Living with children changes people's lives because it gives them the gift of having their own children to love and care for. It is without a doubt one of the most important and rewarding experiences a parent or guardian will ever have. However, no matter how prepared you believe you are for the journey, most birth and adoptive parents will tell you there are numerous important things they wish they had known before taking the plunge. With that in mind, here are some things to consider before living with kids.
1. The Child Is the Most Important Person
The child is the only person in the constellation (which also includes first family members and others connected to the child or the new parents) who does not have a say in the matter. Every effort should be made to ensure that the child receives the best possible outcome.
This may mean that a child you want to bring to live with you will object to the arrangement. It is possible that your stay together will look different than you expected. The most important aspect of the process and your life as a new parent or guardian is to keep your focus on the child's best interests.
2. Practice Positive, Firm, and Kind Parenting
At birth, there are an estimated 100 billion neurons (brain cells) in babies with few connections. These connections shape our personalities, drive our actions, and ultimately determine who we are. They are “sculpted”, strengthened, and formed as a result of life experiences.
Provide positive family interaction for your child, especially in the early years. They will then be able to have positive experiences and share them with others.
However, if you expose your child to negative experiences, they will not develop in the way that they need to thrive.
Sing that silly song. Enjoy a tickle marathon. Visit the park. Laugh alongside your child. Give them your undivided attention. Ride along with them as they have an emotional meltdown. With a positive attitude, solve a problem together.
These positive experiences strengthen neural connections in your child's brain and form the memories of you that your child will carry for the rest of his or her life.
It appears difficult to maintain a positive attitude when dealing with discipline issues, especially when dealing with behavioral issues. However, it is possible if positive discipline is used instead of harsh discipline.
Being a good parent means instilling in your child the basic morals of what is wrong and right.
The golden rule of good discipline is to set limits and be consistent. When establishing and enforcing rules, be gentle but firm. Concentrate on the cause of the child's misbehavior. And, rather than being punished for the past, make it an opportunity for them to learn for the future positively.
3. Prepare Your Mind for the Lifestyle Change
The decision to have a child live with you should be made with great care. Consider your mental and emotional preparedness, your relationship with your partner, your financial stability, and your overall physical health.
Some people may struggle to emotionally prepare for the prospect of living with children. When they consider the responsibilities that come with being a parent or guardian, they may become anxious or scared. That's because caring for a child is o huge responsibility (and a big one at that)!
Talking about it with your partner, parents, or friends who already have children is one way to prepare emotionally for the idea of living with children. This can give you an idea of what you're getting yourself into if you decide to become a parent or guardian.
Having a child is an exciting time in a couple's life. However, unlike previous generations, the new generation frequently prefers to wait a while before marrying and having children. As a result, the goal is to mentally prepare and plan thoroughly before bringing a child into your home. Indeed, it is critical to assess your overall situation to determine whether or not you can immediately provide a home for a child.
If you answered yes, you should be mentally prepared because having a baby will necessitate many changes in your lifestyle. Determine how much time it will take to raise your child (ren). Determine whether this is something you can do on top of everything else in your life or if it will necessitate a complete lifestyle change.
If you or your partner are both professionals, you may have concerns about who will care for the child while you are both working. In this case, depending on your needs, you should consider hiring a babysitter or a daytime nanny.
4. Understand Why You Want to Live With the Child and Accept Your Limitations
The first thing to remember is that you must understand what you are looking for and be honest with yourself about it. What you require from this new phase. You should ask yourself the following questions: Are you comfortable with taking in and caring for a newborn? Because not many people are good at taking care of babies, perhaps living with an older child would be better for you. During the first 3 to 5 years, they require a great deal of attention and care. Newborns require constant effort, and if your mind is not properly aligned, there may be problems.
Consider whether your home is suitable for a special-needs child. A child with special needs requires a lot more care than a baby does. So, be truthful with yourself about this decision. If you're adopting, consider whether you would be interested in taking in a child of a different race. There may be many challenges associated with living with a child of a different race than yours, as well as many challenges associated with raising an intercultural family that you should be aware of.
5. Ensure That Both Partners Are on the Same Page
If you intend to have a child sharing a home with you and your partner, both of you must be on the same page about something so important. Make sure you're both ready for what can often be a long, stressful, and emotional journey — and that you're both on the same page about what you want parenting or guardianship to look like for your relationship and your family.
If this is your first child, now is the time to have those difficult conversations about where you stand on various parenting decisions and how you intend to share child responsibilities.
