Parenting: Nothing is By Accident

Today is my daughter’s 18th Birthday. I am no longer the mother of minor children.

I can’t even express the love I feel for my children – it is too much to put into words.

My daughter is one of the most wonderful and amazing beings I have ever met. Part of me knows it was just because of her DNA and whatever star dust she has in her soul. And some of it is her dad and me.

As a parenting blogger, once more I’ll let you in on my parenting philosophy. Nothing is by accident. I parent deliberately. I parent positively. I parent with love.

First rule – and more or less only rule: Don’t just talk at your kids. Engage your children. Make it a two-way conversation.

If you have one of those pesky and annoying tots who asks, “WHY?” all the time, I know it is tempting to drop them off at Grandma’s house forever or feed them to Goblins, but turn it around and ask, “why do you think? Let’s figure this out.” Then again if it gets really bad tell the child to just cut it out.

We cut the tantrums out of our life early. It was never acceptable. Period. I put them on the couch and told them NEVER AGAIN. The only tantrums that should be in your home are Fritz and the Tantrums.

You can fill your kid’s head with visions of God and Hell. You can yell at them. You can threaten them. You can take stuff away. What worked with us? When there was bad behavior at our house, or stupid behavior we discussed the long term social impact of such behavior. If you act stupid everyone will think you’re stupid. If you do stupid things everyone will think badly of you FOREVER because a reputation is a hard thing to get back once you’ve lost it.

Reputation was a long and difficult talk, but as a parent, you have to do it.

Always keep the lines of communication open with your children. Don’t judge until you’ve listened to them. Also let them know that it is alright to speak up and speak the truth. Often children (more often than not) will tell adults what they think the adult wants to hear. You have to dig to get to the truth. If you keep the lines of communication open then kids will talk. Tell them that it is OK to tell the truth.

Spend time with your kids. That doesn’t mean somebody has to stay home full time. I know a lot of working parents who spend a lot more time, and better time, with their kids than a lot of stay at home parents. Don’t even get me started on this argument that can never be won by either side. It isn’t a contest. Every family is different so get over it.

Anyway, spend good quality time with your kids. Engage with them. Talk with them. Teach them things you love, and in turn let them teach YOU things.

Things to do with your children:

Dance

  • Sing
  • Read
  • Talk
  • Discuss
  • Explore
  • Discover
  • Hug
  • Love
  • Love
  • Love
  • Protect
  • Laugh (do this about a hundred times)
  • Be silly
  • Share
  • Listen
  • Love

How hard is that? Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll thank me for it later. Maybe even sooner than later.

And remember, this is for regular folks too – not just Vampires.

Wow. It has been a wonderful and amazing love filled adventure – and this isn’t the end of it. They might be grown but they’re still my babies – always.

xoxxoox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

What I Give as a Mom

I’ve been a mother without the following: a lot of church, Dr. Who, soccer, tweenkies, parenting books, big mondo strollers, private schools, home schools, Disneyland, hamsters and a spotless house. All of those things are FINE and lovely but just not part of my world.

I have given the following to my children: a strong sense of who they are, self-confidence, a social conscience, a strong set of values, a strong set of morals, curiosity, the love of learning, the ability to make friends, the desire to share, laughter, wit, humor, a strong sense of justice, trust, self-respect, courtesy and grace, good manners, music, love, and more love.

Once upon a time my mother was saying something despairing about my siblings and me. My response was, “You know, it could be worse, you could be Monica Lewinsky’s mother.”

Below is my famous bulleted parenting list. I promise sometime today I’ll post some Vampire stuff (for those who come here for Vampire stuff.)

Juliette’s Ultimate Musings on Parenting

I’m an artist to the core of my soul. I’m a curious collector of oddities (both objects, experiences and people). I read. I discover. I write. I design. I act. I live as I wish (well, I pretend I do). And I use the word “I” a lot, or at least I used to.

Then I met a remarkable man who thought I was funny and a bit odd and a lot sexy and smart and ….I liked him a lot too because he was smart and sexy.

And that would have been fine to have stayed that way…

Until we had a child.

I never knew I could love as much as this. Both the man and the child. I never knew we could love as much.

I never knew what an amazing journey parenthood would be.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we need to encourage them to start.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.

And one more thought… talk WITH your children. Not AT them. Let them have opinions. Listen to them. LISTEN. Then guide them and love them for WANTING to talk with their parents. It works. It really does. Yes, your children will talk to you if they don’t think you’re going to judge them. It is that easy. Give it a try.

Have a good Saturday everyone, and yes, I promise, I’ll post Vampire stuff.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman