Family 77

19 Parenting Tips From Actual Parents*

Trying to find your way as new parents can feel a bit like groping in the dark, which is, ironically, not dissimilar to how the journey towards parenthood begins for most people.

So, to shed some light on the issue I decided to ask some of my friends with kids for their advice on the matter.

Then I realised that would mean actually having to talk to them, so I just put it out there on Facebook and Twitter instead.

And this is what I was told (corrected for punctuation and grammar, of course).

“Trust your instincts about your own child. What works for others might not work for you, and that’s okay. You know your own kid.”

“Stay a child yourself, connect on their level. So do water fights, build forts, play with Lego, sing out loud, etc.”
— @robertpaul

“I’d say go with the flow and have fun! That’s what I’ve learned most in the last 2 years with my little one.”

“Always carry a bible with you while you’re in public with your kids. Not to calm yourself down to read it when they act up, but in case you might have to do an exorcism.”
— Shawna H.

“Write down your assumptions then immediately throw ‘em in the trash. None of it will matter.”
— @fetterbug

“Just be there, make time for them. They have no message in all those office hours you put in.”

“Don’t have kids unless you’re prepared to centre your life on them for 20 years.”

“Bad behavior can be changed in a week if the parents are strong enough to last the 7 days of pain the kids will bring.”
Eric E.

“Be as consistent as the laws of physics!”

“Get a dog.”

“Enjoy it and photograph the hell out of it.”

“Don’t make rules you aren’t going to keep.”
Jay T.


“Child leashes.”

“Ignore 99% of parenting advice. There is only one expert on raising your kids. You.”

“Give them an iPad and let it raise them.”

“Don’t call your kids “little shits”. It puts bad energy on the kid. Hugs and snugs often. Do all the fun things. Discipline is necessary. Kids respect the parent who gives their life order. Feed them healthy food. Let them help with anything they are interested in. Nurture their spirit & nurture their interests. Don’t get worried over their obsession with dinosaurs.”

“Where do I start? How about, ‘There’s no single piece of advice that will get you through parenting.’”

“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Pretty much everyone who commented on my last post

Please feel free to add your own advice below!

(*I can neither confirm nor deny that those quoted above are actual parents.)

Image by Jitterousperth.

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  • vancouverandy says: September 6, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Think before you speak to their actions, sure it looks like a slap on the behind is in order. It may well be. Try and look threw their eyes first.

  • sedrate organizes says: September 6, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I never bluff. If I say stop jumping on the sofa or you’re losing all your trains for a week, I get up, put the trains in a box in my closet and put the kid on time out for good measure.

  • Matt says: September 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    “Don’t call your kids “little shits”. It puts bad energy on the kid. Hugs and snugs often. Do all the fun things. Discipline is necessary. Kids respect the parent who gives their life order. Feed them healthy food. Let them help with anything they are interested in. Nurture their spirit & nurture their interests. Don’t get worried over their obsession with dinosaurs.”
    — @cass_taway


  • smccown75 says: September 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Reblogged this on Garden Variety Neurosis Redux.

  • Lisa.O says: September 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    It’s perfectly acceptable to walk out of the room and count to ten… repeatedly if necessary.

    • History Kicks Ass says: September 8, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Totally agree!!! Sometimes you’re just so surprised that a child has made you SO angry that you need a few seconds to refocus before analyzing and problem-solving the situation at hand! :)

    • Su Leslie says: January 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      This is probably the only piece of advice anyone gave me when my son was small that I think is actually worth anything. My two cents worth; don’t listen to people who give advice. Your relationship with your kid is unique and you have to figure it out for yourself. The only plus in that is that it demonstrates that you have instincts for a reason.

      • Lachlan Payne says: January 8, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        The only problem with that advice is that I’m going to have to ignore it.

  • Cassandra Leconte says: September 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    @robertpaul has an amazing answer. i completely agree with him on that.

  • juliasarahelizabeth says: September 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    What? You asked for advice from real, actual parents? Ha! I can’t understand why. Pet parents don’t count?

  • thetraveltotaste says: September 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Reblogged this on thetraveltotaste.

  • Simple Heart Girl says: September 6, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    I’m not a parent myself, but I’ve seen this happen so many times that I feel it’s important to say: Be on the same page as your partner when it comes to how you both raise your child. Don’t play good cop/bad cop. Just be together in everything you do with and for your child.

    • Lachlan Payne says: September 6, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      That sounds like great advice to me.

  • Simple Heart Girl says: September 6, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    “Stay a child yourself, connect on their level. So do water fights, build forts, play with Lego, sing out loud, etc.”

