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Parenting Young Children

Updated on February 12, 2015

The Formative Years

The ages of birth to seven, are the most important in the development of children. It is at this time, during this window of opportunity, that attention to detail and the correct guidance when given will set the path by which the future life and achievements will be directed.

The brain of the newborn is like an empty vessel into which the ebb and flow of knowledge and philosophy will vie with natural instincts and self preservation. In the first few years a young child clings to its parents, probably more to its mother, and absorbs the world around like a sponge soaking up moisture.

He or she will imitate and gravitate to the familiar and reject and be repulsed by the unacceptable. These are triggers to learning and the key to success for the wise parent who reads these signs and is in tune with the developing mind.

Andrew at 4 weeks
Andrew at 4 weeks

The First Baby

Don't drop him

Ever fearful that in the first few months of my son's life he might somehow slip through my fingers was because he was so small.. A tiny baby and beautiful in the extreme, at least to me, he weighed just 4 pounds 2 ounces at birth. My first glimpse of him made my heart do something it had never done before. Its hard to describe, really, the sensation. But it jumped and an overwhelming outpouring of love rushed out from me to him. Wow, it was indeed special.

A week later we went home and he was totally now in my care. The joy of feeding him with my milk was unbelievably special as his tiny mouth pumped the breast. Burping him, cleaning him, bathing him, changing him and taking him for walks in his pram were moments of sheer joy, Nothing he did would ever sever the bond that had been formed in those first seconds of his life.

He is 41 now and with two children of his own and a stepdaughter there is the same love in his eyes that must have radiated from mine. He has the same caring attitude, the same type of bonds with them and he loves them to death. Is this the same pattern that he experienced in the early months of his life returning? Yes,I believe so. What you do to and for an infant is what will come out in later years.

In the beginning comes the love, the caring and the routine. Its reinforced! Every day the same routine, the same dependability, the same security and as the mind grows the love, security and bonding grows with it. This is essential for stability and for the baby to know that things are normal. That does not mean that you should stay home because outings are good and visiting others as well. But coming home to the familiar is what matters and the bonding with the home is as important as that with the parents.

Are children the most precious things we have.

Yes, their love and the pleasure of rearing them is the greatest thing ever

Yes, their love and the pleasure of rearing them is the greatest thing ever

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    • Ryan81 4 years ago

      Have to agree with everyone else. They definitely are.:)

    • Toy-Tester 4 years ago

      they most definitely are!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Each one took my heart in that special way and it is hard to describe as you say....its almost like a ssed inside you suddenly comes to bloom.

    • Anthony Godinho 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Indeed they are a huge blessing!

    • Tara Wojtaszek 4 years ago

      I feel so blessed to have my daughter. Every day I am amazed by her and by how much my heart grows with love for her.

    • LiliLove 4 years ago

      Yes, they are! My little boys are the joy of my life.

    • Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      My children are my dream come true

    • maryLuu 4 years ago

      My son is the light of my eyes! Without him everything has no meaning!

    • blessedmomto7 5 years ago

      Yes, every child is a blessing. I am blessed to have 7!

    • VisFeminea 5 years ago

      they are My Precious

    • nightbear lm 6 years ago

      Yes, The Bible Says they are gifts from God.

    • hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      Definitely, they are the future :)

    • benkquick 6 years ago

      She is the most important part of my life.

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    • Arquinn 6 years ago

      Children are God's gift not only to couples but also to the world.

      And yes, just like what Margo_Arrowsmith said, they are the future :-)

    • MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Well, they are the future is not just a cliché, its also true

    • snazzy lm 6 years ago

      Yes, undoubtedly. Although today being day 2 of the school holidays I question my sanity in saying that!

    • LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      Oh yes!

    • sheilamarie78 6 years ago

      Definitely! Children are gifts. They are our connection to the future. The greatest days of my life were the births of my three sons.

    • Senora M 6 years ago

      yes, my 2 sons are precious!

