This is a headline that I can’t follow through on. I don’t know everything about parenting. I didn’t read any books or watch YouTube videos like I do when I need to fix a computer or learn how to use my old film cameras. And I’m fighting the urge to enter this headline into a YouTube search to see if someone has made such a claim.
Part of me doesn’t want all the answers, because lessons stick when you figure out the answer yourself. Oops, I stumbled into a parenting tip.
1. Let your kids figure out the answers on their own.
If they start crying, give ’em a hint.
As I now have one teenager as a roommate (who actually reads this blog), I am occasionally been made to feel like I have no idea what I’m talking about. I get that perplexed look. I’m okay with being framed that way sometimes. I understand what number one means toward independence. That being said, there are times when I say this phrase to my loin fruit; “THIS is advice you need to listen to”
2. Tell your kids when you’re giving them good advice. And show some understanding if they don’t listen to you pretty much every other time you speak to them.
This leads me to something related that I’m working on. I’ve been pretty good about it as a parent. And doing so is a reaction and not a solution. I’m still working on that.
3. It’s rarely a good idea to yell at your kids, but it’s always fine to apologize to them when you do.
I don’t think you have to fear losing respect and then losing ‘the dressing room’, if you find yourself best served back-pedalling to an apology with your kids. It doesn’t show weakness. In fact, I think it does the opposite. Kids are stubborn. Lots of adults are too. But if you can teach your kids that there’s a positive reaction when you act like a jerk, you’ll make them less stubborn adults. Humility is a quality that will serve your kids for their entire lives.
4. Explain your reasons. And you don’t have to explain your damn reasons.
I get asked why a lot. Not the good whys, like ‘why are donuts awesome?’ or ‘Why did Darth Vader chop off Luke Skywalker’s hand?’ My kids ask me daily why I’m telling them to do the things I want them to do. Like why can’t they have more screen time, or why can’t they have just 5 more minutes of school-day sleep. I get frustrated because I know the answers. And I’m pretty effing sure I’ve given the same answer to those questions many times. While I will have the discussion if a reminder is necessary, this generally becomes loudly circular around the same question until I’m forced to put a stop to it. Because I’m also totally comfortable with the hammer-dropping dad-answers that hover near “Because I said so”, “This isn’t a debate. Save your breath” and “Donuts are awesome because it’s cake dough or even a raised dough made with yeast, that’s deep-fried and often glazed with a mixture of vanilla, water and icing sugar”.
I don’t take pleasure in ending discussions with I-told-you-so’s but it is a way to find relief after your small, inquisitive roommates become relentless. More relentless than Boba Fett. Though that guy, the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, died by falling into a pit. Sad.
The next chapter in Everything There Is To Know About Parenting will conclude with number 5, Will My Kid Make The NHL? The answer is, no chance, plus you don’t want them appearing in one of those Road To The Cup shows where they just stare pensively out of a chartered airplane window or ponder pickles.