Great Parenting advice from non-parents

During the early years of parenting, it’s common for you to cling to friends who are also parents. Directing all of your questions about sleeping patterns, breast-feeding, and coping with small children. Their love, support and experience is undoubtedly invaluable to you as you build your new family.

Most parent peers in their groups normally form the option that non parents are less qualified to give meaningful advice. Rejecting parenting tips and the perspective of non-parent friends and family on the basis of first-hand experience being the sole prerequisite to having a valid opinion is somewhat absurd.

Friends For Life

Most of the people you’d seek advice from are people you’ve trusted for 15+ years. You’ve been through it all with some of them, from road-trips, trading talking for sleep, managed messy choices and above all, showed up for each other when in need.

Your friends both old and new have great instincts, and you’ve asked for their counsel on everything from fashion to first job interviews and the bigger life decisions that followed. Yet none of them have any related credentials. What then would make advice on parenthood any different?

You might find yourself in a privileged position where some of your non-parent friends are dietitians, teachers and nurses, who specialise in child development.

We Once Were Kids

Each of these friends knows what it feels like to be a kid, having grown up in families with varying degrees of function. Some can recall the time their siblings got to have a roller rink birthday party when the most exciting element of theirs was less exciting or extravagant. Perhaps they were the shy kid or hated being the middle child.

Your kids may not have the same experiences you had growing up and are most likely not to share the same family dynamics that you did. You might find that your friends could easily relate to some of these situations and feelings more than what you were used to.

They Too Have Parents

Non-parents’ stories about parenting styles are just as valuable as any others. They remember their dad keeping his cool after they took his car out for a spin or their mom apologizing after losing her cool. Maybe rules were enforced without any explanation or reasonable logic, driving a wedge of silence and resentment into their teen years. You can learn from parents who chose humour when friends expected a hammer or who effectively built up or chipped away their self-confidence.

They Provide The Perspective To Call Out Your Crazy

As parents surrounded by parents in their little parenting bubble, it can get hard to check yourself. Your non-parent friends are not caught up in the lifestyle and can be the voice of reason that reminds you that a packed calendar of extravagant activities, expensive toys and summer camps are not the tickets to perfect childhoods.

Some may indicate that it was good for their parents to take a step back and allow them to earn and save money to purchase their beloved action figures and earing collection.

They Are The People I Hope My Children Become

Every parent would be so proud if their children got some positive traits that they love about their friends. Being kind, loyal, compassionate, brave, smart, bold, funny, empathetic and generous are some of the qualities that you love about your friends.

Some aforementioned friends are parents and some are not. These characteristics are learned by example. Spending time exclusively with friends who have families that look like yours would be contributing to a bubble mentality you should aim to avoid at all costs.

There’s no reason your pool of wisdom and advice has to be populated only with those who have chosen to be parents. In fact, your life can be made richer by listening to more voices as you make my way through the parenting section of your life.

You do not need to feel alone. Talk to any one of our helpline professionals about parenting tips

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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