    • James Jordan 6 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I wish I really knew the answer for this. but how my life is going not sure we if can afford a child right now. Also, I don't want to be too old to not be able to fully relate to him/her. I do feel a complete void in our life that we do not have children. Especially after going to my firends son's baseball game today. I think they are a blessing to any who have them.

    • AHERMITT LM 6 years ago

      I can't imagine my life without my kids... Other people's kids are a different story.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      There are no other relationships that are so endearing and important than that which we have with our children, well, one exception - the relationship we have with our "self." Their frailty, their absolute trust in us when they are young, and then their growing understanding of who we are as they mature and discover we are not infallible.

    • macmcrae 7 years ago

      Yes, definitely. There's nothing else that feels the same as the love you have for your own child.

    • noxid25 7 years ago

      Absolutely! My sons mean everything to me and I wouldn't want to be here on this earth without them. It is truly an honor to be a Mom.

    No, I have never had the desire to have any

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      • anonymous 7 years ago

        Although they're wonderfully cute and I love seeing my friends' babies and children, and although I even have a business making baby blankets ... I've never wanted any of my own.

      How Many Do You Have?

      Children, that is?

      See results

      Spending Quality Time with Them - And getting the right exercis

      They will test you but how you react to their needs is important. Take part in their activities. Be a partner in their games and be there when they get the most enjoyment from your company. When they are partaking in family time its mum and dad they will want to share it with.

      Andrew relaxed in my arms
      Andrew relaxed in my arms

      You Are Shaping His Future

      The things he will need

      In those first few short weeks my brain was overactive in planning for Andrew's future. He would have to go to the best school and have the greatest of opportunities. So I phoned and ordered enrollment forms for some of the top schools around. The forms went in and he was on the lists of about 4 of them.

      But it was his brain that would need protection and guidance and even at this age he was showing signs of recognition and of understanding. He knew my voice and that of his fathers. My mother minded him on several occasion and he quickly recognized her and also his other grandparents. The paternal side had no other grandchildren and they wanted to spoil him rotten.

      That's when things got hard for me. We visited them often and they had good access whenever they wanted. But my very watchful eyes were upon them. They had different ideas and values but that could not be allowed to cause friction because it could affect Andrew.

      What Happened With Your First?

      Were you frightened of dropping your baby?

      See results

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      Karen at 12 months
      Karen at 12 months

      Parents Grow Up With Children

      What they teach us.

      How many times have I heard it said that you can't get pregnant when you are breast feeding. Well, that's wrong! By the time Andrew was 4 months old his little sister had made her presence felt. It was a difficult pregnancy and now I was split in three directions.

      First there was the baby shop, which I had opened after getting pregnant with Andrew. Second there was the baby which took a lot of my time. Third there was the morning sickness which lasted all day, every day and every night. There was nothing I could put to my lips almost without chucking. Karen was born a month early and was the sweetest little thing you could imagine. Her beautiful auburn hair and petite shape had everyone admiring her. Of course I did my fair share of that as well.

      Next came Margaret only 18 months later. Then things were really tough. 3 babies in nappies, as it turned out was a lot to handle but there is a solution to every problem. We just have to think about it.

      The baby shops, yes I had 2 by that time, were sold and sadly my mom died before Margaret was born. That left the biggest hole inside that you can imagine and the intensity of love for my children seemed to increase because of it. With every loss there is a gain and my last baby is an obvious reincarnation of my mother. She thinks the same, acts the same, speaks of the same things, has the same type of dogs and even wanted to be a nurse. She never knew that her grandmother was a nurse.

      She was my baby because she was the last and also the hardest to keep track of. Her athletic abilities were shining out of her when at just 8 and 9 months old I could not keep her out of the toilet. She would climb in there and paddle her feet in the water while reclining around the bowl as some cling to the side of a pool.

