The Secret to Successful Parenting Revealed
I was a rebel of a teenager. I smoked my first cigarette at 12. I started drinking and smoking weed at 15. I skipped school, failed subjects, partied hard and when all the rest of my friends went off to study interesting things at university I ended up working a crappy job in retail before I met and married a complete loser and eloped. Out of the country. [Sorry again Mum & Dad]. And when I look back at all the things I did, I cringe at how my poor parents must have wondered what the hell did they do wrong.
They didn’t smoke. They only occasionally drank socially. To my knowledge they have never consumed any illicit substances. They were both university educated, my mum as a nurse and my dad as a chemical engineer who went on to become Vice President of the company he worked for and they both strongly encouraged me to do well at school and to go on to further study. They also told me to stay away from bad men and I ignored every single piece of advice they ever gave me including don’t give up piano lessons, you’ll regret it (I did and I do).
In a nutshell: I rebelled against every good thing my parents ever did or set examples for.
Fast forward to me becoming a parent. Well, let’s include my (new) husband in this because he was also the other parent to the same kids. He wasn’t quite as much of a rebel as I was growing up, but he also hated school and dropped out in Year 9. We fell madly in love and produced two kids but unfortunately we hadn’t done a whole lot of growing up before they came along (and I can attest that we are in a lot of ways still pretty immature).
I was pregnant with our daughter within months of meeting (and not yet divorced from husband number one). Yep. Nothing like thinking things through slowly and carefully for us. After that did I transform into a fabulous role model? Sure, if smoking like a chimney, drinking wine every night and swearing like a sailor are considered setting great examples. And…we probably weren’t real great at using filters in front of our kids in the things we said in front of them. Usually around the kitchen table. Which led to us firmly believing we should’ve opened an account purely to stash money towards their future psychological counselling needs. One time, when my daughter was getting ready to go out to a nightclub with her three friends and I saw that they were all wearing flat shoes and cardigans I actually told her, she needed to wear something shorter and tighter. And when our son told his dad he couldn’t ride his bike home from his job at KFC because he didn’t have a helmet, he told him not to be a wimp because it’s not that hard to dodge coppers on a push bike, mate.
As luck would have it – our kids rebelled against US:
They don’t drink (actually very handy because they can pick us up when we are over the limit).
They have never had a puff of a cigarette.
They have and vow to never try any illicit drugs.
I never once heard them swear in front of us.
They never skipped school or failed a subject. They studied hard every night and won awards and commendations at school (a complete pain having to go to those ceremonies every bloody year).
They are both way smarter with money than we ever have been, or ever will be.
Our daughter is a respected midwife and unit manager at a private hospital, engaged to be married, has started a part-time business as a make-up artist in her spare time and is a home-owner at 25.
Our son is a licenced plumber, married with his own home, is about to start his own business and he’s just 24.
We are proud as f#$k of both of them but remain slightly perplexed as to how we did it.
All I can figure is that the mystery of raising children is to set BAD examples so they will not follow. The end. You’re welcome.