How much of the news should your kids see? How do you explain topics like terrorism, mass shootings, politics, healthcare, and mental health to your kids? Not to mention religion and sex!
Your answer probably depends upon your core beliefs and the age and intellectual development of your child. When you are ready to draw the curtain back on the outside world, no matter how old your child is, how do you do it WITHOUT imparting (or worse forcing) your opinion upon them?
Or maybe your goal is to raise your children with certain convictions and encourage them to keep this mindset throughout their life. Robert warns that we aren’t raising robots. Consider this: it seems like every adult he knows with a strong opinion or belief is living in contrast to the way they were raised.
In this episode of ‘I Am The Worst Parent Ever’ podcast, Robert and Nicole agree that before you decide to talk about the tough topics plaguing humanity and the world, we all need to take into consideration the age, intellectual development, and the personality of our kids. However, we play an important role in guiding our kids to take in the right amount of information and helping them process it all.
When children begin contemplating these issues on their own, kids often begin with a black-or-white, all-or-nothing perspective. Our role as parents, according to Nicole and Robert, is to gently draw their attention to the gray area.
Robert can’t get enough of the political news while Nicole professes a policy of “disengage to engage.” She sees so much “gray area” (and too many people who refuse to acknowledge it) so she shields her kids from the news… and shields her own eyes and ears as well. In other words, Nicole listens more than she talks, which is a super tough skill to master. But, guess what? Some wouldn’t see the value here and criticize Nicole and the quiet, “less vocal ones” as being part of the problem. Nicole struggles with that.
How are you handling sensitive communications with your kids? Tell us your story or ask your question at firstname.lastname@example.org
If it takes a village to raise a child (it does), where the heck do you find this tribe?
Nicole quoted from Scary Mommy: “I can’t be all things to my children all the time…. They need a village of elders who can… provide nuggets of wisdom in ways that my husband and I can’t.”
As parents, it’s hard to venture out of our “silos” to make new friends. Trying to break into a new group feels like we are high school freshmen dealing with cliques in the lunchroom. Every parent seems to have a “no vacancy” sign up. It’s like they are saying, “I have enough friends, thanks.”
It also gets tricky making friends with a new family when the kids don’t match up or one spouse gets along better with their counterpart than the other.
Nicole thinks guys have it easier. Women make more friends but she thinks men seem to be more genuine with each other. She feels like #momguilt and the search for perfection, using our kids like a scorecard, creates a distance between them and the women who could add to their tribe. In her experience, moms can judge themselves AND hold themselves back, questioning, “Why would they want to be friends with me?”
In this episode of ‘I Am The Worst Parent Ever’ podcast, Nicole and Robert share how to make the most of the relationships you nurture with immediate family and how you can lead with kindness and grace. They discuss where can find new adults already involved in your kids’ lives (teachers, coaches, etc.) and where tired parents can find the energy to expand the village that will help raise well-rounded kids.
How do you deal with grief in front of your children? Or do you hide it away?
Do you purposefully hide your pain and sadness, tuck your pain away? Or do you let it all out for your young (or not-so-young) children to see and process along with you?
Is one method the right one? Does it depend on the age and development of your children? Or is it right to be open in front of your kids to show them what you need to do with your grief to own it, live with it, process it, and deal with it?
It doesn’t matter what you lost — it could be big or small, from death (the loss of a person) or the loss of your home or job. It could even include the little losses you experience on the daily, like the loss of your free time or independence. When grief hits, it can come out of nowhere. We react involuntarily with unplanned authenticity. It’s good for your kids to see you be real in those moments.
Nicole admits to being a hypocrite. One minute she tells her kids to “stop crying!” before the first teardrop falls. The next minute, she cries when she can’t find her keys, when the baby is fussy, or if she burns dinner or spills the milk. When her laugh-cry fest finishes, she apologizes profusely for her tears.
If you think that you are “fooling” your kids or pulling the wool over their eyes, Robert reminds us that they are super intelligent and perceptive. Life isn’t clean and simple and if you limit your child’s exposure when things get hard, you do them a serious disservice. In this episode of ‘I Am The Worst Parent Ever’ podcast, he encourages Nicole and others to get comfortable with letting our children (and our partners) “behind the curtain.”
Check out today’s episode and let us know if you have thoughts on our grief conversation. How else do you believe a child will learn how to deal with grief or be there for someone who is struggling, other than witnessing you cry? Grief is absolutely a unique experience for every person. Coping with it as a parent does not mean hiding grief. Of course, we all need to recognize what is appropriate and when we might need an adult shoulder or professional sounding board.
What keeps parents, especially moms, from claiming their parenting or marriage mistakes? It’s probably because you can't scroll through social media without witnessing someone shaming a mom.
Moms think that they will be crucified for speaking about their missteps, knocking them out of the running for the Good Mom and Wife Club.
We read about Bad Moms, it’s all over social media. There’s even a movie about them! You have probably even unintentionally taken part in #momshaming, just to make you feel a little better about yourself.
In this episode of the ‘I Am The Worst Parent Ever’ podcast, Nicole and Robert discuss the pressure parents have to survive these days to do it all. Why does society impose these super-human expectations on mothers and what can we do to squash that way of thinking?
Fear of judgment by your mom peers, your partner, or the general public can create terrible anxiety. Is a "tough skin gene" as crucial as a "mom gene" for being a good parent these days?
Seriously, this is totally bogus! Most women (and men) have a better chance to connect with good people and find their "tribe" when they are honest about the challenges they are facing. Nobody wants to be friends with Perfect Patty or Flawless Fred.
Maybe we need to focus on the eyes and opinions of those we have birthed or married. Show gratitude to the people who are willing to swim next to you in the rough seas of parenthood without trying to drown you or criticize how you swim.
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