      By nine months she wasn't just walking but running with me after her trying to keep up. She had definitely been here before and made no bones about it. By the time she was 2 she was already doing gymnastics and at 4 swam 28 laps of an Olympic pool. Later in life she would come to hold 2 world titles in karate and many gold medals. She also has several Australian titles as well as others. While I was concentrating on the academic side for the three of them it was a mistake because Margaret was champion sports material.

      But there was a thing in the family that you don't pressure children into anything. If they want to do something they will do it in their time. That she did and with great success.

      Margaret at 9 months
      Margaret at 9 months

      How Long is the Learning Curve

      Everyday it was something new

      There were times when I thought the nappy cycle would never end and there were days when my nerves would stretch out to their limit as coping with 3 children, all toddlers, was something that even the best of mothers would have trouble with. That was especially made worse by the youngest being the most active and always on the go. if we went to the Mall she took off and sure enough would cause me great anxiety looking for her. Often she would hide to make it worse.

      But I had my own set of rules. The first one was never to smack my children. They were to me little apprentices. They were learning about life and about society. Above everything else they were an extension of me. If they made a mistake then it was my fault. So my approach was to explain what they had done wrong and to encourage them never to do it again. If they did, however, do it a second time then I would say they had forgotten what they had been told so it was explained to them again. If, and it rarely happened, it happened for the third time then that had consequences. A spell in the bedroom or a loss of some privilege, such as the reading of a story before bedtime, was always enough.

      The greatest thing about my children was the love bond between us. If one of them was upset then it called for a massage, a cuddle and a lie down on the bed together until the pain, whatever it was, was gone. It was an astounding thing when one day my head was aching so much that it called for a lie down. Margaret, who was about 2 at the time, came to me, gave a cuddle and started massaging my legs. "Poor mummy" she said. "The pain will soon go 'way." It was not the last time that such a thing would occur.

      It was the precious moments that are so well remembered. Like the day when 3 year old Andrew cut his finger while playing and came rushing into me yelling "mum, I'm leaking".

      To avoid stressing them about silly things if they dropped a glass and it broke, for instance, my reaction was usually "don't worry, we'll get another one." One day their father was missing while doing something outside. Philosophical Karen, who was about 2 at the time, responded to the news with "don't worry, we'll get another one."

      Every day with them was a joy as we worked together on chores around the house, on cooking and cleaning, then we would head off to the shops and the little bosses would likely tell me what we had to buy. They were always consulted about important things so they were never left out or left to wonder what was going on. If it was new furniture they were asked if they liked it, if the color was OK, and so forth,

      By the time they were of school age they had taught me much but the greatest lesson was that your children are the most previous things in your life. They give far more than they receive and they are worth every cent you have to spend on them to ensure their future well being. Karen has two degrees now, is happily married with 2 gorgeous little boys`

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      Baby cuddles
      Baby cuddles

      Set The Rules Early

      You will never regret it

      Once a baby comes into the house things change. Routine goes out the window, housework gets behind, washing piles up and the temptation to pamper and nurse the newborn is overwhelming. Well that's not the way to do things.

      First off you will be feeding for most of the day, or so it will seem. And, of course, most of the night as well. If the baby is crying you won't get much sleep and things can get rather tense as the days go on. First off the baby comes first and his/her needs. That means getting the washing done on time so there are clean clothes because, believe me, he/she will sick over and stain them just as fast as you can prepare them.

      Baby can be fed while you lie on the bed. I did this with all three of mine. When they had their fill they drifted off and so did I. Believe me there is nothing wrong with this. You need to sleep when the baby does. Don't worry about burping every time either, If he/she is uncomfortable you will soon know it but generally there is little wind consumed while breast feeding. At least that was my experience.

      With disposable nappies things are a lot easier now than they were in my baby rearing days, as cloth nappies had to be soaked and washed daily. No one is going to sack you if the floor is not cleaned daily or shoot you if the dishes go unwashed, One thing you need to do is reinforce the need for your partner to lend a hand. He can use the vacuum cleaner and wash dishes despite what he might claim otherwise.

