|Photo by: Thinkstock/Imagebank|
Family Matters: Arrival of the firstborn
By SHIMRIT NOTHMAN
A new column: Expert Shimrit Nothman gives her unique advice on how to resolve family conflicts.
In this new column, conflict resolution expert Shimrit Nothman will give
her advice on a number of issues dealing with conflicts that may arise
between family members. In this first column she tackles the issues that
parents of a new baby may face.
This is the moment they've all
been waiting for; the arrival of a new-born baby. After numerous tests,
nausea replaced by back pain and
confusing visits to the baby shops, it’s now time for first-time mum and
dad to leave the hospital with their newborn and start a new life as a
An outsider not yet blessed with a baby could be
fooled by the parents’ big smiles as they walk along the hospital
corridors heading towards their car, but little do they know what awaits
them when they get home.
The simple reality is that a new baby
brings many happy moments as well as many new chores and
responsibilities. New mum and dad are now forced to embrace new roles:
some are physically difficult for them (say, breastfeeding) and some
that are new and challenging (changing a diaper).
The new mum and
dad also slowly begin to realize that the newborn doesn’t appreciate a
good sleep through the night and therefore struggle to keep their
concentration and sanity throughout the day.
What can be done to resolve conflicts between new mum and dad?
first step would be to not wait until the birth to start discussing the
shift of responsibilities around the house. Sit down together and
discuss the new roles each partner can take, perhaps after hearing about
the challenges from family and friends with small children.
also be a good idea to browse the Internet for advice given in "new
parents" forums or to read articles written by experts in this field.
that’s a good start, the conversation doesn’t end there, since when the
new baby arrives the couple find themselves facing situations they
didn’t expect which require them to make some adjustments to their
original plans – so flexibility is important.
conversations the partners should not forget that they are both tired
and so they may experience difficulties to sympathize with “the other
side.” Perhaps it may be more beneficial to discuss what’s bothering
them the most and then focus on finding a suitable solution to that
specific problem, rather than discussing everything at once, since
throwing everything on the table may well just result in more arguing
and less beneficial outcomes.
Many new parents are afraid to ask
for help, thinking that like everyone else they can "handle it." The
reality is, however, that most new parents receive help from their
family and friends with preparing food, cleaning, shopping and other
activities that could be a struggle for the first few weeks and maybe
even months after the baby is born. Receiving some help around the house
during this time might ease the burden and allow for a temporary relief
in the tensions between partners, which in turn will allow them to
focus on resolving other issues they are now faced with.
new mum and dad should remember that now more than ever they both might
want to feel loved, supported and needed, therefore they need to work on
building their partnership to meet those needs. With all the time both
parents are devoting to the new addition they have less time for one
another and it’s very easy to let the days pass by without saying a kind
word to your partner or spending some quality time as a couple. The
couple should make time just for themselves, preferably out of the
house, even if it means getting a babysitter for an hour and going out
for a jog or for a cup of coffee.
Nothman has a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution and believes that like charity, conflict resolution begins at home.
If you have any questions for Shimrit, please use the comments section
below or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is brought to you as general information only and should not be a replacement for professional advice.