Parenting is tricky…
You don’t want to be overbearing to your kids… but you want to reinforce that YOU are the parent and they can learn life lessons from you.
These parents (and kids) shared advice that they got from their parents that has made a lot of difference.
1. Secrets aren’t cool
If anyone ever tells them, “This will be our little secret,” especially if it involves physical contact, my child needs to get as far away from that person ASAP, find a trusted adult, and contact me.
My child will know they will not be in trouble for telling and I will always believe them.
2. Looking out for more than #1
Look out for the smaller kids on the playground, kindness is free so make sure to use it.
Part of our routine is asking who he was nice to that day. Now that I’m doing daycare drop off, I ask who he can be nice to and sometimes offer suggestions on nice things to do.
3. Self defense is okay
If someone is harming you, I don’t care what the school says you are free to defend yourself.
I will not ever ground or be upset with you using self defense.
4. The name game
The proper terminology for their genitals.
Other adults aren’t always going to know what your kid means when they say “someone played with my monkey or my tutu,” and predators aren’t going to call them by the proper names either, so it’s another deterrent for abuse to occur.
Vagina, Penis, Vulva, Testicles- these are not dirty words people.
5. When you don’t want to do something
Express that it’s ok to feel uncomfortable and not want to do something.
I saw a post where a mother taught her daughter to say hello but if she didn’t want a hug or a kiss on the cheek she was never forced to do so. If the kid felt comfortable she would do it. Expressing that this is ok seems pretty important IMO.
6. Your opinion is valued
‘I appreciate your input. You won’t always be right and what you say won’t always change my mind but I still value your opinion.’
Communicate with your kid, most of the time you will know better than they will but at least listen to what they have to say. Remember to also keep an open mind and be willing to compromise.
7. There to catch you
You will always be my child, and I’ll always want to take care of you, but you have the right to ask me to let go when you feel the time is right.
If you try to make it on your own but fall, call me anyway.
I want to be there to catch you.
8. This got dark!
“The world is a fu**ed up place.
People are going to hate you for the sake of hating you, and spit on you for what you believe.
What I want you to know is I’ll always support you.
And I’ll never be disappointed in what you do with your life as long as you love it” ~ My dad
9. Surprises over secrets
I tell my daughter “we never keep secrets, only surprises” and also “don’t ever lie to me because I trust you, I swear to always believe you” and finally “Stop means STOP no matter who you are or where you are.”
She’s only four but whatever, she needs to know this from day one!
10. That’s adorbs!
If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.
11. Growing from mistakes
It’s alright to make a mistake, as long as you can admit it and grow from it.
I teach little kids, and I tell them often that they HAVE to make mistakes to learn. I emphasize that the learning happens when we find and fix our mistakes. And when I make a mistake in front of them, I acknowledge it – and they encourage me. “Good job, Mrs. Rhymes, you helped your brain grow!”
I get so much satisfaction out of being the teacher I wish I had had.
12. Two very important things to hear.
“Be kind. You never know what someone might be going through” and “I love you”
13. Prouder and prouder
My dad never really ever said he was proud of me. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great and loving dad and he was always supportive, but he never really said I Love You or I’m Proud of you.
I will always remember when I was 20, I had just graduated and got a decent paying job in my field and I called him to tell him. He ended the conversation with “Well, congrats. I love you son and I’m proud of you for getting this job.” I just remember hanging up the phone and sitting on my bed and crying for a good long while because that was the first time I had ever heard him say those two things.
14. What does love really mean?
My dad once told me “I don’t just love you because you’re my daughter, I love you as a person, and I’d love you if we were strangers who just randomly met, because you’re a good and interesting person all on your own terms. Not everyone gets to feel that way about their kids, but I do, and I’m grateful.”
I cried for the rest of the day. I was just laid flat by that, and it was such an amazing unique thing to hear. I think parents should say that, because it means so much and so few kids get to hear anything like it.
15. Apology accepted
Spouse taught our family there are two responses for an apology “Thank you for your apology.” and “You don’t need to apologize.”
In the first instance it removes the feelings of the offended from needing to feel like granting forgiveness and instead simply acknowledges their apology.
The second is there to provide feedback in case they apologize unnecessarily.
I think it has been valuable in teaching the kiddo when an apology is appropriate. Hopefully they take that lesson when they go out into the world and not be someone who always thinks they did something wrong and is apologizing constantly.
It’s also that you thank them for the apology and then thats it. Not ‘Thank you but next time or Thank you but you made me feel…’. It’s finished.
You are also not there to do detective work trying to decide if they really meant it or not, just say thanks and move on.
16. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
“I don’t care if you get too drunk at a party as long as you tell me and I can pick you up. I won’t yell, I won’t punish you, as long as you are responsible and it doesn’t happen all the time.”
