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My wife and have recently discovered that she is pregnant. Barring any complications, this will be our first child. This was unexpected given reports from physicians and I am mostly ignorant when it comes to all things parenting. It is my preference not to suck at it. I suppose I'm beginning the knowledge accumulation phase. I'd like to sort what I need to learn in order to keep things efficient given the vast amount of conflicting info out there. I seek advice understanding that first-hand experience is probably a big part of it. Any guidance or anecdotes you can offer are appreciated. A few tidbits that may or may not be pertinent:


* We started a business about a year ago so income and losing growth momentum are concerns.
* My wife types as ENFP and seems to fit most characteristics on reputable profiles.
* Neither of us grew up with wealth or means. We have a negative bias toward individuals we deem to be spoiled or entitled.
* I'd like our children to have strong work ethic and not grow up with a sense of entitlement. I do not feel young adults should be reliant on their parents for financial support (assuming no circumstances beyond their control).
* I'd like them to be respectful toward others and decent human beings at their core.
* I'd like them to be independent thinkers and pursue whatever interests they choose.
* From my observations, it appears that many parents have difficulty striking the balance between too rigid in trying to instill values/responsibility (ignoring them as individuals) and too passive in allowing them to freedom to pursue their own paths (unintentionally spoiling them).


Where to begin?
 

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Congrats!

I have a 15yo and had similar objectives as you do. I am also a single mom.

Off the bat, I never made things seem like a big deal. If she hit her head it was like, "welp no blood, let's go!" Never ever babied her. Never spoke about myself like "well Mommy doesn't like when you ___" - it would be more like "that's a bad idea because [reason 1, 2, 3]." Basically I encouraged her to have an awareness of consequences of her actions, esp on others than be focused on pleasing me specifically (though that is of greater relevance in some circumstances).

When she was young, there was a lot of things like if she didn't like what I made for dinner, fine: you can make your own dinner. And not in a salty way. Just in a "if you don't like something, you have the ability to make things how you want it." She has gotten some nice things in life but now that she's older, she works for things. She likes to travel so we came up with a system of travel:grades/credits (she goes to independent study vs regular school.) I do not equate it to bribery - in real life, the things I want to do are tied to my perfomance at a job and earning potential.

We don't interact like the family with family dinners now that she's older and has friends. She is very independent and I encourage that. That said, when we are shopping at Target, we have very deep discussions about things where I will essentially just play devil's advocate to challenge her. I'm pretty sure the people at Target thing I am a huge racist/sexist/homophobe haha sometimes she has very strong opinions and sometimes she doesn't care at all about certain topics.

Obviously, your child's inherent personality will come into play. Mine is INxP, likely F, and there are times when my "why isn't this getting done" strikes a nerve I didn't know existed. So, you know... compromise is the lesson there haha

At the end of the day, I think you will be able to adapt to what your child presents and guide your children in the right direction. I've always been fairly hands off - guide is exactly how I see myself. She forms her own thoughts, even if they oppose mine, I am fine with that. The responsibility of a parent imo is to be more of an advisor than to expect a clone.
 

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Plague Doctor
INTJ, 5w4, Ni-T type
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For me and my partner, seriously, what I would have advised us, looking back, is "forget everything you know to be true about kids and raising them" and "enjoy them in every single age because they'll grow up so fast."

My biggest problem with my children is connecting to them more and I tend to allow them to make their own mistakes instead of intervening unless their mistakes seriously mess with the rest of the family.

My strengths are explaining to them the "whys" of the world, directing them to think of the future and of the consequences of their actions, sharing stories/movies which they find meaning in, and encouraging independent, critical thinking.

- - - - - - - - - -

It sounds to me, based on what you've said, that you have a really solid grasp on what needs to be done as a parent and where your parenting should be directed already. Talk to your partner about her ideas about discipline and anything else you might want to make certain you might disagree about. One might be cosleeping, for example. Or maybe she doesn't want the kids to watch too much TV. Make certain that the important things to both of you are covered.