      Once the baby is established and settled down things ease off and that's the time for a routine to set in. Do the housework early when you are refreshed. Let the baby know that a little crying is not going to result in him immediately being picked up. Feeds can now be regulated and you can have some time out as well.

      Walking the baby in a pram is good exercise for both of you. He/she is stimulated by the sounds, smells and appearance of the streets or shopping centers and will become familiar with the places you go. I have known parents to put crying babies in the car and take them for a drive to put them to sleep. I never had to do that as mine were put down at regular times during the day and then at a specific time at night.

      As they get older read them stories once they are in bed and this works like magic. You will find they can't wait to hop in between the blankets to get their story and good night kiss.

      Its routine, its reinforcement, its love and its comfort for parents and children alike. Stick to the routine and there is very little trouble afterwards.

      Equality
      Equality

      Don't Ever Let Your Children Down

      If you have rules you must keep them.

      My children learned from the start that their mother was dependable and trustworthy. They were not told any lies, they were not kidded to and they were never left in a place that was uncomfortable for them. If they were told something would happen then it did. They were treated as equals and part of a team. There was no discrimination between them and what was given to one was also given to the other.

      This had marvelous effects on their discipline. As they got older they were angels to take shopping or into anyone's home or anywhere else. All I had to do was to hold up my finger and they knew to be quiet or that they were crossing the boundaries. They never threw tantrums around shopping centers or asked for stuff while we were out. That's because I would buy treats and leave them in the cupboard and they would get one after dinner at night.

      They knew too that if they asked for anything while we were out then that was the very thing they would never get. There was a time during the day when we would discuss anything they needed or would like to have. If it fitted into the budget and was considered a fair requirement then it was purchased or acquired the next time we went out.

      From a very early age they were introduced to the public library and we would borrow books and things for their enjoyment. They would go into the library with books under their arms like little students to exchange them. We would look around the shelves and they could select the next lot of stories they would like read to them at bedtime. It worked extremely well.

      As they grew this kind of discipline, which was nothing more than good management and mutual understanding, carried weight when they attended school and later in life. Now it is shining through in their own children. It was a fair while ago now since my first baby was born but I remember it like it was yesterday, and sometimes I wish it were yesterday for I miss those beautiful baby cuddles and the smell of their presence.

      School holidays were especially joyful to me and we always did special things during that time. So make time to enjoy your children for before you know it they are packing their gear to take off and live their own lives. That's when the emptiness and longing for things to be as they were sets in. You can't stop that but you can take comfort in knowing that you did your best at the time.

      Every Baby Needs a Cot

      Kalani 4-In-1 Convertible Crib
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      Still images from Dreamstime - click here

      © 2009 norma-holt

      Please leave a comment - Did you like this lens

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        • profile image

          Toy-Tester 4 years ago

          Thank you for the big smiles in the morning.

        • norma-holt profile image
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          norma-holt 4 years ago

          @anonymous: Thank you dear sweet one. Hugs

        • norma-holt profile image
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          norma-holt 4 years ago

          @anonymous: Your comment brought tears to my eyes and the Spirit was blessing me and you all over. Hope you felt it too, Hugs.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          ....and pinned....that's something new for me.

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I was carrying this in my heart and had to return to FB like....

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          How beautifully tell your story of raising your children, I can't say that I had the awareness you had and made some mistakes along the way. Your children have seen this I hope, they have a rich heritage and were blessed to be parented with such a harmony. I love your thought of them being little apprentices and I'm sure the success they've had in their lives have much to do with you. I got such a kick out of the story of when your husband was late one day...out of the mouths of babes! So very blessed!

        • takkhisa profile image

          Takkhis 4 years ago

          Very much informative and truly enjoyed reading this lens. Blessed!

