I feel like I may be at this point I can honestly offer some parenting advice. Gone are the days of chasing toddlers and wiping noses. I still have days of watch your mouth and is your homework done, but for the most part my days are filled with conversation and laughter. A lot of laughter. We are a pretty funny bunch. So as I think back over the years, here are a few of my helpful hints.
1) Boys and girls are different. My daughter loved on babies, dressed them, hugged them and named them. My boys put theirs in a toaster oven and melted it. The fire was quickly put out, and the toaster was thrown out as well. I learned a valuable lesson on keeping up with small children in the process. But basically, little boys want to build, destroy and build again. There are bad guys to capture and cars to race. My daughter, regardless of how much of a tom-boy she is, still wants her hair done and nails pretty.
2) Encourage them to be theirselves. Alex likes a good day of hard work. Drake wants to fix computers, Jacob runs around filming things and Lynsie reads how the brain works. I don't see any lawyers in our future but I do see four young adults who are able to embrace their own actual goals. I never tried to fit them into my mold, but helped pushed them along to better fit into theirs.
3) Listen. I know more about Doctor Who, various computer games, xbox and a fair share of bad jokes because I took the time to listen. Do I have an actual interest in these? Not really, but I do care about those I have birth to.
4) Be a cheerleader. Thankfully as a parent this doesn't require pom poms and a short skirt. Attend games, competitions, or whatever else your child is into. Even if your child fails be there to tell him/her how awesome they are.
5) Stop raising children. There are enough grown children in the world. Instead, raise adults. The goal is for them to grow up, be responsible, move out, start their own lives. If you are raising spoiled brats, life will kindly give them a slap into reality. I have no tolerance for bratty children or adults.
6) Talk. About everything. Answer the questions that make you turn beet red. Answer the ones that make you cry. Tell them if you don't know the answer. It's allowed. This is coming from the woman who had to explain what an orgasm was to 11yr olds.
7) Embrace your beliefs with them. Whatever they are, but don't be surprised if they question them.
8) Work ethic. Chores will not kill your child. They may think they are dying, but pushing a broom, scrubbing a commode and doing laundry sets the foundation of a good work ethic. My boys can work on cars and change a dryer plug. All of my children could survive without me. They know how to pay bills, comparison shop and the best part....they know how to ask.
9) Discipline. No body wants to be around a hell child. Get a grip, a handle. It may be cute at two, but by the time they are sixteen, cute is long gone. And I don't care what type of problems they have. Quite raising them by a label. My son is AH/AD but that was never a reason to let him act a fool. My goal was to raise adults, which meant he had to learn self control.
10) Do stuff. Any stuff, all stuff. Every but of day to day living is an adventure. Let your child be part of it. Embrace all teachable moments. Even now, rarely do I go some where without a young adult. We play, we work, we cry and we laugh together.
I could keep going, but will stop for now. If you gained anything, I hope it was number ten. Being together makes the biggest difference.