Also, make certain that you agree on the first name and, if it's an issue, just let her pick the middle name. It's not (usually) a name that anyone else calls them or even knows and so it's not as important as some people make it when they're preparing for a new child.

Also, there's no such thing as a baby-proof home.

Oh, one more thing: you're not raising a child; you're raising an adult. I think this perspective (a sort of mantra for me for parenting) really helps puts things in perspective.
 

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Meh.
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Congratulations :)

Follow your instincts. They are stronger than you might expect. Focus on you, your wife and your baby. You will be bombarded with advice on how to let baby sleep, how to feed them, how to raise them. They will tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Smile, nod and then go back to what works best for you and your family.

One blog I’ve found very useful; Evolutionary Parenting. Research/evidence based articles on topics like sleep and feeding etc.

Model the behaviour you would like them to pick up on. Consistently.

Let go of the idea that you can plan this all ahead and have it all worked out before baby arrives. It will turn your world upside down and babies don’t do plans. Take it a day at a time and work on finding your comfort zone in the new normal before making too many decisions about how you will parent your child.
 

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i have only one thing i seem to say consistently to every pregnant person.

chill out. your baby is going to be a person, pretty much right from the git. and there's going to be lots and lots and lots of time for the two of you to get to know one another.

when you actually have a kid, and your kid is so obviously and almost-immediately a person entirely in his or her own personal right, at least 80% of this kind of parenting-as-abstract-idea stuff just vanishes. it becomes obvious almost all of the time what the right thing is going to be for that specific particular person who is your kid.

tl;dr: try not to worry too much. you are the person who is going to know your own child better than anyone else in the world.
 

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My son has a new baby, so I have been thinking about this topic quite a bit lately. He and my daughter-in-law are both perfectionists, so they were in for quite a shock when they discovered that reality is far from the perfect scenario they had planned.

-There is a vision of a serene, natural childbirth, glowing parents, beautiful baby, lovely new family. There is a belief that if you get all the gear and do all your homework and take all the birthing classes, you can have that perfection. This is a lie. It is never like that. Childbirth is painful and can be scary. It might not go the way you hoped it would. But the only outcome that matters is that mother and child are healthy and safe. Having a newborn is wonderful, but it is also stressful and messy and exhausting. You do the best you can, you get help if you need it, and you make sure that your baby is safe and cared for and held and loved. Everything else is extraneous noise. Actually, that advice applies for the next twenty years.

-Once the baby is born, sleep whenever you get the chance. A newborn needs to be fed every two hours. A feeding takes about 20 minutes, plus burping and diaper change. Do the math and learn to nap. Start now. Luckily, after about a month they can go longer, three to four hours between meals. Don't be afraid to get help when you are too tired to cope, or you just need a break. you and your wife need to take care of yourselves as well as the baby. That's another piece of advice that applies for the next twenty years.

-As your child grows up, you will discover that you have a unique individual living with you, with their own opinions, emotions, and agenda. What you want for your child may not be what they want for themselves. You and your wife will need to find a balance - what you insist on and what you are flexible on. Pick your battles. It is not okay if they bash their brother over the head with a block. But it might be okay to wear their pajamas to the park.

-Structure matters. You are the adults and you are in charge. Children need to be able to trust this, to know that their parents are strong and stable. They need to know that there are limits, that their parents set them, and that they can always count on you even when they don't admit they need help. Be comfortable with the structure you set up and be consistent, and life is easier for all of you. Remember, they are learning how to be grown-ups by watching you.

-Explain why you do things and why they have to. "Because I said so!" is not a good reason for anything and does not teach personal responsibility. It just teaches children that big people have power over small people.

-Try to relax about the daily dramas. Don't freak out about peas on the floor, or mud in their hair, or baby shoving dirt in her mouth. Or a two year old who absolutely will not eat anything but bananas and milk. Or, true story, when your son pulls down his diaper, shouts "I hate you!" and pees all over the floor. (That was my young ENTJ son, already taking charge of his environment!) Cultivate a sense of humor and parenthood will be easier and a lot more fun.

