Why Experienced Parents Make the Best Listeners for New Parents
February 3, 2015
By Simon Gornick
It is one of the happiest moments of a new parent’s life, a time of overwhelming love and joy. But for many new parents, the bittersweet truth is that the arrival of a baby can also be a time of great anxiety.
Parents may worry about doing the wrong thing, fear what could go awry or doubt their own abilities – temporarily losing confidence in their parenting skills. They can also experience the toughest trials of life during this time.
Life in New York City can be challenging, especially coping with the high cost of living. Add to that the unexpected challenges of being a new parent and the issues can pile up fast.
Four Unexpected Challenges New Parents Can Face
1. Isolation - It might seem like it can’t possibly happen as you remember your baby’s first smile, but young parents, and those without strong support systems, can quickly become isolated and confused. Looking after a baby is so demanding that the world can easily be shut out. Exhaustion, boredom, and sometimes even resentment can set in. The solution? Recognize the signs and seek support.
2. Housing Issues - The arrival of your new baby can add pressure to an already difficult housing situation. Finding solutions to housing needs can often be a complicated, frustrating, and bureaucratic journey. If you are already struggling to care for your child, the added concern of needing a new home is not something you have to confront alone. Agencies like the Department of Homeless Services and Coalition for the Homeless offer temporary housing programs for families that include children.
3. Financial Issues – With an avalanche of products and marketing messages it’s hard to know how to make the right, and most cost-effective choices for your child and your family. For many parents, the baby’s shopping list is long. As much as you want to give your child the best, adhering to a budget will keep you on track and in control of your finances. For immediate assistance contact the Department of Social Services for cash assistance.
4. Navigating Resources - Throughout the city, there are many different parent support groups and organizations. Knowing where to look and taking the time to research the best options for you can be overwhelming without critical guidance and understanding. But, don’t give up on finding the right help.
Parents Supporting Parents: The Benefits
It’s pretty much always been true that those who can help and support you the most are the people who have been through what you’re going through now. Hearing real-life solutions from parents who have traveled the same road as you can make all the difference.
Suddenly, you’re no longer alone.
Knowing you can share your concerns with another parent and get great advice in return can give you strength and confidence in your own parenting abilities.
That’s the core principle behind Guiding Parents, a support organization new parents can turn to when they need help from people who truly understand. We believe in parents supporting parents. We carefully pair parents seeking support with more experienced parents who have had similar parenting challenges and can be a personal guide.
Parent Volunteers: Personal Guides to New Parents
Once a person becomes a parent they dedicate their lives to raising healthy, happy, hopeful and independent children. And deep inside every mother and father is a strong feeling that every child matters.
And there’s something else in the mix too. By parenting children, you become a member of a global “club”. Sure, it’s probably the largest club in the world, but it’s also one with so many shared experiences that in some strange way, it’s actually quite a tight knit grouping - despite its enormous size.
It’s that sense of sharing and caring about all children and their parents that is part of how we look at what our Parent volunteers can do to help new parents find their way.