48 Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson Advice from Former Teen Parents 1 There is zero tolerance for abuse. Growing up amidst domestic violence and high levels of conflict puts a child at risk for all sorts of problems. 2 Parents assess their relationship. Is it safe? Should it end? Or does it have potential, and do we want a future together? If so, what skills do we need to build? Children benefit if parents work on building a healthy relationship and deepen their commitment to each other. 3 Parents work on communication, whether they stay together or not. Avoid the drama by building communication skills for handling differences and conflicts so you can co-parent effectively. Never badmouth the other parent in front of your child—it only hurts the child. 4 Parents learn about child development, especially the experiences in the first few years that set a child up for a healthy start. Sample Babies need loving interaction and stimulating experiences to build their brains and emotional world. As they grow, children also need parents who encourage, protect, and use effective discipline practices. Together or apart, get on the same page about parenting practices. Seek out resources/parenting classes. Distribute 5 If separated, both parents put their child first before any new partner. Avoid sliding into new relationships. Not Casually bringing new partners into the home can pose risks to children, even abuse. Use the relationship skills you’ve learned to be wiser about choosing partners and pacing your involvement more slowly. 6 Parents focus on education and employment goals. A child will benefit from parents who focus on finishing school and pursuing employment goals. 7 Parents wait on having another child (whether together or in a new relationship) until each is more settled with education and employment and with a solidly committed partner—spouse. 8 Dad isn’t missing in action but stays involved daily—unless his presence is dangerous. Dad needs to be part of a parenting team, not a treat parent who drops in occasionally. Mom should welcome Dad’s participation and try hard not to shut him out or use the child to punish him. 9 Both parents understand the importance of stability and safety for a child’s wellbeing. Establish routines (bed, nap, eating, reading). Avoid taking a child on a roller coaster of multiple relationships as you figure out your love life. Reach out to community and family connections for support. Try to see it through the eyes of a child. Bright Futures for Babies Do bright futures for babies
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