Carolyn Hax: Dealing with changes kids bring

The Washington PostJuly 1, 2014 

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On being shocked by (or terrified of) the life changes that come with having kids: Everyone having children needs to realistic. Forget maintaining the same level of intimacy and freedom you had when you were childless and both working. Children get in the way of these things, and whether they are worth it or not depends on the individuals and a lot of circumstances that can't be foreseen.

At this point in my life, with my husband dying at a young age and our child being responsible and supportive, I'm really glad I have my child. But nothing guarantees that you end up with an adult son or daughter who truly likes and cares about you. And don't automatically think that what you give up now will be made up in the future.

L.

As a dad who was the primary parent for an infant, I can certainly sympathize with new parents who wish they could take a vacation.

For these new parents, I would suggest a "paradigm shift." That is, not look at their children as an acquisition on their "to do" list, but as a marvelous part of them. Yes, an infant can be boring in the beginning, but if you pay attention, they are constantly learning and interacting with their environment, and the parents are a big part of it. The rewards may not come until decades later when they have their own offspring, but children are teachers of patience.

D.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at washingtonpost.com.

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