Thursday, December 20, 2007

Britney's Mom's Parenting Book???

For those that do not know the latest breaking news . . . Britney Spears' little sister, Jamie Lynn, who is 16, is pregnant. And keeping the baby. This comes to light as Lynn Spears, their mom, is in the midst of writing a parenting book. The publisher's have now postponed the publishing date until ?????

So . . . you think I am going to, as many others are doing, criticize Lynn Spears? Absolutely not! There but for the Grace of God go I. I am not here to criticize other parents. I learned a long time ago with my own parents and siblings that you can do everything "right" as a parent but children/young adults have their own personalities and they make their own mistakes. The good/bad parenting comes in when you try to help them through the mistakes they make.

I think the problem is that a publisher thinks that anyone is qualified to write a parenting book giving other parents advice. Families are not the same. A married couple with 4 children will parent differently than a single dad with 2 children. Every parent makes mistakes raising their children. It would be better to write a book on how NOT to parent. Or to pull a number of parents dealing with different situations and create a collection of stories. Lynn Spears can only talk about her family and what worked or didn't work. But would people listen? Who knows? I cannot relate to her at all as a parent. I read many blogs written by moms. The blogs are about their lives as parents and the moms are funny, sad, challenged, and very successful. I can relate to them even if my children are not the same ages.

So this whole thing got me thinking. Again. If I were to write a parenting book, what would I say? I came up with 3 things, kind of short for a book. But here they are:

1. Parent The Individual. The most important thing I could say. Every child is an individual with their own personality. You cannot parent them the same. You can be consistent and fair. But you cannot decide on a parenting style with your first child and stick with it. Just when you think you have this parenting thing down, the second or third one comes along and it all goes straight out the window.

For example - As 2 year olds, Zack stayed right by my side and didn't wander. Casey was independent and all of a sudden I would realize she was gone. Sometimes out the front door. As teenagers, Zack was quiet and behind-your-back defiant. Casey was straight up, in-your-face defiant. Zack lied so he didn't get in trouble. Casey told you what she did and told you it was worth whatever punishment she would get. I could "talk" to Zack, he would be remorseful, and probably wouldn't do it again. Casey - talk, talk, talk, do it again, talk, talk, talk, do it again, ground her, she escapes, talk, talk, talk, do it again until she learned her lesson and decided, herself, not to do it again.

I learned quickly that each of my children needed me to meet their needs in their own way. Not just with discipline but in all areas of their life. I stumbled along the way but through trial and error, I learned to do what worked with each child.

2. Have A Sense Of Humor. You gotta laugh. Sometimes to keep from crying. Kids are funny. Laugh with them. Life is stupid and hard some times. When you can, laugh about it. Show them that there are funny moments in every situation and that sometimes, that is what helps you deal with the difficulties in life. When their dad died, it was devastating to us all. While we dealt with funeral arrangements, during the funeral service, on the trip home, there were the most bizarre moments - and we laughed. Sometimes through tears. But those are our strongest memories about that week, the ones we still laugh about over 6 years later. And their dad would have been laughing too.

3. Say Yes Some Of The Time. As a parent you find yourself saying NO a lot. It kind of becomes a habit. You might even find yourself saying no to see if they will argue you into a yes. That causes whining and a misunderstanding of where the limits are. How do they know you really mean no if you don't say yes every now and then? And who cares if it is something stupid? As long as they won't get hurt, say YES, even if you need to qualify it. "Can I play in the rain?" "Yes." "Can I play with your makeup?" "Yes, as long as it goes on your face, not the furniture." "Can I climb the tree?" "Yes, as long as I can help you so you don't fall." "Can I go to the party?" "Yes, as long as I speak with the parents." It's okay to say yes!

In a nutshell, there's my parenting book. The one no one should write because as soon as you write about how everyone should parent, one of your kids does something to prove you are not a great parent and should not be giving advice. Hope I haven't jinxed myself!


Ruth D~ said...

I could have sworn I responded to this post earlier and told you what a wise mother you were. Where did my words go?

Tere said...

Weird computer things are happening. Not sure what is going on.

Tere said...

Oh yeah, and thank you for your kind words!