Lets face it- there are times that we need to turn to our mom tribe for advice. I not only have amazing friends that I can turn to but I feel very fortunate to have an amazing mother, mothers-in-law, sister and awesome sisters-in-law that I turn to more often than not for advice. I was so excited to partner with Ocean Spray® and try their new Mocktails while sitting down with my mom and sister in law and get some parenting advice from them. Here are some top tips that I’ve been given over time.
TOP 10 Parenting Advice
- Say I love you early and often. Mean it as well.
We have had several people hear my family members talking on the phone to each other and whenever we get off the phone we ALWAYS say I love you to each other. They often are amazed that we speak to each other this way and complete on that we do this. I can honestly say that I love knowing that my parents and siblings love me. You often hear people say they regret not expressing their love for people more often. I know that my family will never have that regret & I hope to continue that tradition with my little family.
- Agree with your spouse in front of the children and be a united front- don’t make one parent the bad guy all the time.
My mother has such a tender heart- whenever we misbehaved and she tried disiplining us she would often go into her room and cry about it. It was always harder on her than us so she started using the phrase- wait till your father gets home. She tells us all the time that she regrets ever doing that. Not only did it not work- we would still misbehave until our father got home- but it made my dad out to be the bad guy. Now I never thought of my father as bad but man when we got home and we were bad we would all run for it. What kind of greeting is that a father after a hard days of work. Come up with rules and how to discipline together and than each hold to them.
- Don’t Compare yourself to other parents- each child, parent and situation is different. We each come with different skills & personalities-find what works for your family.
Easier said than done- especially with social media thrown in our faces at all times but we don’t know what is truly happening in everyones homes. Those parents might seem to have it all together at all times but lets be honest none of us do. We all lose our tempers, burn a meal, leave our house or chores a mess at times. Some people are great at crafts while others are great at cooking. We each have different strengths and weaknesses so use what you have.
- Be open to advice- read lots of different parenting books and articles. You never know what might work for your child and family.
I use to hate when people would try giving me advice- I knew my child and that was it. Than my child started to grow and change and I realized that being open to advice wasn’t such a bad thing. What works for me might not work for my daughters. Just because someone gives you advice doesn’t mean you have to follow it but one day you might use one of their tips and be grateful you were open to advice. I also learned this with books, while pregnant I didn’t want to follow one way of parenting so I didn’t ready any books, but once I had my daughter I realized that I needed some knowledge at parenting. I started reading all sorts of books and realized it didn’t have to be one style or the other, you pick things that work for you and your family and develop your own style.
- Have a family dinner daily with no technology.
There have been studies done about how important it is to sit down as a family and have dinner together. Not only does it get the family together on a regular basis but it gives everyone a chance to talk to one another. It gives everyone a chance to talk about their day as well. There are so many cute traditions that I have heard of- letting everyone talk about a high & low moment that day, talk about what they achieved that day and plan to achieve the next day. One of my good friends that is from Central America told me that at dinner her father would quiz all of them about cities, countries, spelling, anything and everyone in her family is so smart and knowledgeable. I know I looked forward to our family meals together- I loved sitting down and listening to my older siblings talk about their day. This is a tradition I plan to do.
- Clearly define limits and expectations.
I always knew what was expected of me growing up and at times I felt like the expectations were too high but now that I am older I respect that. I love that my parents had high expectations of me- it means they knew I was capable to achieve them. I also knew what was expected of me when not around my parents and I think other families appreciate that. My parents have several friends that have commented about how much they enjoy being around not only them but their children. I never want someone to avoid spending time with us because I don’t have my children under control. I think this tip can relate to a lot of things as well, school, hobbies, behavior, etc.
- Be patient and understanding.
One thing I have learned since having a child is to be patient. There are times that I know it will be so much easier for me to do something on my own but that wouldn’t be teaching them how to do it. We not only need to be patient with them growing up and learning but being patient and understanding when they make a mistake in life. I always knew my parents loved me no matter what I did and knew I could go and talk to them about it. It was so comforting to know they understood even if they weren’t happy with me.
- Don’t over structure their lives.
This seems to be a big problem lately. It is a competitive world and as a parent you feel that if they don’t have every second scheduled with an activity than they will fall behind. Again there have been studies how this is hurting our children. They need time to be bored so they can learn how to entertain themselves. They need time to be creative and discover what their true talents and passion are. With packed schedules they never learn these skills.
- Learn to say NO- what a child wants isn’t always what they need.
I know not everyone is not going to agree with me on this one but at least hear me out. I know there is a parenting trend that says that the word no can be damaging to a child. I don’t agree with this because in life you are going to hear the word no at times and we need to prepare them for that. Life is not always going to give them what they want and they need to learn to either do without or learn to work towards getting it if they really want it. I believe that hearing the word no teaches boundaries at times as well. Now I do agree with that we should learn to answer at times with a different word- for example if a child asks for a treat we don’t always have to say no- we can give them options or other alternatives. “Mom can I have a treat” “right now I would like it if you had some crackers or an apple, which one would you like instead” This technique has helped in our family so far but I will admit I am not perfect and the word no still comes out often.
- Give them a chore at least once a day.
Chores teach our children how to work and be responsible. It also gives them pride in the work that they have done. A child will appreciate a meal so much more when they have helped prepare it. They feel apart of the family when given family responsibilities. It also teaches them to work at an early age. There are a lot of good lists that I have found on Pinterest that talk about age appropriate chores.
Now lets talk about how much I enjoyed these Ocean Spray® Mocktails– they seriously do taste like cocktails. What I like is the many options you have with these drinks- you are able to drink them as is, add some sparkling water in them, or add in some alcohol to make it a true cocktail. After us moms got together and talked about a few things the kids joined in to taste them- we all agreed that the favorite was Tropical Citrus Paradise Mocktail but I really enjoyed them all. The Cranberry Sangria Mocktail seriously tasted like a Sangria. These Ocean Spray® Mocktails would be perfect for hosting a baby shower, those times that you’re craving a cocktail while pregnant or just can’t/don’t drink. I highly recommend trying them. I am already planning several other parties that I know these would be perfect.