People who know my daughter always tell me the same thing, “I hope my kid is that cool one day.” In all honesty, even though it might seem biased coming from me, she is a pretty cool kid. When I say this I don’t just mean it in the sense that she’s “cool” (even though she is) I mean it in the sense that I’ve never had any really huge issues with her. She’s always been respectful and has always been mature when the situation requires her to be so.
If we’re out just the two of us or at home, we tend to be huge goofballs and if her dad is home we tend to gang up on him like a pair of monkeys. We have a weirdness all our own that links us together. Quite often her friends upon meeting me for the first time, will hang out for a while and then she’ll get the, “Now I see where you get it from,” with a chuckle from her friends. Likewise friends and acquaintances of mine never fail to mention how she is my perfect mini.
Now, how did I manage to get so lucky? Well, while I like to say I got lucky it also took work. For me there has always been one rule that I have always held as the golden rule when it comes to parenting in my house:
#1: Always be open and honest with your kids.
If your kids ask you something try to be as honest as the situation permits. For instance, when my daughter was eight she asked me the question that we all get at one point: “Where do babies come from?’ I had a choice: I could spin the tale of the stork or I could tell her the truth. I decided to go with the later. So it was that while in line at the drive-thru at a KFC I explained to my daughter that women had eggs and men had sperm, which resembled tadpoles like the ones in her story book of the Frog and the Toad (but that’s a story for another time). Once I was done, she, a) had a better understanding of why girls and boys had differing anatomy and their functions and b) she thought that sex was pretty gross. I looked at both as being good outcomes of our conversations.
Some people might think that that type of information might have been a bit much for a child of that age, but with shows like 16 and pregnant and Teen Mom going past first seasons… I feel that it’s better to inform our kids than letting them find out too late. Being so open with my daughter has created a relationship where she has felt comfortable in telling me things that may have otherwise made her uncomfortable. Now don’t get the wrong idea though, this is not the type of relationship where she thinks I’m her best friend or treats me like a sister. At the end of the day, I always have made it clear that while I will always be the best friend she can ever have, first and foremost, I am her mother and that outweighs anything else. As such while we goof around and have fun, she has always held a healthy level of respect in the way she interacts with me.
When it comes to raising kids there’s no guidebook with step-by-step full-proof instructions for raising the perfect kid, which by the way there is no such thing as, but this has worked for me.