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There's no manual on having kids.  That's one of the first things I remember being told after we first became parents.  That was over eight years ago, but the words still ring true.  I'm sure I'm not the only parent that often feels like a manual would sure come in handy.  Though one doesn't exist, there are some truths that I've learned.  Here are things you learn after having kids that I bet ring true for many out there.

You'll Parent Like You Were Parented

Nobody is an exact replica of their parents.  But, on many occasions I've seen my parents come through in what I do.  My wife has pointed out the same thing.  While we all end up with our own unique styles, our parents have influence on this.

You'll Learn While Teaching

One of our primary jobs as parents is to teach our children.  We need to make sure they're prepared to face the world.  I've learned that as we do this with our kids, I learn from them.  Until you're a parent, you often don't question how thoughts and emotions develop.  Watching this develop is a true learning process.

You Often Feel Like A Huge Failure

image from Morguefile courtesy of DodgertonSkillhause

Things are going to go wrong.  Your kids will have bad days.  You'll have bad days.  Or moments.  Sometimes things will fall apart, with or without reason.  You're going to blame yourself.  You're going to take it personally.  When someone tells you not to do these things, you'll do them anyways.

The good news is that you'll get through it.

Your Relationship With Your Significant Other Will Change

Before you're a parent, it's just the two of you. That all changes the second your baby is born.  Not only does it change right then, your relationship will continue to evolve.  I'm guessing that process might slow down, but will forever evolve.

You'll Feel Physical Pain For Them

When you first hold your baby, you'll promise them that you'll never let anything hurt them.  But the world will hurt them. They'll have physical pain and emotional pain.  As a parent, you'll suffer with them. Your heart will physically hurt when their heart is breaking.  It sucks, but it shows you're looking out for them in ways that only parents can.

Time Really Does Move Faster

Everybody always says that time seems to move faster when you're a parent.  Guess what?  It's completely true.  From my  estimation, time as a parent moves twice as fast as what the child experiences.  Don't think it's cliche when someone tells you to cherish moments.

The Best Way To Teach Is By Example

Going back to an earlier point, we need to teach our kids.  The thing about it is that they'll learn many life lessons from your actions.  You can't tell a child not to yell but then fight with your spouse regularly.  It won't work if you admonish a child for a messy room if the house is in shambles.  Kids learn by watching.  They watch their parents.

Kids Need You To Listen

As a parent, you want to impart the wisdom that you have onto your kids.  This is a noble intention, and it sometimes works.  But, every so often, you just need to shut up and listen.  Sometimes kids come to you not looking for an answer.  Be that person when they need you to be.

Kids Know When You Aren't Listening

In this day in age, it's easy to get distracted.  Phones.  TVs.  Tablets.  They all take you away from what's in front of you.  Kids will learn quicker than you think that if you're paying attention to those things, you're not giving them your full attention.  Nobody likes to be patronized.  Not even kids.

Sometimes It's Important To Play

Kids love to play.  At a young age, play time is their job.  They learn how things work.  They figure out relationships.  Social cues are learned.  And, every so often, they need you to play with them.  Every once in a while when my kids are playing, I'll ask “Can I play?”  So far, they haven't told me know.  And, so far I've always been happy I asked.

Readers, what lessons have you learned from having kids?  How do the ones above strike you?