This article offers support for thinking about parenting before pēpi is born, and guidance for conscious parenting through the Tākai resources.

People often say that babies aren’t born with a set of instructions. New parents either try to be the sort of parents their own parents were, or do the opposite. Often we just slide into parenting without thinking about it too deeply.

Involving other whānau members can be a real support for new parents, especially if they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed with the idea of becoming parents. Being totally responsible for a new baby can be scary, especially if the parents haven’t had a lot of hands-on experience before.

Start early

Understanding that baby is a living and growing person able to hear, feel, taste and move can help new whānau to begin building a strong connection with pēpi. The more positive thoughts the whānau have about baby the more they’re beginning to build their secure attachment relationship.

Before pēpi is born is a great time for new parents to think about what they want for baby in the long term. If they have ideas and dreams for baby, they can think about how they raise them to make those dreams become reality.

You could encourage new parents to try the activity Dreaming about baby’s future (based on Tākai resource Thinking about parenting, page 2).  

Becoming a conscious parent

Conscious parenting is about being mindful of what influences parenting. When parents understand where they are at and where the child is at, they can be more intentional in the ways they parent.

The Thinking about parenting booklet has more in-depth information on the concept of conscious parenting and how people can make changes to become the sort of parents they want to be.  

The booklet encourages us to reflect on:

  • What sort of people we’d like our children to be when they grow up?
  • What parenting practices will be needed to make that happen?

It also:

  • offers an opportunity to stop and think about who we are as parents
  • asks us to think about how we were parented and what effect that had
  • explains how tamariki learn through exploration and repetition
  • helps us to avoid problems before they start
  • talks about behaviour changes
  • gives us ideas to help us become firm and fair parents
  • guides us to reconnect with our kids when we’ve had an upset
  • is full of tips and strategies
  • reminds us that we can make choices – good choices for parents and kids.

There are many other ideas in this booklet about conversations to have as baby grows and as parenting challenges evolve with the child.