    I do that all the time and apparently it’s what makes me such a great babysitter. So I’ve been told by the parents. :)

  • jennifromrollamo says: September 6, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Children watch your actions more than what you say, so make sure your actions and your words don’t make you a hypocrite in your child’s eyes.. You are the parent, the adult, so when discipline is needed to occur, don’t hesitate to act;discipline for out and out disrespect of your authority as the parent, not for acts of clumsiness, as most children are clumsy or forgetful from time to time. Spilling a glass of milk all over the kitchen table, while annoying, is an innocent, clumsy act. Throwing a glass of milk across the room? That needs to be dealt with immediately.

  • torthe says: September 6, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Nothing good or bad lasts very long. This has helped me endure the trials and appreciate the joys of being a parent. I like the advice from Simple Heart Girl, I hadn’t thought about it, it just came naturally to my wife and I.

  • Italee says: September 6, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Some lovely advice… I particularly like @Robertpaul ‘s comment about connecting on their level. It’s so important not to forget what it means to be a child. I have no children (yet!) but from my own experience of friend’s kids and being one myself I would say another two important points are: 1) Make sure you and your partner are presenting a consistent and united front. There is nothing more confusing for a child than having mummy say one thing and daddy another. This can also encourage the child to play one parent off against another which causes unnecessary friction in a family. 2) Particularly when dealing with teens, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!! Your teenager is going through a lot, they are moody, angry and frustrated with themselves and they will project that anger onto their parents. It’s their only outlet. They will realise that in time… hang in there, stay strong and firm but also loving and fair, and try not to take their hurtful words to heart. It will end :)

  • rubytheblacklabrador says: September 6, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Just as you think you’ve cracked it – everything changes – this happens about every 6 weeks! good luck!!!!

  • acdodwell says: September 6, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    We’re just about to welcome number 3… so we ‘ought’ to know what we’re doing, but this advice is still great- especially the Bible carrying comment! I think the most important ones are around time: give them time when you can, and explain why you can’t always. Kids spell love T-I-M-E, but they don’t measure it with a clock. 2 minutes of running round the garden being planes or cars or mermaids or whatever beats 3hrs watching TV together for young children. Reblogging this on too.

  • acdodwell says: September 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Reblogged this on Essential Thinking and commented:
    Saw this, some really good ideas for new and existing parents.

  • travelsinwriting says: September 6, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Reblogged this on Peace. Joy. Pancake. and commented:
    “Be as consistent as the laws of physics!” ahahahahaha my favorite one so far! :)

  • trendbytes says: September 6, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    As the parent of 2 almost grown girls, I can say that the best advice I can give is to never talk down to your children. They are incredibly bright. The more mature you are with them, the more mature they will act. And as others have already said, never bluff. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Stick to your guns, no matter how much they complain. It will prevent a lot of problems down the road (I’ve watched others who didn’t take this advice, and they are still suffering with horrid behavior). A few more, don’t lie to your kids. For example, if they ask for a coke and you don’t want them to have it, say no. Don’t say, well honey, I would, but the machine’s broken…it will come back to bite you in the butt later. I’ve never done this, but you’d be surprised how many people are unable to say “no”.

  • Dystonia Girl says: September 7, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    The best thing you can do is spend quality time together. As much as you can. You can never get that precious time back. Enjoy every minute.

  • freebutfun says: September 7, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Have fun!!!

  • ETat says: September 7, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    Ah, I see a new post! So the first wave of panic and sleeplessness subsided.
    So how is she? started to recognize your faces yet? sleeps well, eats well, poops well (most important)?

    • Lachlan Payne says: September 7, 2013 at 7:39 AM

      He (not she) is well.

      And, yes, two months in and yesterday was the first time I got to sit down at the computer for more than five minutes and think.

      • ETat says: September 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        Oops, sorry, mixed your baby with someone else’s – I know, how could I?
        With the new school year starting, in my blogroll there are lots of posts on raising/educating kids, battles and flame wars you can’t imagine yet for now – but those issues will wait for you, too…For now, enjoy relatively simple tasks of caring for his physical needs. That’s my only advice (since you asked…otherwise I’d just kept mum!)

  • Distracted Mom says: September 7, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    Don’t forget to take time for yourself and recharge your batteries, (as much as they are able to recharge.) You’ll be a much better parent and able to meet their needs if you’ve met your own as well.

  • sila says: September 7, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Love, attention and support raises Children, not rules.
    (please, read the emphasis and focus meant here, not lawlessness)

  • Tom Reeder says: September 7, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    The advice from @madebyandrew is excellent: “Be as consistent as the laws of physics.” A former colleague of mine didn’t take that approach; I once heard him say to his toddler, “Ruby, sometimes ‘no’ means no!” You can probably imagine how well that worked.

