Shirley and both her girls were quick to contribute their best parenting tips. It is fun to share family perspectives across generations. I adore this family and am happy they found time to contribute.
As Shirley’s neighbor, watching her family grow has been a bit like watching a movie on fast forward. Her sweet grandkids have grown so quickly, seems like no time. Family joy emanates from all their faces. It’s as though an aura of love surrounds their home.
Should fortune continue to gift us health, happiness, and togetherness, maybe someday we can be someone’s “Andy and Shirley.” After 50 years of marriage they still light up a room with their adoration. They have captured my heart!
Shirley, “Learn to trust them, hard to do sometimes. In later years they will tell you the things they did and you didn’t know about. You will find they knew right from wrong.” Tip 6
Shirley’s comment on trust is so true, it is hard! The teetering of holding on and letting go is a delicate dance in parenting. It was as though I was training myself from the time Michael was 5. I knew I would need to trust him in the world, yet I was terrified to release him in anyway.
I knew, if I could raise a trustworthy son, he could be trusted, and I could feel peace. My first step was to work diligently convincing him he was trustworthy. I started even before he knew what the word meant.
The early conversation went, “I’m so glad you’re trustworthy. Gee, if I couldn’t trust you I would be worried all the time and would be so sad. Because I know you make great decisions, our home can be a happier place.”
I would recite that often. It was exactly the truth. It was broken down into age (and concept) appropriate language. The root of the matter, if my son was not trustworthy, my life would be miserable! It’s ok for him to know that!
It does place responsibility on him, he should have responsibility. Michael was taught he had a responsibility to behave in a respectful way, and do his part in all situations. Being a member of a family, and upholding relationships requires expectations and responsibilities. The sooner he knew that, the better he could learn it.
Trust is a necessary step if the goal is independence. Some may feel it’s earned, I believe it is taught in a trusting environment, with trustworthy people. I sure wasn’t perfect, but I was trustworthy. I think being trustworthy made my imperfections a little less noticeable.
Thanks Shirley for your best advice, and thanks for enlisting your girls (to follow).
Next week, Dorothy on the value of money. For sneak peaks check out 100 Moms on Facebook.