        • ajgodinho profile image

          Anthony Godinho 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          This is such a wonderful and informative lens which has a wealth of valuable firsthand experience. Your children were definitely blessed to have a loving and caring mother like you. Kids are precious indeed. It's amazing how time flies, eh? Stay blessed, you and your family!

        • LiliLove profile image

          LiliLove 4 years ago

          I really enjoyed your wonderful story! Thanks for sharing. *Hugs*

        • norma-holt profile image
          Author

          norma-holt 4 years ago

          @Sonia DB: Glad you liked this lens and thank you for visiting. Hugs

        • Sonia DB profile image

          Sonia DB 4 years ago

          I love this lens, thank you for the wonderful advice and heartwarming stories.

        • Andy-Po profile image

          Andy 4 years ago from London, England

          Excellent and informative lens. My two kids are two and a half and 9 weeks old.

        • Mamabyrd profile image

          Mamabyrd 4 years ago

          Your lens really touched my heart. I have three small children. I have two 3 year olds and a 7 month old. Somedays... I want to hide in the bathroom but time is passing so quickly. They are so funny at this age. I know I am really going to miss these years when they grow up. Thank you for sharing your wonder story and tips.

        • norma-holt profile image
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          norma-holt 4 years ago

          @Mamabyrd: So pleased you enjoyed it, Hugs

        • norma-holt profile image
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          norma-holt 4 years ago

          @Lady Lorelei: Thank you. So nice to get lovely feed back. Hugs

        • Lady Lorelei profile image

          Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

          Loved every minute of your children's formative years. Parenting really is a labor of love.

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          SteveKaye 4 years ago

          Wonderful article. Everyone who plans to have children should read this. Thank you for publishing it.

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          VeronicaHaynes 4 years ago

          What a wonderful lens and so appreciate the resource of related links. I have worked as an educator with little ones and parents in a wide range of programs over the years, from struggling teen moms to upper class private schools, and I have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude for parents and their hard work. Such great stories about communicating with your kids, helping them understand if they had done something wrong with encouragement and following through on consequences. Wonderful stories and great reminders for the classroom, especially when managing 16 little ones. I look forward to checking out some of your suggested lenses. Much thanks!

        • maryLuu profile image

          maryLuu 4 years ago

          Lovely lens! Thank you

        • ChrisDay LM profile image

          ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

          As you say, these formative years are desperately important. Values for a lifetime are built in at this stage and future patterns of thought and emotion may also be deeply affected by the love and nurture provided at this time.

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          Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

          nicely done - angel blessed and featured on my angel blessed in may lens

        • LisaAuch1 profile image

          Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

          Wonderful, and will make a fantastic feature on my Baby Food page! Thankyou

        • darciefrench lm profile image

          darciefrench lm 6 years ago

          Beautiful story of how all children could be raised with love and happiness.

        • nightbear lm profile image

          nightbear lm 6 years ago

          Very wonderful lens, I really enjoyed it.

        • Wednesday-Elf profile image

          Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

          Thanks for the lovely features, skiesgreen. Lensrolling this story back to mine. :)

        • hayleylou lm profile image

          hayleylou lm 6 years ago

          **Blessed** and featured on My Time as a Squid Angel :)

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          benkquick 6 years ago

          Love the lens thanks for sharing good stuff all over it

          baby cribs for sale

        • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

          MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

          My grandson is an all American boy. However, my daughter and his father also are raising him and his brand new sister, in the ways of his South American grandparents. I look at their older cousins and I am very glad.

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          moonlitta 6 years ago

          hm...talk about grandparents spoiling your kid! Mine live together...it's a terrible stressor to me:) Cngrats on that purple star of yours, just found the thread in the Giants forum!

        • snazzy lm profile image

          snazzy lm 6 years ago

          I really enjoyed reading your lens, I have tears in my eyes right now:-) It is beautiful to see your love for your children and grandchildren. As a mother "in the thick of things" right now with a 7 year old, 4 year old and 9 month old, it is good to be reminded that these years will be gone all too soon and I need to enjoy them while they are here!

