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3 Steps to Creating a Parent-Positive Environment

Hey young people! This is for you! Here are 3 steps to creating a parent-positive environment and why it is important to do so.

All around this country, many individuals are working hard to make sure that minorities and all sorts of people-groups are well represented and welcomed. But there may be a group that’s been overlooked.

Parents, especially young ones, are often subjected to harsh stereotypes and attitudes from the people around them, often including their friends.

Think about it. What do we say to someone who has a new baby? “Well, say goodbye to your sleep schedule and your social life!” Or how do we let the label “parent” influence the way we see somebody? Aren’t parents often automatically considered less fun and more boring?

You may think that these attitudes are harmless or even true, but this sort of stigma surrounding parenthood could have some large effects. If parenthood is seen as the end of your fun, how could that affect someone expecting a baby? Or if everyone’s view of someone shifted when they became a parent, how could that affect parents’ mental health?

That’s why Life’s Choices is encouraging young people to consider becoming parent-positive individuals who work to make parent-positive environments! What does “parent-positive” even mean, you may ask?

Parent-Positive

Adjective. Describing an attitude or lifestyle.

Intentionally working to reach out and encourage new/young parents in your life. Evaluating the emotions and thoughts that come to your mind when you consider parenthood, and working to realize the blessing that parenthood is!

Odds are, you know (or know of) a young parent. They might be a co-worker, a family member, a friend…in any case, they are someone who could probably benefit from having a parent-positive person around. Here are three steps to creating a parent-positive environment!

#1 Invite Your Parenting Friends Out (and keep inviting them!)

Just because someone is now a father or a mother does not mean that they don’t like to hang out any more. Yes, their schedule may look different, and they definitely will be pretty busy most days. But we encourage you to take the initiative to make plans with your parenting friends! Friendship and fellowship are great encouragers; a few hours with a friend might be exactly what a parent needs to recharge! They might be too distracted to make plans themselves, so an invite to something you’ve planned could be just what they’re looking for.

And don’t forget to keep asking them to do things. If they have to cancel one night, or an invite gets turned down, odds are they appreciated your effort and they’d totally say yes to something else. The parents in your life need time with friends and family, and if you work together, you can make it happen!

#2 Think Ahead and Baby-Proof Your Space

If you are having some parents over, and they are bringing their little one(s), it would say so much if you baby-proofed your space before they arrived. What does this say? It says that you acknowledge the potential challenge of bringing their child along so they could spend time with you. It says that you’re aware of the many things they have to think about, and you care about making them feel welcome. That way, when the parents arrive, they see that you have made an effort to understand their life at this stage.

Most people hear “baby-proof” and think they need to buy a baby gate. When in reality, it just takes a few moments to assess your area for safety. Take 10 minutes and look around the room for any exposed outlets, any dangerous objects within reach, and anything on the floor that isn’t supposed to be there. Close any doors to rooms that could contain a hazard for a small child. Invite your guests to hang out somewhere that is not close to an open staircase. Small thoughts and actions like this can be quite the addition to your parent-positive environment.

#3 Watch Your Words About Parenting

We say so many things throughout the day, a lot of them we don’t even remember afterwards. But a huge part of creating a parent-positive environment is being very intentional about the language and words you use about parenting. Have you ever said anything like this to a group?

“Ugh, I never want to have children!”

“Wow they must be so tired, couldn’t be me.”

“I hope she doesn’t bring her kid along.”

These statements may be truthful to some extent but think about how a parent would feel if they heard those words said in a thoughtless tone. Our words have such a strong power, they can build up and tear down so easily. The young/new parents in your life have undertaken a big job in choosing to take care of a child. They need encouragement and positive words to let them know their community is with them. No matter your own desires when it comes to having kids, you need to be careful about how you are speaking about parenting in general.

Parenting is a blessing. It is an important stage of many people’s lives. It is also difficult and exhausting at times. We need to make sure that these superheroes (moms and dads) feel safe and taken care of too! Use these tips in creating a parent-positive environment in your world today!

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