parent opinion

'Kids are the bosses of their bodies.' Yumi Stynes shares her Five Golden Rules for parenting.

Mamamia’s Five Golden Rules series takes a pervy look into the lives of Australian families. From parents of toddlers to parents of teenagers, the series asks parents to share their golden parenting rules, including the rules for their kids, and rules to just get through each day.

This week, we hear from Yumi Stynes, a radio presenter, author of multiple books such as Welcome To Consent and Welcome To Your Period, and host of the popular podcast, Ladies We Need To Talk. Yumi is also mum to four kids.

As a recent guest on Mamamia's This Glorious Mess podcast, Yumi shared her Five Golden Rules for parenting with hosts Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo.

1. Kids are the bosses of their bodies.

"This is a really profound rule that sometimes as parents we forget," Yumi shared.

"We say to our kids, 'Come here I need to put sunscreen on your face', and we pin them down and literally go against their wishes and override their consent to smear sunscreen on them. 

Watch: There are two types of parents when it comes to shopping for school. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

"While it's kind of normal as a parent to do this, you also have to understand that consent is about being the CEO of your body. People will try to invade, but you will continue to be the boss and that's the message I want to convey to my kids. 


"This is something I have learnt more about over time as my kids have got older and that when I give my kids agency, to dress how they choose for example, they generally respect it and operate within the realm of common sense. 

"It's hard not to wipe their mouths after eating when there's food all over their chin, but there are ways as the parent to say, 'I know you don't want me to do this, but you really need to wipe your face'. 

"Give them justification or warning before acting on a parenting impulse but if they cannot bear it, then back down. 

"If they don't wear the sunscreen, perhaps they might get sunburnt and then re-think it next time!"

2. No TV or screens during mealtimes.

"We all love screens and TV in our house and there are a lot of shows we love to watch as a family, but mealtimes are a great opportunity to switch off and talk and so this is a rule I have stood by for the last 19 years. 

"We sit down at the table for every meal and eat our dinner - no phones, no screens and no iPads. 

"One of my daughters is super bookish and reads at the table and I confess, I don't mind that!"


3. Mummy's health and power is an essential resource that must be respected and protected.

"This is a golden rule and sometimes it's hard for us to get our heads around, but mummy's health and power is an essential resource to keep the family running.

"Daddy's health is too, but I think that mums sometimes get into that self-sacrificing headspace where we put ourselves last. I think we have to elevate mum's needs and health because it is the engine of many families and if the engine breaks down, then the whole family suffers. 

Listen: Yumi Stynes talk to Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo about her Five Golden Rules of parenting. Post continues below. 

"Mums are so busy thinking about everyone else, that to put yourself first can feel quite confronting and you might have to argue with yourself. But you do deserve a weekend away with your girlfriends or to have a night off the cooking. It is super important that we allocate time and resources for mum!"


4. No lying allowed (by the parents).

"This is especially true when it comes to sex, love, friendships and consent. I think we try to protect our kids from the truth with these issues in particular. It is so important for kids to know that they can look you in the eye and ask a really bold or embarrassing question and that you will give them a true and honest answer.

"If your kids know that you are a trusted resource to always be telling the truth in the face of lies or societal bullsh*t, then that gives you an anchor that is irreplaceable that exists nowhere else in their lives. If you don't know the answer - be honest and say, 'I'll find out and get back to you.'

"If you know the answer and you don't think they are ready for it, provide a caution - they are pretty smart about what they are ready to hear and not ready for. 

"If your kids can trust that you are reliable, it is something they will never forget."


5. No parental bullsh*t.

"This mostly relates to having sex or drinking alcohol and whether we craft some vanilla version of our youth where we pretend we didn't do any of it and then apply that to our kids. 

"We need to strip away the bullshit and question ourselves on things like, 'Why am I saying you must not have sex in my house?' What does that achieve for my child and is it just my own parental bullsh*t? 

"If you question all that stuff, I think you will be a better parent and also have a much better relationship with your children as they advance into adulthood."

Over to you, do you have five rules that you won’t bend on? 

To share your Five Golden Rules, email with 'Five Golden Rules' in the subject line.  

Feature Image: Instagram/@yumichild. 

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