what 1 piece of parenting advice would you give?

Yesterday I asked the following question via Twitter and Facebook: Parents: As a (hopefully) soon-to-be Dad, what is the 1 piece of advice you’d give me? Here are some of the responses.

Josh Stock: Never wake a sleeping baby.

Jason Dye: Expose your child to all types of (mostly healthy) food. makes your job easier when they’re not so picky.

Katie Bolinder Sandford: Nap when the baby naps! (why am i on facebook? i should be napping!)

Mitch Hopewell: Don’t stress out! Kids live through horrible conditions all over the world; your little one will survive (insert current crisis).

Angela Zirk: Find good babysitters and be intentional about having date nights :)… i’m so not a parent…but still.

Jason Haas: Drop all the nonessentials in life that take your time and pour it into your child…best time spent.

Nathan Albert: Once a week give Nathan (yes, me) ten dollars, your child will grow up to be generous and I’ll grow up to be that much richer…

Carol Schnedorf Marino: Savor every moment and love them unconditionally.

Brian: Don’t change who you are now that you have a child, but remember loving them well takes time (and a lot of it) so some things will have to change – just remember who you are and what you do are two different (although sometimes related) things. Also Josh and Katie are 100% right-on when it comes to newborns.

Larisa Eastman: Trust yourself and trust them… never assume that you perceive reality more clearly than they do… the things they have to teach you might be a significant part of the blessing.

These are great. I love the mixture of serious and humorous advice. Anything you would add?

12 thoughts on “what 1 piece of parenting advice would you give?

  1. grandparents make great babysitters. never keep your children from seeing their grandparents often! it’s ok for grandparents to spoil their grand children!

  2. I spent a lot of time thinking about your question 🙂 I am only a few years into this parenting thing, so I am certainly no expert. If I could sum up any advice in one word it would be: involvement. Be involved in your child’s life (that seems like a no-brainer), but also involve your child in your life. Have him/her experience ministry with you. Have him/her see how you interact with other people, how you work, how you relax. Share your passions with him/her.

    Yeah, I think that’s it: involvement

  3. decide what u you really want to pass on to your kids–don’t compromise on those, and then don’t sweat the rest.

  4. Recognize and accept that your life is no longer your own. It took me seven years to recognize this and another couple to accept it. Now I’m trying to change the damage done by my selfishness and resentment. Thankfully God has been “making repairs” and protecting my kids from me all along. He’s good that way.

  5. throw away your copy of what to expect: the first year, the toddler years…

    expect that there really isn’t any way to know what to expect, and enjoy the ride.

    read aloud every day.

    (frequent reader, anna’s sister, never comment but thought this is one area to which i can speak…not from expertise, but from experience.)

  6. Just one? I could say so much.

    But if I could say just one, I would say: be patient. Be patient with your child, be patient with your spouse, be patient with yourself. Be patient with the stage you’re in (it will pass!!!). Be patient with God.

    If you can be patient, I think you’ll have the where-with-all to find and do all the other things.

    And….love. Love, love, love, love, love. Teach boundaries, choices, and consequences. Teach joy. Run and make noise (outside). Make intentional eye contact. Sing.

    Be patient, and love.

  7. I would disagree with throwing out the “what to expect” books. They helped Karen and I cope with some stressful situations. I think you definitely won’t need the books after the first child, but things CAN get scary sometimes, with sickness, and with whatever… it’s good to know SOME advice that is completely impartial.

    So yeah, keep the books. I don’t know how old you’re adopting, though… so if it’s a 5 year old, those books mean nothing. If it’s a baby, that first year book can be nice.

  8. Toussaint-Enjoy your children while they are children.
    Kim-Some moments in parenting are about enjoyment and some are about survival. Be patient with yourself and your child in the “survival” moments, remembering that you will make it through and your child will make it through the rough time. Most importantly in these moments, remember that parenting is about grace. You do the best you can and rely heavily on God’s grace for you and your child. Get ready for God to dig into your soul. Parenting has a great way of making one aware of his or her own sinful nature and our need for a Savior. This process is at times painful, but it is an amazing blessing. As God blesses you with a child, I pray that he will give your strength, energy, and comfort as you experience the “labor pains” of God birthing something new in you both through the parenting process.

  9. Okay so I’m not a parent, but I think I had great parents and respect almost everything they did. There are a couple of things that I definitely appreciate about my up-bringing.

    1. Travel with them while young. I know it may be a hassle, and I’m not necessarily jumping at the bit to haul around young kids, but the world that it opens up to them is immeasurable. By the time I was actually learning the states and famous cities, I had already been to a good 25 of them. I had seen moutains and oceans and desserts and trees as old as the Earth and (well you get the picture). Point is, I was so much more able to grasp concepts that my counter parts could not. Futhermore, I see it with my younger brother who was not as fortunate to travel as often.

    2. Never let your child go to bed thinking you are upset with them. Regardless of what I had done, my mother showed me direct examples of Grace. After any punishment or disagreement, she would hold me, give me a big hug and tell me that she loved me. In all honesty, I learned a forgiveness and love system that made it much easier to understand God’s Grace! To this day, if I do anything that I think may have upset my mom (or anyone for that matter, that I love) I cannot go to bed unless I know that they are okay and that we will be okay.

    3. Finally, if you teach your kid right, you’ll be able to get them to show you affection and respect in any situation. My 15 year old brother, in front of all his baseball pals, will still walk up and give me a hug and a kiss. (of course, sometimes I do have to ask, but… you can’t have everything at that age).

  10. You and Maggie were great with our two when they were younger. With God’s help, you will make great parents! I’m excited to see you are adopting. Praying for you!

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