Best Advice for new Parents

Parenting advice is as diverse as the population of the world, and perhaps the most freely given commodity available. New parents, veteran parents, and even college students taking a class about parenting all have advice to give. Some people rely on scientific research for parenting advice, others rely on anecdotal accounts. There might not be any one size fits all advice, and there might not need to be. Parenting is instinctive; it isn’t easy by any means, but it is a very natural process to be a parent.

Being a parent means an increase in responsibility for another human being.  Babies are entirely dependent upon their parents for food, shelter, hygiene, comfort, and education. Unfortunately, not all babies have parents that are able to provide for these needs. Thankfully some of these children are cared for by loving adopted guardians who become their parents. The best advice for any parent, at any stage in life, is to provide for the basic needs of the child in love and selflessness. Doing so creates a safe environment for the child.

Humans, by nature, have the sympathetic nervous system which helps to keep them safe. This is often referred to as the fight or flight response. In a moment of danger, hormones and chemicals in the body redirect energy to the muscles and cardiovascular system in preparation for fighting or fleeing. Other body functions that are less important during this time have energy directed away from them, such as the digestive system. When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged the body is in a state of high stress. When the stimulus which caused the reaction is no longer a threat, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and undoes what the sympathetic nervous system did. Thereby reducing stress and returning to a normal state of being. A safe environment prevents frequent trips into and out of fight or flight mode.

Babies need their faculties for development. If a baby needs something, such as food or safety, she cries. This is all she knows how to do, and she does it to the best of her ability. The parent’s responsibility is to meet the needs of the baby and provide a safe environment. Looking at the model of the sympathetic nervous system, perhaps babies enter into a similar survival mode when their needs are not met. If the baby’s body is devoting extra energy to crying in order to have her needs met, it may be losing ground in precious development, both psychological and physical. When a parent meets the needs of the child with love, the baby develops trust and her body develops with full capacity.

A safe environment for a child allows the body to develop as normally as it can. A child who constantly lives in fear or in stress or in a state of turmoil will experience the negative physical and emotional results of prolonged stress. This wears out the body and affects mental development. Not all stress is bad, and in some cases it is beneficial to development, but overall meeting the needs of a child and providing a safe environment gives them the best opportunity to learn and grow in a healthy manner. The best advice for new parents is to follow instinct and trust nature as you provide a safe and nurturing environment for your child.