        • LouisaDembul profile image

          LouisaDembul 6 years ago

          I had the same feeling as you when holding my first baby in my arms (actually they put her on my stomach the second she was born!). A love that is so deep and strong you can almost touch it! I have lensrollled this to my lens on Pros and cons of having children!

        • sheilamarie78 profile image

          sheilamarie78 6 years ago

          Great lens! Thanks for including my recycledmilkcartons lens!

        • SpellOutloud profile image

          SpellOutloud 6 years ago

          Thank you for including my I Spy lens. I enjoyed reading this. :)

        • Senora M profile image

          Senora M 6 years ago

          great lens! lots of great information here!!

        • Wednesday-Elf profile image

          Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

          What a darling and loving family you have. Thanks so much for sharing your children with us, and the love for them you feel as their mother. You have some very sound parenting advice here.

          Thanks very much for featuring two of my lenses on this lovely lens. Am lensrolling this one to both of mine.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Wonderful lens. One of the toughest things about parenting is when you share responsibilities of parenting with a spouse or ex-spouse. Of course, there is no way to agree on everything. But how we resolve the differences and tolerate those we can not solve is where the proverbial rubber meets the road.

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          RebeccaE 6 years ago

          this is an awesome lens, shows me that yes there is hope in raising kids, and yes my kids know mommy does make mistakes but that they are loved.

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          macmcrae 7 years ago

          This is a beautiful lens, spoken from the heart and to the heart. Thank you for sharing your memories xx

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          What a very lovely lens! It's beautiful and it's a joy to read ~ sometimes I even thought, "I wish MY mom had done that!" Very well done, I'm so impressed I'm even nominating it for LOTD ~ good luck!

        • JanieceTobey profile image

          JanieceTobey 7 years ago

          I very much enjoyed reading your lens on parenting tips! You've got some great suggestions here! Thanks for featuring my Spiritual Pregnancy lens here as well!

        • yourselfempowered profile image

          Odille Rault 7 years ago from Gloucester

          What a great amount of excellent information! Wonderful value!

        • jennysue19 profile image

          jennysue19 7 years ago

          There's something you don't say here. Having children is just as much a career choice as anything else. You wouldn't go into any other profession or vocation unless you felt it was really right for you. I didn't, so I didn't choose to have children but have been constantly criticised for that choice, called selfish and worse. Children are not a fashion accessory and becoming a parent should not be something that just happens without a lot of planning and consideration. If a woman becomes pregnant by accident or horror of horrors, as a result of abuse or rape, she should have the absolute right to terminate the pregnancy without any interference from do-gooders and those trying to impose their beliefs on others. I have friends who were born late in their parents' marriage and were told frankly that they were an 'accident'. They have carried that feeling of rejection and resentment into adult life, a terrible weight to have to carry. Our world is over-populated already and running out of resources. Can we not strive to ensure that EVERY child is truly wanted and planned for, and to do what we can to help those that are born, so that they don't die in childhood of starvation and preventable diseases, and that women in every country have free access to contraceptive and childcare advice.

        • noxid25 profile image

          noxid25 7 years ago

          This is a very nice lens with great parenting tips! Children are truly miracles! Thank you for featuring my lense. Lens rolled to mine in return and 5 stars!

        • SoyCandleLover profile image

          BW Duerr 7 years ago from Henrietta, New York

          First of all I'm in love with your children. :D Wonderful stories with great advice.Thanks so much for stopping by and featuring my lens here. I returned the favor by lensrolling and added to featured lenses as well. Thanks so much for sharing.

        • luvmyludwig lm profile image

          luvmyludwig lm 7 years ago

          great job. I love the way you mix personal stories and tips for new parents.

        • mysticmama lm profile image

          Bambi Watson 7 years ago

          A lovely personal parenting story!

        • profile image

          ToniCorset 7 years ago

          Beautiful and heartfelt, thanks for sharing!