You can read books and research online, but nothing can prepare you for becoming a mum or dad.
In a word, and in my humble opinion, no, I don’t think parenting can be taught.
Sure, you can read countless books and blogs, or research things online, but that probably doesn’t prepare most people for becoming a mum or a dad.
I think we all have it in us to be great parents. Maybe some take to it quicker than others, some are more apprehensive than others, but I’m certain we can all do it.
Much like an apprenticeship, parenting is about learning on the job. Day to day, there are always ups and downs: sleepless nights, illness, appointments, family visits. Nothing is ever really straightforward where little ones are concerned, but that’s half the fun. It’s about finding solutions that work for you and your family: you’re a team, after all.
That said, while nobody can tell you how to be a great parent, hearing about other people’s experiences and getting the odd tip from someone who has been through it before can help along the way.
For example, we used to take Ayda out in the car on the odd night when she wouldn’t settle because someone had mentioned that to us and it worked. Another friend with children had also recommended getting a cheap stroller because it’s easier to get in and out of the car, lend to family members or just store away. It makes more sense than an all-singing, all-dancing super stroller that does about 12 different things, but that you rarely use. It’s always harder with your first as you don’t realise these things; you want everything to be new and the best you can afford. So those kinds of tips can prove invaluable.
But, if you’re a first-time parent then you’ll find your feet pretty quickly regardless, don’t worry about that. Maybe not because you’re a natural or it was something you were born to do, but because you don’t really have a choice. It’s daunting and scary at times, of course, but exciting too.
Don’t get me wrong, parenting isn’t a chore, but at times it’s no picnic. It’s a magical experience seeing your little one being born into this world. You want nothing more than to protect them and give them as much love as you possibly can. Their first words, first teeth, first crawl and step - you’ll witness it all, and the emotion and pride you’ll feel is like nothing else. But how you approach parenting them is down to you. Every child is different, as is every situation you’ll face and every challenge put in front of you. You overcome hurdles, you develop your own style and you find a way.
As I said, I think we all have it in us to be great parents. It is a skill, but I don’t think you could ever really say it must be done in a particular way. For me, learning on the job has been the best and only way.