In my opinion teaching your kids it’s okay to be a bit rebellious, make mistakes, and live their life in their teens is a good thing to do. I never had a reason to not trust my mom because of this. Ofc I got consequences for some things, but if I ever made a mistake and needed her, she was there.
17. Everybody’s wrong
Admitting they can be wrong sometimes. Parents are humans and make mistakes. Kids need to see that.
My manager was momentarily irresponsible with a bit of machinery which i work with daily, and i told him that he shouldn’t use it the way he was trying to use it. He snapped back at me and said “I’m the health and safety officer for this building so if i decide it’s okay, it’s okay”. I disagreed, and he said “Then we’ll have to agree to disagree!!”. I disagreed further and told him that i cannot let this argument end on us agreeing to disagree: he had to understand that if i’m not comfortable using equipment as it wasn’t intended – equipment that only he and i are qualified to use – i’m not going to use that equipment.
He was most upset.
Later, maybe after thirty minutes or so, after he’d left me to finish up on my own as i’d asked, he came back to my work station and without pausing or breaking the ice he said jumped straight to: “I need to apologize to you. You’re right. I should not ask you to [use equipment in a way other than intended] and i’m sorry for doing that.” I told him i really appreciated that. I know he meant well – he was trying to save me some time – but either one of us could have lost a hand.
18. Ask for help pls
If you make a mistake and need help, come to me.
Kids tend to make bad situations worse by trying not to get caught.
I know way too many people who got in drunk driving accidents because they were too afraid to call their parents for help and drove home or got in the car with a drunk driver.
19. Different secrets
There are good secrets and bad secrets.
Bad secrets that make you feel unhappy don’t need to be kept a secret. You either can tell me, grandma, or your teacher, and we all will work together to make that secret go away so you can feel happy again.
You will NEVER EVER be in trouble for telling about a secret that makes you feel bad”
20. This is REALLY important
Whenever another kid is being mean to them, physically or verbally, don’t tell your child that the other kid was being mean to them because they like your child.
Your child might grow up mistaking abuse for affection.
21. Gender differences
If he’s at school or whatever and a girl is physically attacking him then it’s ok to use physical self defense. As long as it’s reasonable self defence then we will never punish him for using it in the correct scenario. (Obviously de-escalating is the first port of call.)
Oh, also! It’s ok to walk away! It doesn’t make you less of a man to walk away from a fight if you can, and walking away should always be a first resort. Then try to de-escalate if you can’t walk away.
Then use physical self defense reasonably.
22. Go home kid!
“Childhood is like being drunk. Everyone remembers what you did except you. So be careful.” – My dad.
23. Three little lines
“You don’t have to earn my love. Nothing you do will ever make me love you any less. I will ALWAYS love you, no matter what.”
I say these three lines to my kids so often!
24. Learning from your mistakes
It’s alright to fail, as long as you pick yourself back up and learn something from it.
And that you still love them no matter their grades and their beliefs.
At least that’s what I wanted to hear from my parents.
25. No means no
I’ve talked about consent very early with my kids (they’re 4 and 7 now), and it’s honestly super easy to explain and demonstrate in an age appropriate way.
My 4 year old loves being tickled, finds it absolutely hilarious. So we have tickle-fests, and I make a point to stop when he’s laughing too hard to talk and ask if he wants me to keep tickling. Toss in a “Okay, I just wanted to make sure you were still having fun! Raaaar, the tickle monster is back!” and boom, now you’re modeling checking in and continuous consent. The second he says no, full stop.
They need to politely greet and say goodbye to people (the host if we’re visiting friends, plus grandparents, etc), but they do not need to allow physical contact that they don’t want. Wave and “bye Ms. X, thanks for having us!”, handshake, etc is fine. Absolutely no guilting from people if they don’t want a hug or whatever.
Both are super affectionate with their friends (and each other), so I’ve had plenty of opportunities to remind them to ask before they hug, just because they wanted to hug/ hold hands/ whatever last time doesn’t mean they do this time and that’s okay, just because that’s your sibling doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, etc.
Basically, it’s not just a one time “no means no” explanation; I feel like modeling it consistently is really important and sometimes gets overlooked a bit.
26. You don’t have to participate
You should not feel like you have to be uncomfortable or forced into something just because someone else wants it.
My grandmother was the worst about demanding things because she wanted them and everyone owed her.
It made me despise her and it made me angry that my mom would just go along with it.
27. The rest of your life.
I’m not a parent but something I wish my parents would of told me before graduation is that, even though I have friends in high school to always have it in the back of my mind that they were going to move on after high school and so was I.
Whatever happens in high school is just a small moment in the timeline of your life. As important as it seems during the time, in the end it really doesn’t matter.
It’s different if it is a big life decision like tests, picking your next level of education, jobs and family matter.
So, have you learned anything you’d tell your kid that you haven’t?
Let us know in the comments! Or let us know some advice you’d give them!
Pls and thank you!