Yesterday, I wrote these little parenting tips based on my vast experience in parenting non-success
. And it’s not because I think I am a wicked smart parent. There’s too much evidence to the contrary for me to even try to believe that. 😎 I shared them simply because I wish someone had told me about these lessons before I figured the little nuggets out on my own (usually too late to use them).
After I hit publish, more ideas came to mind. Which is evidence of the number one rule in parenting – you are never really done. 😎
Anyparent, I thought would share some more ideas…
- Your child does not need an orange plastic pumpkin for trick or treating. A pillow case will do just fine. And, by the by, even a small pillow case has a much bigger candy capacity than a large plastic pumpkin. (That will bode well for parents, too.) And, not for nothin’, there is not a single place your house that will work well for storing a large plastic pumpkin for the 364 days, 23 hours and 15 minutes that you will not be needing it. However, a pillow case tucks neatly back into the linen closet.
- I think it is perfectly acceptable for teenagers to trick or treat, as long as they are dressed up and not playing mean pranks on the smaller goblins. Just have them make/buy their own costume. Kids grow up way too fast and if they want to (respectfully) do something childish, let them.
- My kids don’t really like most of the candy they get on Halloween, so we very often donate the massive leftovers to the local hospital, fire/police station, or school office.
- At some point, your children are going to lie to you. Maybe in a little way – maybe in a big way – maybe even in little and big ways – but it’s gonna happen.
- Choosing not to breastfeed does not doom your children to remedial math.
- Having a c-section does not mean you failed as a woman/mother.
- When buying a blanket for your newborn baby, get (at least) two identical blankets. Yes, that is in case you lose/misplace/aliens steal one. Make sure you wash the spare whenever you wash the original so that they “feel” the same. You will thank me for this later. I promise. There is not a parent on this planet who can keep track of a baby’s blanket 24/7 for the number of years required to never have a special blankie go missing at exactly the worst possible moment for said blankie to go missing.
- When you take your children to the grocery store (which you absolutely should do every now and then – even though it is easier not to), let them pick out just one thing. If they ask for something else, tell them they can have it but they have to put their other choice back. This is an invaluable lesson in not getting everything and making choices. When you are feeling really cocky, give them a spending limit. A relatively low spending limit.
- When they are old enough, make your kids pay for some of their own things. It is amazing how quickly desires weaken when they are attached to the child’s own wallet.
- If another parent or a teacher or a church leader has something not so fabulous to say about your child, listen to what they have to say. You do not have to agree with them. You do not have to like what they have to say. You don’t have to invite them over for dinner. But if another adult takes the time and energy to invest in helping your child, at least listen. Approaching a mama bear about her cub is dangerous business and if someone is willing to put him/herself out there, you should at least be receptive to hearing (and then digesting) what they have to say.
- Having said that, no one knows your child as well as you do. If you believe that your child needs something, do not be afraid to ask for it. You will ultimately be your child’s biggest critic and but you must also be his/her biggest advocate. It is a tricky balance but you are best suited for it. And no one else is going to do it for you.
- When your child talks to you, stop what you are doing and look them in the eyes and listen – just as you want them to do for you.
- Teach your children the difference between emergencies – “the world is ending” is not the same as “I stubbed my toe”. Patience really is a virtue. And teaching your child to not interrupt adult conversations just because they want to, is a gift that will last them a lifetime. (And when you figure out the magic trick on this one, please share.)
- Bandaid baskets are magical. Always have one at the ready. Nothing makes a child feel better than having a boo boo taken seriously. Let your child sit on the counter so s/he is face-to-face with you and go all Florence Nightengale on his/her scratches. The bandaids will mend the scrapes – the attention will mend everything else. Sometimes the boo boo doesn’t really hurt that bad, but your child just might need a break from the chaos that caused it.
- Just because you can, does not mean you should. Sometimes parents should just make do when making do is good enough. Not everything has to be bigger and better and more sparkly. There is tremendous value in being happy with what you already have vs. always getting everything else you want.
And that is enough of what I have learned. If you have more to share, please do!