  • robackus says: September 7, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    My husband and I have just taken 12 months off jobs and normal life to travel with our children. It is fantastic, and I agree that time is the important thing.
    However, it is also very important to be the parent. You are not friends with your child. You are the adult and are therefore responsible for the guidelines and direction of your child’s life. Don’t confuse parenting and the extensive love that that entails with friendship. Give kids choices, sure, just not all the choices.
    Parenting is damn hard and relentless, but if you put in the hours, it is very rewarding and the most amazing journey you’ll ever take.
    And if you do it right, the kids might come and visit you when you are old and in a home!

  • History Kicks Ass says: September 8, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Shawna H.’s comment was PERFECT. My kid just started tantrums and this is just so spot on. :)

  • RieWriting says: September 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Hey Lachlan, thanks for visiting my blog. I love this post. The worse thing I ever did as a new Mum was read the Gina Ford books, if I ever meet that women it will be hard to restrain myself!!

  • anastasiias says: September 9, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    I liked the one with bible :D

  • Rachel says: September 9, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    Congratulations to you! I love all the comments/advice especially the “get a dog” comment. The best one though is “make time for them”. And be sure to ignore all unsolicited advice!

  • A.D. Everard says: September 9, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Some of this made me laugh out loud. Thank you for that. A wonderful post – and I’m sure you’ll do just great. Congratulations. :)

  • Donald Borsch Jr. says: September 9, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Don’t try to be your son’s friend. He will have friends come and go his entire life. Be his father. He’ll only ever have one of those. And that’s you. :)

  • bhavoo says: September 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Thanks for stopping by. Nice post. As a new parent myself, I can relate to this.

  • randomblurting says: September 11, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    Brilliant post! :)

  • dawnhosking says: September 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    Just be the best that ‘you’ can be ;)

  • In Somnis Veritas says: September 13, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    With a now 16, 12 and 11 year old – all I can say from my years of ‘experience’ is to roll with the punches, discipline forcefully but lovingly, and figure out what works best for your child. Probably the most important doesn’t really have to do with the kids as much as you and your partner, make sure you’re on the same page in everything whilst in front of the child.

  • Chris Brann says: September 17, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Reblogged this on A Christian Warrior and commented:
    Interesting, views what do you think?

  • princella101 says: September 18, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I just want to say this is great! I have no kids of my own but I loved reading all this. Humorous and very insightful.

  • Gregoryno6 says: September 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    As a non-parent, after reading all those suggestions, all I can say is Good luck, chum!

  • Monisima says: September 21, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    I wrote an article on Hub Pages about how I raised my daughter. However, I was able to do the things I did with her because in the Philippines it’s not expensive to have a maid and just about everyone has them. I think it’s a real task to raise a child and hold a job and have no maid. My daughter and I had a very playful relationship (she’s 22 now) and when it was time to do the hard stuff — carry her around at the mall, change nappies, etc., she had her yaya to do it for her. So I guess my article would essentially be irrelevant and so I won’t put the link. Sorry, I ramble.

  • Holistic Wayfarer says: September 24, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Just cherish every minute of it.

  • joelseath says: September 25, 2013 at 3:59 AM

    Know that what this child does is play; have respect, have great love; listen carefully; lay down your adult needs to be authoritarian, disciplinarian, bigger; kneel and wash the feet of your child; have humility and when you’re wrong, say ‘I was wrong'; trust that look in your child’s eye.

    Thank you, Lachlan, for coming by my site. :)

  • Jack Curtis says: September 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    The species, having reproduced for milennia,evidently understands how in at least, most cases. A percentage are bad jobs no matter what their parents try. Experts have mostly, simply found a career easier than physical labor.

  • floridaborne says: September 28, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    As the mother of 2 amazing 30-something children, the most amazing thing about them is how well they raised themselves. :-)

    Both have a great work ethic. Both have college degrees. Both love their families and are extraordinary at parenting. Are they perfect? No. I’m not perfect either. If I could give 3 pieces of advice to new parents it would be this:
    1. Pick your battles. Teaching them not to run into the road takes precedence over teaching them to iron their shorts. The first can get them killed. The second can be solved by buying permanent press.
    2. As much as it might hurt to watch them suffer the consequences of their actions, it hurts a lot worse if they have to learn it as an adult.
    3. Avoid saying, “You did that wrong,” while completely ignoring the part they did right. Instead say, “You did a great job on this part. Can you think of another way to do the other part better? ” (imagine my surprise when my kids would come up with solotions I hadn’t thought of). You’re not there to simply point out mistakes. You’re there to teach your children how to love, how to care for others, critical thinking, and how to stay strong in an imperfect world.

