Cardinal Rules of Parenting

I have certain rules of parenting that keep me looking like I know what I am doing  when clearly I do not. These rules keep me looking like a heavy weight champion of the parenting world. They are really random but after watching my own kids thrive, I thought I’d share.

Buy more than you’re selling. I try to give as little info as possible  because there is nothing worst than hyping a kid up then not being able to deliver. Kids deal in fantasy, so even the smallest description becomes twisted and gargantuan in their little warped minds. The more I say, the crazier the conversion to something more spectacular than I can pull off on my limited budgets. So, everything–every well thought out little thing–is a pleasant surprise.

If you said it, do it. Reneging is like… Well, it is lying. And my daughters remember everything you promise. If you know that the chance of you actually pulling something off is small or the chance of you changing your mind is huge, DO NOT COMMIT to doing it. Just say no, and if you are able to convert you come off looking like a fantastic parent. And kids learn the valuable lesson of hoping for the best preparing for the worst, and making the best of every situation.

No baby talk in these streets.  I have never talked baby talk to my kids. I have ever talked down to my kids. Even as infants, I spoke in clear direct sentences.  Working vocabulary is a huge indicator of sucess in readingin particular and school in general. My kids rock with a ridiculous vocabulary and high comprehension levels–and I never bought a single Baby Einstein video or any of those other well intentioned programs. I just talk to them using real words. Still do–all kinds of things we talk about and define words and stuff.

Hard Work has never killed anyone. At ages 7 and 9, my kids can clean a whole house as good as any average adult. Spotless? Nope. But they get the idea. And having responsibiliy even at this age is teaching them something school never will: discipline in the face of doing stuff you have to do but don’t want to do. Because that is adult life–doing crap you don’t feel like doing but need to do. Hard working becomes a default setting; then when you add faith and talent, you got a winner.

Perfection is impractical; excellence is everything. I USED to be a perfectionist. Then I had kids and near bout lost my mind trying to do the impossible. When I finally reset in my spirit, I realized that perfection never makes anyone happy but doing my personal best always felt good. So that is what I teach my kids. Personal best? I will always support that. Sometimes a B is worth more than an A in my world if you had to work hard and fight for it. 

Tell kids you love them, you are proud of them, and you expect the best from them. As a child who always only heard my parents tell other people these 3 things, I probably overdo it with my own kids. I make it my business to tell them these things especially when I am angry or disappointed. Because I mean, kids need mercy too, right? They need grace in the face of mistakes and hard times. They need to know that they can never be seperated from your love. 

It is okay to be yourself. Self explanatory, only adding that I explained to them that mommies will try to project what we want onto you because we see your potential and that is neither right nor fair. So be yourself and I promise to dial my zealot back early and often. I think they have both embraced this paradigm and push me to the limits of acceptance; yet, I am happy to report that I see them settling into themselves in a way it took me years to do.

These rules have gotten me great results. Do you have any rules that you live by as a parent?  


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