Recently, I wrote a post about parenting with the “Because I Said So” technique. Like anything else, some people probably responded to this method while others, like me, bristled under it.
From an early age, my kids were given explanations when possible. I told my kids about being abused, and what parts of my life seemed heavily affected by it. I explained addictions, and how it really ran rampant throughout our family. We talked about sex, and the many, many unforeseen complications that can occur when you bring a child into the world while you are still one yourself. To say the least, my kids and I talked a lot!
Probably the one thing I did that seems to have the most impact on my kids, though, is implementing the “Off The Record” rule. This rule was designed to encourage my kids to tell me when something they were doing could be potentially dangerous. If I was approached by a child requesting a conversation “off the record”, the rule was that no matter how awful the information was, I could not punish them for it.
You’d think that my kids would have really gone crazy with this rule, but oddly enough, they did not. The rule was not used very often, and each time it was, the information was more important to know than anything else, and the idea they needed to be punished for it was patently ridiculous. There are adult problems that enter teen lives that require more attention than any grounding or spankings can give.
I think the most valuable advice I could ever give a fellow parent is to remember that the little human ball of life you bring home from the hospital is also the beginning of a real relationship. Honesty, respect, and an open door policy can develop a trust with them that can carry your parent/child dynamic into their adulthood and beyond.
Children are your immortality, your legacy, and your hope. Treat those relationships with much mercy, unyielding honesty, and unconditional love. You and your relationship with your child will play a role in every relationship they will ever have throughout their lives. That is a huge responsibility.