I get the best parenting tips from my kids
I wish my kids came with an instruction manual (not that I would read it, cuz’ I’m a guy. I would just ask my wife to read it and then ask her questions).
Anyway, when they “popped out,” there were no instructions. There are a lot of great books and blogs (click here) that share advice on parenting and how to deal with certain situations, but as far as my individual kids go, it’s a crapshoot.
Other parents are good for advice, as well as neighbors. But once my kids were old enough to talk, I started asking them for advice. Who knows better how to deal with them, than them?
Every once in a while, I will ask them individually, “How am I doing as a DAD? Is there anything I can do better or differently?”
Granted, at first the answers were very simple: “I love you daddy, you are the best!” Which is usually followed by “You need to let me stay up later and eat ice cream for dinner.”
No matter what they say, I don’t judge or fight. I listen and make them feel like their opinion is something that matters and will be taken into consideration.
“Okay buddy, on Saturday you can have ice cream for breakfast.” One and done.
As they have gotten older and we have established trust in our little check-ins, their answers have become more sincere and honest:
“Dad, I really don’t like it when you try and pick me up in public, I am 14.”
“Dad, when you wash my hair you do it too rough.”
“Dad you yell too much at middle kid when we are eating, give him a break.”
“Dad, you walk way too close to cars when we are outside and it makes me nervous.”
Though I don’t always like what they are saying, I appreciate the fact that they are comfortable enough to say it to me instead of holding it in. As they grow and the types of conversations we must have begin to get more difficult, I know that having an open, honest line of communication can only make things easier.