    Parenting is a 24/7 job. No one can do it for 18 years straight without making a mistake. I certainly made my share. There will be wrong turns, but that’s expected when you’re forging the path with a machete as you go along, hoping you get to the other side of the jungle alive. In the meantime, your children are learning how it’s done by watching how you handle life day to day.

  • Per G Jönsson says: September 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Love the picture (photography is one of my hobbies). As for your selection, the third one from the bottom makes me sad. If you have to write that you should not call your children “little shits” then what kind of an environment do you live in?

    I’m a parent of three kids by the way. Frustrating at times, wonderful most of the time.

  • All Xena's Horses, LLC says: September 29, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Keep an open heart. If you are too stressed to laugh with your child, you are working too hard; you are missing it. Slow it down. Enjoy the ride.

  • Michael56j says: September 29, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Throw the parenting book away.

  • per mare... says: September 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Reblogged this on per mare… and commented:
    Parenting is a life long work-in-progress and your baby will teach you how to look after him. The more you understand and observe your child, the better you will be at knowing what to do and when. When all else fails, call Grandma. She’s “been there, done that” and is not at all frazzled by the demands of the little one. Babies are blessings but Grandmas are Godsends. Good luck with it all. :)

  • thomasjford says: October 2, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    If you have a boy, get used to watching Cars and Cars 2 A LOT from about 18 months onwards. Be prepared to quote it more than your favourite film of all time. Be prepared to spend serious money on Cars merchandise. But most of all, love your son or daughter whatever they do.

  • Kelly Grace says: October 3, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    We have 5 kids, 14 grandkids, and 1 great grandson—not “professional qualifications”, but a lot of practical experience.
    I think Shawna H, madebyandrew, and JayT had great advice.
    In the comments I liked sedrate organizes “I never bluff” which is a great way to remember “being consistent as the laws of physics” and I think all parents have to accept what acdodwell points out: namely that anything worthwhile takes TIME. Ask yourself if you want WORTHWHILE kids and then act accordingly.

  • Kelly Grace says: October 3, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    Reblogged this on A Really Full Life and commented:
    This entire month I’m blogging about the Proverbs 31 Woman. We’ll get to her parenting skills in future posts, but I thought those of you raising kids should see this. Part of it is funny and part of it is wise and part of it is funny and wise.

  • Tails from Paris says: October 3, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Thanks for your interest in “Tails from Paris”. We’re now following your blog.

    Hey ! You know you can treat yourself with a little trip to Paris if you feel like it :

    And you’re back for dinner : we promise !

    Alix & Roxane

  • amber rahim says: October 3, 2013 at 5:50 AM

    I love the variety and the underlying message to connect with your children and that it won’t be easy. But hey, life isn’t easy. It’s full of peaks and troughs and kids contribute to most of the peaks. I think the troughs are there to remind us that they are not angels, they are people.

  • frankpovah says: October 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Don’t consult an expert – except medical ones.

    • Lachlan Payne says: October 6, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      I even try avoiding those sometimes.

      • frankpovah says: October 6, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Sadly, sometimes they are necessary

  • […] you do intend to read this, I reckon you might first want to have a shoofti at Lachlan and Cathy’s post. It’s what set me off to recycle this one that first appeared in Like The Dew a couple of […]

  • El Vega says: October 6, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    So glad I’m not a parent. All you parents are brave people!

  • texasladyjuanita says: October 7, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Be a parent first – always, because there are no do-overs. Love, Love, Love. (Beatles music is good for the nursery.) Be very careful of the curses you put onto your kids . . . my son has a home full of girls, and the youngest one is my son in a skirt – he cannot take his eyes off of her for a second for her own good! She is 3 and knows everything the 4 year old knows – and ten times the energy. Finding her on the roof any day will not be a surprise. He blames me. hehehe

  • azgsgirl says: October 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    Much of this advice is true for teachers as well. I love “my” school kids dearly, but some days are more trying than others.

  • foodforknowledge says: October 19, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Great advice! I give praise to all the brave parents out there and women who have to endure pregnancy and child birth!

  • psychologistmimi says: December 27, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    nothing truer than trust your instincts! Happy holidays and have a great year ahead.

  • Lily Twigg says: January 3, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    This is hilarious “Then I realised that would mean actually having to talk to them, so I just put it out there on Facebook and Twitter instead.”…. Reminded me of my train of thought…

  • crumbsoffthetable says: January 10, 2014 at 3:27 AM

    The best advice I received was to approach every situation with patience and love. That’s how to make the best decision. I find wine helps.

    • Lachlan Payne says: January 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      Wine is a nightly ritual in our house.

  • A Collection of Musings says: November 4, 2014 at 6:49 PM
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