parents

Join us: Together we're going to reinvent the parenting manuals.

Em Rusciano with kids, Marchella and Odette.

Parenting is equal parts ball-tearingly frustrating and gut-wrenchingly exhilarating.

You know that already; it can take your breath away and have you questioning all that you hold dear in the space of 10 minutes.

I don’t profess to be an expert on the topic – I readily admit that on occasion my kids eat cereal for dinner and wear bathers for undies – and yet I get asked about parenting at least once a day.

For a while I was just spewing back gags and trying desperately to avoid any sort of meaningful interaction on the topic. I felt that I was in no way qualified to be passing out nuggets of wisdom.

Surely that should be left to people who grow veggies, study childhood development and own tupperware. Then a couple of days ago I took part in a forum of sorts and I was asked in all serious about my values as a parent.

MOTHER OF PEARL! I had nothing but the usual jokes, so I paused and pondered. What did I think was important when it came to raising small people?

The following list is what I came up with, I’m not saying that my way is the best way it’s just my way.

1. Tell your kid when they stuff up.

Real life example: “Odette, putting my mobile phone in the microwave was a bonehead thing to do. Can you please tell me why you felt that was okay because I am here to tell you – it so wasn’t.”

2. Tell your kid it is okay to stuff up.

Real life example: “I accept you were trying to do a scientific experiment to ascertain if phones melt – I love that you were interested in finding out the truth. Having a crack at stuff it great, just ask me first because: giant electrical fire.”

3. Speak to them how you want them to speak to you.

Note: I have really had to work on this one, mainly because “sarcastic bitch” is my default setting. If your kids are being rude little arsehats, it may be time to look at how you relate to them. I did and since then, things have taken on a much gentler tone in my house.

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4. Get down on the floor with them.

Note: Look we are all guilty of remote control parenting but kids bloody love it when you get down on their level. It allows you to fully engage. I know it seems like a punish at the time but I promise 5 minutes into building Barbie’s dream house and you will be all about Ken’s den and the curtains in the day room.

5. Give them good food.

6. Read them good books.

Recommendation: “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus” is perfect for all ages. It is the best children’s book almost ever.

7. Encourage them to try new things.

8. Pick them up when they fall.

9. If you fuck up, admit it and try again tomorrow. Kids forgive and forget in the blink of an eye.

10. Love them till it hurts and then a little bit more.

“I know we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to other parents and feeling as though we come up short.”

That’s it, nothing new or ground breaking here. I tried to keep it simple, concise and devoid of wankery. I believe that parenting gets overcomplicated a lot of the time and I know we are all guilty of comparing ourselves to other parents and feeling as though we come up short.

Some of us only post the highlights reel on Facebook – our children beautifully groomed and our houses immaculate – when in reality that shit took three hours to set up.

I, like most of you, am doing my best to raise kids who contribute to the world, are kind to animals and those who are most vulnerable in society. The important part to remember is, you’ve got this.

If you yell at your kid to make yourself feel better, that’s okay – you’ve got this. Refer to number 9 on my list then do number 10. See how it works!

There is room for forgiveness and improvement, two crucial ingredients when trying to parent. Sometimes we get it gloriously right and sometimes the children are still awake at 10pm with no food for lunches and no clean uniforms.

I now throw the floor open to you, add your own to my list if you wouldn’t mind. Let us reinvent parenting manuals, let’s face it – they need to be a bit more sweary at the very least!

What would you add to the list? What are the values that guide you as a parent?

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