When I became pregnant with my first baby, I was all about the pregnancy books. And then after she was born, my bookshelf grew with parenting books. From feeding to sleeping to managing temper tantrums, I turned to books.
Soon, I learned that the answers weren’t always in the books. And I learned to trust my instincts. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I tried to turn to books again and quickly threw that twin parenting book across the room. I decided, I got this!
As a member of MomsLA, I got the opportunity to read “You’re Perfect…” and Other Lies Parents Tell. And you know what? I actually am getting some useful information from it.
The author is a former criminal prosecutor with the District Attorney’s office in Los Angeles. She’s got real life experience in seeing what happens with kids who make bad decisions and end up facing big consequences. She has a lot to say about what she witnessed and where parents have influence in how these kids got there. She gives sound advice on what to do and what not to do.
Here are just a few of the things that I hope to instill with my children.
1. Placing an importance on intrinsic values, such as self-acceptance and community, rather than on extrinsic values, such as money and fame.
This is one of the things we thing about most. With having our twins in “show business,” this is something Marco and I have talked about often. Just how much do we want them to be involved in the “industry?” There’s a definitely a line we don’t want to cross. It’s evident in the way many child stars have grown up. Right now, they’re 2 years old. It’s a nice thing to do with them. Save a little money for them for college. Have a digital scrapbook of sorts. And yes, be involved in one of my favorite tv shows. But do we want them to do this forever? Making sure we value the things that matter is always at the forefront of our minds.
2. There’s a fine line to punishment and discipline.
She points out that it takes five positive comments to make up for one negative comment. With four girls in the house, it can get quite hectic. Some days, it seems like I’m always saying, don’t do that. Or do this. Or why can’t you listen? Or you need to finish your homework or you can’t watch tv. Or the big ones, “Time out” and “You’re grounded.” Marco and I really try to balance all of that with positive reinforcement. And this was a good reminder of just how important that is. Creating positive and loving people through making moments count. Balancing out the expectations and consequences with praise and loving arms. And being worn out from a day of work and dealing with life’s challenges is no excuse for forgetting to tell your kids you’re proud of what they’ve done.
In the digital age and especially as social media junkies, we are never far from our phones. Our laptops as well. And even though it may not seem important to hear about how “Amy told on Susie and it wasn’t fair because Susie wasn’t the one and it was really Joseph” and other related elementary school happenings… it’s important to let the girls know we are listening to Them. Because sooner than later, they’ll get to the age where they might not be as forthcoming. Especially if they feel like we never listen anyway. So really, Lex, put the phone down and pay attention to how “the book fair is opening this week and they want this and this and this and that…” or whatever it is they might have to say.
I’m still reading it and will be passing it on to Marco next. Because our instincts are great. But I’ll bet those parents of kids who found themselves facing felony charges also thought their instincts were great too.