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NOLA Family August 2022 Issue
Family Life, Parenting

Pub Notes: Better Parent

 

by
Ann Herren

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So maybe you’re the better parent.

Because I’m breaking just about every parenting rule with the ‘bad stuff I tell my daughter.’

I tell my daughter she is pretty. Simply because she wants to be pretty.  And because she is. Am I ruining her?

I tell her she is smart. Because she wants to be smart. And she is.

I tell her she is kind and has a loving heart. And that kind is one of the most important things a human can be.

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I tell her that her eyes will stick if she keeps doing that. That she can’t noodle if people come over, but if they don’t- go for it. Well, except at the dinner table. Wear clothes at the table, please (we’re formal like that). Because someday probably too soon, she’ll learn that you can’t shed all your clothes as you walk through the front door. And the world will be a little bit sadder. We never talk about her body like it’s an object, but simply another functioning part of her.

We tell her not to lie. That, little girl, is very bad (and then I tell her it’s always ok to deny passing gas; if daddy is in the room he can take the fall). So yeah, I send her mixed messages.

 I tell her she will become smarter if she works hard at it. And if she doesn’t work hard, she will become less smart. When she’s old enough, I will define smart vs. educated. But for now, it’s the same. I tell her that if it’s easy then it’s not worth doing, because easy is BORING and hard is FUN. That a challenge is how we get smarter, better, braver and stronger. That bears and wolves and her dog are smart, because they are brave and protect what’s important: family.  That daddy and I will be wolves for her, always. We are her wolf pack. We are super wolfy.

When she is driving us insane, and won’t stop pestering us, we don’t leave the room for a grown-up ‘time out’ and zen ourselves into patience. Instead we tell her she is Driving Us Insane and if she doesn’t stop it there will be hell to pay. I tell her I love her the most. I make her cry when I don’t mean to and then tell her to stop crying righthisminute.

I tell her that she belongs to me and no, I will not stop pushing my nose into the crook of her neck and sniffing. We make a family sandwich and tell her she is the Most Loved Child on planet earth. The MOST. That it’s an actual fact. 

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When she is old enough I will put ‘most loved child’ with her name and picture on Wikipedia and before you can change it to your kid, I will show it to her. I tell her she is beautiful. And I think—I think—she knows that means a hell of a lot more than just looks. But I won’t stop saying it.

So yeah, I’m saying all the things you shouldn’t, I know. But I don’t care. I’m only going to read so many books and follow so many social media rules on raising my daughter right.

Every now and then I think; ‘Screwit’. She’s mine to mess up.

And I’m gonna.

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