Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Parenting 101

There are so many things I want for my sweet children. Laughter, friends, excitement, love... At the top of my list is great parents. I want them to have the best parents in the world. Parents who can teach them that being who they are is better than trying to fit themselves into someone else's mold.Photo by Jessica Hills Photography
Some days I wish I could steal the scripts for Amy and Allan Matthews from Boy Meets World so I'd have a guide to follow. But I don't have a team of writers who write and re-write the scenes of my life. So what makes a good parent? Here's what I came up with.

Above all, let them know that you love them no matter what. I want them to know that there is nothing they could do that would make me love them with any less than my entire heart.

Give them rules to follow.
And consequences for the times they don't. I often worry that Wes, my 2 year old, will forever resent me for the hours he spends in time out each week. My heart breaks at the sight of his tears. I hope that one day he'll have kids and finally realize how hard it was for me to make him sad.

Make them feel safe.
At the moment Wes's greatest fear is the old lady from Tangled (the new disney movie about Rapunzel), well, lets make that ALL show with old ladies in them. He's terrified of them, I'm not really sure why. But I do my best to reassure him that they're only pictures, and they can't hurt him.

Put them first. It sounds like common sense, but it's amazing how easy it is to put the kids needs on the back burner sometimes. Especially if I'm halfway through the latest and greatest young adult novel.

Be an example they can look to.
I have been found guilty time and time again of being a bad example. I can't tell you how many times I've screamed at Wes to stop yelling. A little ironic, no?

Let them make mistakes. I think this is one of the hardest ones. I always want my kids to have every advantage, and to not feel unprepared. But what I need to remember is that part of preparing them is letting them figure things out for themselves. They can't gain confidence in themselves if they never get the chance to accomplish something solo.

Take an interest in their interests.
So no, it's not terribly exciting to play in a dark room with a flashlight all day, but the bottom line is that it's important to him.

Listen to what they say, and pay attention to what they do.
Wes has a habit of saying yes to whatever you ask him, so you never really know what really happened. 'Wes, did you hit Scarlett?' ...'Yes' So I'm sure he's received some unjust punishments, and sometimes you can tell from how he reacts. Like I learned on Hitch, "90% of what you're saying, ain't coming out of your mouth." So pay attention.
Teach them to laugh.
One thing that I learned from both of my parents was to not take myself too seriously. I learned it was ok to laugh and move on when something ridiculous happened. I think it's safe to say it was one of the most important lessons I ever learned.

I'm sure there are dozens of other things a great parent show know, but I'm hoping this is a good start. If you have any ideas for me, I'd love to hear them.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the reminder to laugh! much needed right now.



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