13 Things I Have Learnt from My First 3 Kids To Help Me Parent The Next 2

As we parent each new child we gain more knowledge, we learn more strategies, we make more mistakes and we continue to come to the realisation that there is still so much more to know. Whilst nowhere near the completion of my parenting duties, I have managed to get 3 boys through the baby stage, toddlerhood and now have them firmly entrenched in their primary school years.  With a new toddler enthusiastically making his presence felt, and the welcoming of a new baby later in the year, I embark on this ‘second round of early childhood’ with both an open mind and certainly a few lessons learned. So here they are…..13 of my top tips to help me get through the coming years.

  1. Only ever buy exactly the same pair of socks for their entire childhood. As long as they inhabit the same house as you, this is the only answer I can come up with for preventing odd socks.
  2. It doesnt matter how many times you say yes to a child….you will still be the worst parent EVER the one time you say no…so you may as well get it over with early and teach them that No means No, and start growing that thick skin!
  3. Letting your child play with a toy gun, (whilst challenging your initial intentions of creating PC kids) will NOT turn your child into a homicidal maniac. (not so far anyway!) Oh and nor will letting them dress up as Batman, Superman, Buzz Lightyear or a Ninja Turtle.
  4. It is never going to be possible to attend every play, recital, assembly, sports day, excursion, presentation and training session..so I will refrain from feeling guilty when it isnt convenient to do so.
  5. It is completely futile to try and talk any rational sense into a ‘tantruming’ toddler. I now know that it is far better to prevent the tantrum by distraction or if you missed the opportunity, either ignore or pick up and remove offending offspring.
  6. Flexibility is a must.  I will not run on such a tight schedule that I am sent into a mad panic by a  a baby who decides to spew over  his  ‘newly changed into outfit’  just as I strap him into the car.
  7. I will not get involved in comparing the milestones of baby and toddler for hours on end. Just becomes tedious and boring.
  8. No matter how many times I tell the kids to keep their heads away from others…they will still get headlice!
  9. Don’t bother buying clothes that you like but they dont in the hope that they will wear it anyway…because they wont. My children, one in particular,  has been known to survive a whole season rotating 2 t-shirts despite having close to 12. I can however, always stipulate what they wear on special occasions, parties etc. However dont leave this up to my husband as despite having a gorgeous array of clothes, they too will find the oddest and ugliest combinations to fit out the unsuspecting child.
  10. Needs do not equal wants. I will not  be bullied into believing that I must renege on a decision because  EVERY other kid has one, goes there or plays it ….because that is simply never true!
  11. Children can be selective in their hearing, so I will not keep booking them into the  audiologist to get justification for their refusal to look up from the TV
  12. You cannot forcefeed a toddler!
  13. I will continue to use phrases such as “Because I said so”  (parents dont have to explain everything, some things are simply non negotiable) and “Wait til your father gets home”  (because yes,  he is way more scary than me!)

Yes I could certainly do a Part 2, 3 and 4 as there is so much more I have learnt, and I will be back in another 10 years with some great advice for myself on how to get the  younger 2 through their teenage years….so stay tuned!

 What is some parenting advice you wish someone had told you from the start?

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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. mario monk

    Wow, those advices are great. I have learned some of them the hard way already, but most were still to come. Thanks.

    If I need to add what I have learned: Don’t tell anyone (friends, family) you are taking your baby to swimming pool, baby school or anywhere else public. You won’t hear how good the socialisation is, but how many diseases your baby can get there. (Okay, okay, I know. There are those whom you can tell).
    And also, don’t assume that every advice is 100% true. Even if it’s the doctor who gives it. Not all can be applied on everyone.

    1. Martine

      Absolutely….we cannot possibly hope to take on every bit of advice we are ever offered or we would surely go crazy! Sometimes we need to rely on good old fashioned ‘gut instinct’!

  2. Kylie

    Wonderful! Loved reading every second of it. We have a blended family of 5 kids 6 years old and under and that gave me a good chuckle and also a reassurance that I am not alone!
    Love it! Thank you for sharing

    1. Martine

      Wow….5 kids under 6 will certainly ensure you have lots of amazing and challenging experiencees to learn from! And no, of course you are not alone but sometimes its good to have that reassurance!

  3. Tat

    I’ve always wondered why, after your put matching socks in the washing machine, they all come out different! I’m glad it’s not just me that’s struggling with the odd socks and I think I’ll follow your advice from now one 😉 And thanks for your reassurance about the toy guns. They terrify me, but you can’t/shouldn’t really control who your child is friends with and what games they play.

    1. Martine

      I remember one of my sons only wanted to go and play at a certain friends house because they had a toy gun. It got to the point where he was wanting to go there all the time, and would spend the whole time playing with the gun. So, I bit the bullet (so to speak) and bought him a gun. He played with it for a week and then forgot all about it, and didnt ask for it the next time we went to that friends house.

  4. Glowless

    Great advice. I got lots of good advice before I became a parent, the one that has stuck with me the most was from a friend’s mother. She said I will get bombarded with soooo much advice and to use it like a buffet table; pick and choose what suits me because it won’t be identical to the next person.

    1. Martine

      Very good advice, and learn to trust our gut on what advice will work for us and what won’t.

  5. Shirley Peters

    Great advice. I was a “no” mum for the first 13 years, then a “yes” Mum after that. I was very strict with my kids when they were younger (eg “No means no”.) , but once they were old enough to make decisions, I loosened the reins dramatically (“Yes, you can go out next Saturday night, provided you are home by 12 o’clock”.) This meant we had wonderful teenage years, with almost no arguments.

    1. Martine

      Fantastic to have wonderful teenage years. And I think that is great advice. If we can instill the respect early on then they maintain that respect throughout the teenage years enabling them a better chance to make better choices. Thanks Shirley for your comment

  6. Debbie

    Hahahahahahahaha – love it Martine!!
    All of the above are very very familiar.
    I often wonder how I would go if I did it all again with all the wisdom & experience I have gained over the past 15 years. How different would my children be if I had all this knowledge back then??

    1. Martine

      Absolutely! There is nothing like first hand experience to make us wise.

  7. Trish

    I am totally only buying black socks from now on, I have twin boys (5) and an eighteen yr old …and 50 odd socks. I learnt from the teen but a little too late.
    Love this advice.

    1. Martine

      After doing the washing myself today…..I need to remind myself of the socks thing too!

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