There are 2 essential questions everyone should ask themselves before having kids, psychologist says

Before having kids, Pressman says you should ask yourself two questions: "What do I value?" and "What does this family value?"

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There are lots of practical considerations discussed prior to having kids: How much time will I need to take off work? Can my family help with childcare? How much will the actual birth cost

Knowing these answers is important, but just because you are financially prepared to have a baby doesn't mean you are emotionally ready, says Aliza Pressman, a developmental psychologist, co-founder of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center, and author of the upcoming book "The 5 Principles of Parenting: Your Essential Guide to Raising Good Humans."

Before having kids, Pressman says you should ask yourself two questions: "What do I value?" and "What does this family value?"

"When we don't define our values, we and our children are much more susceptible to peer pressure, social media influence, and the extremes of group thinking," Pressman says. "With clear values, we can make decisions with more confidence and clarity." 

Here's how to narrow down what your values are and figure out what role you want them to play in your kids' lives: 

1. Write down your priorities

Spend a couple days brainstorming what you want to prioritize in your family. If you have a partner, ask them to do the same. 

"Do you admire hard work above all else," Pressman says. "Kindness? Intelligence? There are truly no wrong answers here, and that's the reason there is no one-size-fits-all in parenting." 

If you're having trouble identifying your values, Pressman offers up some questions that can guide you: 

  • Think about a big choice you made in your life. What drove you to make that choice? 
  • Think also about three people you admire. What do you appreciate about them? 
  • How do you want your children to describe you when they're talking about you to their great-grandchildren? 

Write down everything you come up with.

"For some, focusing on three to five values will feel straightforward, but if the exercise sparks a lot of ideas, go with it," Pressman says. "Make a long list. Fill a whole page in your journal, if you can."

2. Find themes

Many of the values you list might draw from the same concepts. Let's say you value, for example, traveling and going to restaurants. An overarching theme here might be that you want your kids to be autonomous and open to new experiences. 

"Maybe when you mentioned money, you can see that on a deeper level you value comfort or ease," Pressman says. "If so, name those underlying values." 

Write down these concepts and decide whether you're in a place to raise kids based on these values right now. 

Remember, as your child grows and changes, your values might, too.

"Family values can evolve over time, so we're not talking about setting anything in stone," Pressman says. "We're just talking about creating guidelines that make sense to us in a world full of noisy and often conflicting opinions." 

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