Getting started

Start making yourself into the kind of person you would like your child to become.  The sooner the better!  But, better late than never.  Do it today, if not before.  Depending on an instant change of habits when the child arrives will be hazardous to your intentions.  

Some studies have concluded that by the age of three years, children have firmly established in their minds concepts of appropriate, mature adult behavior.  Since as a parent, you are one of the adults, hopefully, most frequently interacting with your child, you are a primary roll model.  What they see in you is what they will most likely aim to become.  (Some will rebel, more about that later.)  Do some planning.  It wouldn't hurt to write it down for future reference.  What characteristics would you want your child to display?  What can you do to display them to your child?   What will your child see as your highest values in life?

Many adults make the mistake of assuming that an infant, being unable to make an intelligible verbal response, is not able to understand what is being said in its presence.  By employing means which allow researchers to measure a nonverbal response, it has been determined that infants understand a good deal more than they get credit for.

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Child rearing advise

Advise on child rearing is easy to come by.  You get it (whether you want it or not) from family, friends, and strangers.  There are books by the ton on this subject.  From this overwhelming mass of "help", good, bad, and indifferent, it is your responsibility to determine what will probably work best in your particular situation.  If what you try is clearly not working, be willing to try a different approach.  But don't be too quick to change, give it a fair trial.

It is of greatest importance to remember that each child is different.  What works for one, may or may not work for the next.
The story goes:  A child psychologist, having some experience with his first born, wrote an authoritative book Raising Your Child .  After the second came along, he revised the book.  With the third child, he threw the book away.

To give you an idea of  the variety of  available instruction books for raising children, I have included a link to  Please note: I have not reviewed any of them, and am not making any recommendations.  I'm sure some are excellent, some good, and then the others.  (However, if you should want one, and purchase it through this link, it will help reduce the number of  ads on this site.)  
Some available books

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With less guilt

Many of the authoritative experts, child psychologists and educators, seem to assume that a child is like a robot.  Put in the right program, push the correct buttons, and every child will turn out as planned.  While they certainly believe it of themselves, they seemingly do not allow the child an ability to make independent choices, "free will".  By providing a proper environment and good instruction, we can increase the probability that the child will be a "success".  But there is no "Life Time Guarantee".

A child is able to rebel, more or less, for better or worse.  Some raised in the most unfavorable situations have rebelled to become quite "successful".  Others from the most desirable environments have rebelled to become "losers".  Those who say, "You can't make me do that!", speak truth to the extent they are willing to accept the consequences of "not doing it".

It is also critical to remember that children are unique individuals.  Each having different abilities, different degrees of ability, and different feelings.

We as teachers and parents are responsible to provide opportunities and encouragement to guide their development in desirable directions.  Yet, no matter how delighted, or disappointed we might be with the results, we can neither take full credit for the "success", nor full blame for the "failure".

We need to make clear to our children (at an appropriate maturity level) that there is a point, though not clearly defined, at which our responsibility ends.  The rest is theirs!

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When do I begin ?

If  your first child is still in the distant future, begin here:
This is the time to establish yourself as the kind of roll model you want your childern to have.    It is also time for observing other people's childern.  What do you see in their attitudes and behavior which you would like, or not like, in your own childern.  Of course! you will change your mind later, more than once.  But without a goal of some sort you will not be able to see your progress.  Establishing a goal is not for the purpose of forcing the child into a predetermined mold.  It is to have a direction in which to start, it is to be expected that changes are to be made along the way as it becomes apparent that they are desirable.

This is the time to observe the interactions between parents and their children at various age levels.  Decide, at least tentitively, what kind of realtions you would like to establish with your own offspring.

If your first child is in the near future, begin here:
Information is accumulating which shows that learning begins sometime before birth.  How much, and how long before birth has yet to be determined.  A near term fetus can respond to tactile stimulation (that is, touch) through the abdominal and uterine walls.  It can also recognize familiar voices.  I have seen a minutes old new born surrounded by voices of medical people, turn toward the voice of the father, more than once.

It has also been determined that musical training begins before birth.  At least two weeks before birth a fetus can distinguish between themes of the mother's favorite TV shows and novel tunes.  (Weinberger, Norman M. "Music and the Brain", Scientific American, Nov. 2004)

It has been determined that a new born does not start from zero in regard to seeing.  For one thing they can already distinguish faces from the visual background.  So they will begin to associate a particular face with a familiar voice.  The parent's part in education at this point is to hold and talk to the infant. 

If your first child already is, select the appropriate muturity level and do the best you can from there:

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