There’s really no manual for parenting. For most of us, it’s like getting thrust into this new world so different from what we’ve known before having children. And the first few years could be a struggle, especially for a new mother who is finding ways to adjust to new responsibilities as she faces parenting challenges day in and day out.
Even after a few years most of us feel like we haven’t really figured out everything yet. But who could? Just when you thought you’re starting to adjust to parenting, your child develops and changes, enters a new phase and stage which comes with new needs. And so you’d have to grapple with the new responsibilities again.
While there are thousands of books with tons of theories about parenting, and science-proven methods of rearing a child, nothing beats the authenticity and wisdom of a message and advice from a mother who’s been through what you’re going through right now.
Here are some sage parenting advice and message from five veteran non-millennial mothers that might help you along the way.
#1 Have an enormous room in your heart for mistakes, because there will be many -- your kids' and yours.
“Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Apologize when you do wrong and they will realize that you're not superwoman. Remember that life is not a teleserye. It's a choice. When things go wrong -- as they sometimes do -- make the choice to be strong, and move on. Your child will learn strength of character when he sees you go through life's challenges with conviction and perseverance. Cry, if you have to. Be angry, be frustrated. But pick yourself up and do not be a victim. Your triumph will be your child's strength. If problems occur because your marriage isn't working, don't think that staying in a bad marriage is going to help the kids. It could destroy them. Know when things are untenable and know when to move on. You can be a hero to your children despite all the bumps and bruises you get when you choose to win.” - Maggie Muñoz Shih, 57, mother of one
#2 A little deprivation will help build your children’s character.
“Young parents nowadays do not want their kids to be deprived of material things if they can afford it, but a little deprivation will teach them the value of subduing one’s appetite for material things. This will in turn help build their character. It’s essential in inculcating self-discipline and self-control. Delayed gratification is essential in teaching self-discipline and self-control that will prove beneficial when they become adults. Young parents should be able to meticulously understand their kids' individual personalities by constantly interacting with them. Do not forget to speak or share to them about the Christian faith or about spiritual things in accordance to the level of their understanding. These leave a lasting impression on them and influence them when they become adults.”-Nimfa Tangcuangco, 68, mother of two
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#3 Show your love for all of your children equally, do not compare them to each other.
“Natural parenting instincts come out the moment you see your child. You don’t really have to study how to be a parent. It will come naturally. New parents have to remember that raising a child is a big responsibility. Show them love, and make sure you show all of your children affection and attention, equally. Never compare them to each other. Treat them as your friends. Show them respect, so they can respect you back. Never reprimand them in front of other people when they make mistakes. Take them aside and talk to them in private.” - Asuncion Yap, 66 years old, mother of three
#4 Quality time is the most important thing you can give your children.
“No matter how busy you get, find time to sit down and talk to them. Ask them how their day went, ask them about school, about their friends, and their activities. Allow them to have your undivided attention, allow them to really be with you. More than just letting them know, make them feel that you are really there for them. Never forget to say, 'I love you, anak' or 'I’m proud of you'. Don’t ever let them feel that they’re alone. Support them always, because they will draw strength from you.” - Jocelyn Panganiban, 52 years old, mother of two
#5 Establish rules and be consistent, but treat your child with respect.
“Parents can meet with the teachers who may help them develop joint strategies. Rules should be explained to the child before enforcing them. If a child makes a mistake, avoid harsh discipline; instead, talk to the child one on one and encourage him to be honest and truthful when admitting mistakes. It’s also important to treat a child with respect. Talk to him politely, respect his opinions. Pay attention when he is speaking to you. Treat him kindly. Your relationship with your child will be the foundation of the future relationships he will be building with others. “ - Josie Enriquez, 63, mother of five