As the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” For many couples, expecting a child can be a nerve racking experience, but it ultimately ends joyous. Prior to and after having a child, many new parents look to their parents, family, friends, other new parents and books to figure out how to raise their new bundle of joy. They even have a phone app to assist you in raising your child. (see: http://www.newparent.com/you/best-iphone-apps-for-new-parents/). No matter what you read or the advice you get nothing can prepare you for being a parent until your bundle of joy arrives; however, preplanning for the new addition to your family can help you limit needless stress and conflict. Before Your New Bundle Comes
Before your new bundle of joy arrives, it may be beneficial to consider the following potential issues and reach agreements so that transitions over the first few years of your child’s life are smooth:
1. Who will come over and assist you in the first few months with your newborn? For how long?
2. What religious path will you show your child?
3. How will you discipline your child? Are both of you on the same page?
4. Will someone stay home and raise your child? Should you look at daycare or a relative to assist? (see the latest cost of raising a child: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/25/the-cost-of-raising-a-child/)
5. What type of school will your child attend? Religious, public, home school?
6. Should you start a college fund right away?
Remember as parents that your child is an individual and he/she will have his/her own personality. Your child will have likes and dislikes and some of those characteristics will be like you and your spouse and others may not. One of the things new parents should realize is that raising a child is a learning experience, and you will not get everything the first time around but being there and trying your best will pay dividends in the end.
Not only is it important to have the lines of communication open between you and your spouse, but it is just as important to have a game plan on issues like the above. Your child will need both of you in his/her life and the law in the state of Florida expects and promotes such equal involvement.