you are anxious now, one day you will be able to look back on your relationship with your child with a much firmer mind. Don't miss out on this!
Author: Lee Ji-hyun
- A Secondary School Level 2 Teacher Certificate
- As a real mother of a child, she ponders specific parenting tips between reality and theory. She has worked as an educational civic activist and freelance journalist.