-Try to not take your negative emotions out on your child, no matter how exasperating they are, or how bad a day you are having. And when you do slip up (all parents slip up), be willing to apologize and acknowledge that you regret how you behaved. When you do this you are teaching your child an important lesson about integrity and accountability.

-Enjoy spending time with your child. Have fun. Read books. Tell silly stories. Go exploring. Make weird concoctions. Crawl around on the floor and make growly noises. Show your child how amazing the world is. Share your hobbies and interests with them. Take an interest in their interests, and encourage them. Get to know your child as a person and make sure they know how great you think they are.
 

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I'm the ISFP daughter of an INTJ mom and INFJ dad. I don't know how useful my insight can be, but I'll share anyway.

My mom didn't rely on parenting books, studies, documentaries, etc. to raise me. She relied very much on her intuition and instinct as a mother. Even though she relied on personal instinct rather than outside sources, she was extremely naturally good at structure and routine. She also was/is much less prone to histrionics than my dad, which I can appreciate because I am similar to my dad in that regard. If I was having issues with kids at school or whatever, she tended to be more deeply understanding and analytical of the situation, while my dad would just apologize to me for things he didn't do.

One of the most interesting parts about her as a parent was what I believe was her Ni-Fi looping. An example of this is, amusingly, her intense distrust in the National Dairy Council. Before I was born and throughout my life, she (and my dad) wouldn't touch milk because of her distrust in the National Dairy Council. Funny enough, after I turned 4/5, I refused to drink dairy milk. I would spit it up, just leave it, etc. She told the doctor that I refused to drink milk. The doctor went on and on about milk forming bones, that I would get osteoporosis or whatever if I didn't have milk...you get the idea. My mom said "She'll be fine. Here's what's gonna happen: I'll give her Vitamin C and an orange everyday. I'm not gonna make her drink milk; I don't even drink milk." Guess what? My bones are fine. As a side note: my elementary school was plastered with "Got milk?" posters, which endlessly aggravated her.

She also takes education and learning very seriously, and most years of school, I missed less than 2 days. However, I think it was 3rd grade when Disney presenters were coming to my school. I had absolutely no interest in Disney growing up, which relieved her, because she was/is very much against the Disney empire and what it stood for. When she heard about the Disney presenters, she drove right over to the school and told the principal she thought that Disney had no place in the school. She took me out of school and we went and got slushies.

Her Fi has definitely stood out and helped me shape mine.

I am a total mama's girl and I love my INTJ mom! :kitteh:
 

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0) Congratulations!

1) Stock up on sleep

2) See #1

3) Decide with your wife if she will attempt breast feeding.

If so in addition to #1, lay in a stock of calorie dense, tasty food, preferably in a deep freeze so it will keep. I have seen a woman who was breastfeeding, eat an entire sour cream raisin pie in four hours and continue to lose weight.

4) Talk to relatives / friends / support network about gently used baby furniture, decor, strollers, car seats, etc. -- these things have a large markup and are generally not kept forever.

4a) Also consult with these people about willingness (of parents / siblings as fits your circumstances) to watch the baby for a couple of hours. Infants are *never* "off" -- even when asleep, this can change suddenly.

4b) Come to agreement with Mom, how much, umm, finger-wagging instruction the two of you will put up with from any well-meaning (or even just overbearing) relatives (e.g. how dare you take the baby out wearing so many / so few clothes for this weather!)

5) Read up on baby-proofing the house (chemicals out of reach, stoppers in electrical outlets, bannisters blocking stairs, etc.

6) Try to come to agreement about parenting philosophy (whether to allow the baby to sleep with both of you in bed as they get a bit older, or let them cry themselves out in a crib); whether you take turns getting up in the middle of the night; all that kind of thing

7) Pick a name, and have one or two in reserve. Sometimes the blessed event happens, and you say, "Wait, (s)he just doesn't LOOK like a (Wilma) Fred." You'd be surprised...

Congratulations again!
 

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to: Green Girl
(Thunderous applause)
 
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