Teen Parenting Skills
Teen parenting skills are often brought into question and that can result in depression for the mom and distancing from the infant. Grandparents are often the cause of this problem. They may take over, criticize or make the new mother feel that she is inadequate. Even older moms in their 20s experience this type of criticism. But usually they are out of the home and only exposed to it in brief bursts.
This article is specifically for pregnant teenagers or those who have just had a baby. The key to increasing your confidence is education. Every new parent, regardless of their age, should take classes or at the very least read a book about caring for infants and toddlers. So, the suggestion that you need to learn how to take care of your baby is not simply due to your age.
You might think that taking care of a baby is instinctual, but learning to bathe, feed, diaper and dress a newborn is not knowledge that we are born with. If you are still pregnant, practice diapering and clothing an infant-sized doll. If there are classes offering teen parenting skills in your area, sign up for them. The more that you learn now, the better prepared you will be when your baby arrives.
New mothers tend to become overwhelmed by the responsibilities and the lack of sleep. Infants need to eat every three or four hours. So, it may be months before you get a good night’s sleep. On the positive side, these nighttime feedings are priceless. You will look back on them when your child has grown and remember the quiet, the way that your baby held your finger while he held his bottle, the way that he smelled and the sound of his gulping.
Nighttime feedings can usually be done quickly and quietly, especially if you have had some teen parenting skills classes. A nice rocking chair in the nursery helps keep you awake and the baby soothed, ready to go back to bed when the feeding is done.
Never take your child to bed with you. There are those that may argue that point, but it is a dangerous thing to do. You can roll over on an infant in your sleep and smother him. It has happened too many times. Don’t let that happen to you.
Remember to care for your emotional well-being. If you need a break, ask someone for help. It does not mean that you lack the proper teen parenting skills when you ask for help. It means that you’re smart.
Teen mothers and their children are at greater risk for problems in many areas of their lives. The more education that the teenager gets while she is pregnant and after the baby is born, the easier it is to avoid these problems.
Early prenatal care, continuous well baby care for the infant and follow-up checks with the obstetrician are all important. If money is a problem, there are many government agencies that can help.
Some state and local governments offer education for teen mothers that covers caring for the newborn. Those classes are a worthwhile investment of your time. Check the library for books about good parenting or check the Internet for resources.
There are some special challenges that a teenage mother is faced with. How to finish school is one of them. Your future and your baby’s will be brighter if you finish school. Without a good education, the risk that you and your child will slip into poverty is great. Children of high school drop-outs are more likely to drop out. So, if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your baby.
While you are pregnant, you can create a plan for how and when you will return to school after the baby is born. Most women are able to return to regular activities after about six weeks. If the birth and recovery time would interfere with your classes, ask about doing your school work at home. Some high schools even offer online classes for students that are ill or otherwise unable to attend. Take advantage of any program that is offered.
Teen mothers are at greater risk for emotional problems following the birth. You may experience feelings of depression or inadequacy. Talk to your parents, your school counselor or seek professional help.
Older moms suffer from post-partum depression too. It is so common that it is often referred to as the “baby blues”. Sudden changes in hormonal levels can cause bouts of crying and other emotional outbursts. Talk to your doctor if you are having these kinds of problems. There are effective treatments. Taking birth control pills can help to stabilize hormonal levels and will help prevent another pregnancy before you are ready.
Many teenagers think that a college education is out of their reach once they have a child to think of. But, there are scholarship programs, work-study programs and many other opportunities. Many teen mothers do go on to graduate from college. You can too.
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