If you have read many of my past columns you know that I am not very strict with my son. And I take a lot of pride in my parenting skills – even if they are a little laid back at items! We have a great relationship because it is based on trust and respect and making decisions together. I let him get away with some things because he is a good kid and ultimately he learns from doing and he grows from bad decisions. But, I also let him get away with a few things because he is a kid! Come one! He’s eight and sometimes kids just need to break some rules because life will be all about rules when they get to adulthood.
So, some things that might make other parents cringe just make me laugh. And more importantly, they make my son laugh… and smile and enjoy his world a little more. Because truthfully, at the end of the day, that is what kids should be doing – enjoying life. So I am entirely alright with breaking these parenting “no-no’s”.
5 Parenting No-No’s We Do Anyway, Guilt-Free!
In no particular order, here are five things that are ok in the Youngblood house. (No judging allowed!)
1 – He doesn’t take regular showers or baths, on any set schedule. I know, I know! Sometimes, for a day or two or five, life just gets in the way and a stop in the shower is overlooked. He still has good hygiene and washes his hands and brushes his teeth but getting the full on cleaning doesn’t always happen.
2 – There is no set bedtime. Some nights he might be zonked out by nine. Other nights he could be wide awake at midnight. He flows with his own rhythm and when he gets tired he goes to bed. Kind of hard to enforce meaningless bedtimes just so he can get in bed and lie awake for two hours because he isn’t tired. Honestly, I would rather have him stay up and do something fun or productive than just stare at a dark ceiling frustrated and restless.
3 – The dining table is not often used. At least three nights a week, dinner is served as a “carpet picnic.” Why? Why not? We talk and laugh and discuss the day just fine over our bowls of spaghetti while sprawled out on the floor. This also goes along with the idea that eating with his hands is just fine. Yes, he knows very well how to use and hold a knife and fork but if he wants to pick up the pork chop with his hand and dive in then that’s just fine. As long as he doesn’t get it on the aforementioned carpet!
Speaking of food…
4 – Breakfast for dinner, or yogurt and cereal for dinner or veggies and fish sticks for breakfast. Hey Mini-Me is a seriously picky eater so I say whatever he is in the mood for he can have. He doesn’t really like sugar or junk food so the choices are always pretty good. We just don’t pick our food based on the time of day. Plus he is getting his pediatrician recommended liquid multivitamins to help balance out anything he might miss.
5 – The electronics and TV are usually on. When you make your living working in television and by writing on your Mac everyday, it is kind of hard to tell your son to turn off the TV or shut down the iPad. Some of my fondest memories as a child are of watching Johnny Carson and Dallas with my mom, Sanford and Son and 60 Minutes with my grandpa. I watched a boatload of television as a kid and I seemed to turn out just fine and have made a very nice living in the entertainment biz. (Ironically enough I ended up on Dallas 15 years later!) Plus, all of those hours on his tablet have made him excel at computers and he even teaches his teachers a thing or two! Being a computer whiz is not exactly a bad skill to have once he gets older.
As they say, rules are meant to be broken and I strongly feel that by letting him break these non-important rules that he won’t have a desire to break the big ones as he gets older – and so far, the strategy is paying off! What parenting no-no’s turn into “yes-yes’s” in your house?
Rob Youngblood is a Dad, TV Guy, Actor, Emmy Winner, Keynote Speaker, Communication Coach, Storyteller, and Writer. Learn more about him at youngbloodonthecoast.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.