6. Get Your Financial Affairs in Order
You must have a firm grasp of your financial situation before beginning the process of having a child under your roof. A child who needs medical care and attention, for example, will not only require hospital and appointment fees but also related costs such as food and transportation during long appointment days. A child who is having difficulty adjusting to their new living arrangement will need to see a therapist, and you may also require therapist assistance. It is preferable to overestimate the amount your family budget will need to expand rather than underestimate and struggle to meet your child's needs.
Know the difference between your assets (savings and investments) and liabilities (debts). Consider your current income and expenses as well. If you are easily getting through the month and actively saving while paying off your debts and expenses, you may be ready for this new phase. If your monthly household finances appear to be tight, it is worthwhile to devote some time to strengthening your financial position, perhaps by paying down debt or increasing savings. While no one will ever ask to see your credit report before living with kids, you will want to pay down your debt for your peace of mind.
7. Talk With Your Child and Help Their Brain Integrate
Most of us are already aware of the significance of communication. Talk to your child and pay close attention to what they say. You'll have a better relationship with your child if you keep an open line of communication, and your child will come to you when there's a problem.
However, there is another reason to communicate. You assist your child in integrating different parts of their brain, which is an important process in a child's development.
Integration is analogous to our body, in which different organs must coordinate and collaborate to keep us healthy. More good behavior, fewer tantrums, better mental well-being, and more empathy are a result of the brain whose various parts are integrated and functioning harmoniously.
Talk about difficult experiences to accomplish this. To develop attuned communication, ask your child to describe what happened and how they felt.
You don’t have to provide solutions. To be a good parent, you don't have to have all the answers. Simply listening to them speak. Asking clarifying questions in simple language will assist them in making sense of their experiences and integrating their memories.
8. How Does Your Pre-existing Family Feel?
It is critical to consider how your pre-existing family feels when considering living with a child because it affects them as well.
What does your partner think? Are your parents on board?
Finally, the choice is entirely yours. However, making sure that everyone in your family is excited about having a new child join them at home will make the process a lot easier.
If you already have children, whether biological, adopted, or otherwise, it is critical to ensure that bringing another child into the home will not negatively impact them.
Will you be able to balance caring for that child and a new one if your child is a baby or has long-term health problems?
Has your child been adamantly opposed to the idea of having a sibling? Remember that single children may say, “I don't want a brother or sister,” but they may not mean it – but you know your child best.
9. It Is Critical to Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Just because you have or have not given birth does not mean that the first few days, weeks, and months of living with kids will be easy. Depending on your child's needs, you may have to engage in years of intensive parenting. To adequately meet your child's needs, you must first ensure that your own basic needs are met.
This does not imply that you will not lose sleep or make sacrifices to do the right thing for your child, but you must be aware of and respect your limits. If you are parenting with a partner, you should plan how each of you will get a break when needed. If you are parenting alone, find out who you can turn to for assistance when you are unable to meet your own needs.
10. Therapy and Counseling Make the Transition Less Difficult
You should meet and connect with other families who have gone through the same experience of welcoming a new child into their home. This will allow you to gain additional insight and normalize the experiences that prospective parents typically face.
Psychological and emotional support is also required if the child you live with is struggling with the transition, or if you, as new parents, are struggling to adjust to having a new child in your home.
You can get help with this through psychological therapy and support groups. The more you learn about the transition period, the better prepared you will be to welcome a new child into your family.
11. Support and Network
Surround yourself with a strong support system willing to learn. Parenting alone takes a village, and this one-of-a-kind journey necessitates a special kind of community. Share your discoveries with your family and friends. Point them to resources that will help them understand your parenting style and the special needs of your children, such as language to use and things to say or not say when speaking with your child. The more healthy and safe relationships your child and you are exposed to, the better.
12. Set a Good Example
Don't just tell your child what they should do: walk the walk. The best way to teach is to demonstrate.
Humans are unique in that we can learn through imitation. We are hardwired to mimic others' actions, comprehend them, and incorporate them into our own. Children, in particular, closely observe everything their parents or guardians do.
So, be the person you want your child to be – respect them, model positive behavior and attitude, and show empathy for their emotions – and your child will follow suit.
Living with kids necessitates extensive research, patience, and dedication. The more you learn, the better prepared you will be for each stage of parenting and guardianship. Just know that there is a vast network of resources available to assist you along the way.
Living with a child can be a joyful experience for you, your child, and your family as a whole if you know you're ready for such a huge step and have the right support, attitude, and information.