I read a lot about parenting. I like to think about parenting and I like to be prepared for the things my child(ren?) will go through before they happen, as much as possible. So, like my family does, I read up. Books, internet, blogs. I talk to my parents, my husband, my friends, my siblings. But mostly, I read stuff on the internet. Today, I was reading a blog entry about how to discuss death with children. And suddenly, it clicked.

So many of these things I read cover one small aspect of parenting. How to potty train. How to create “natural consequences.” How to deal with death and tantrums and picky eaters and the struggle for independence vs. protection. How to do this or that and there are a million hints and tips and tricks to each one. It sometimes feels like I’ll never be a good enough parent because I won’t ever be able to memorize the thousand best things to say to my child when she is teased. So I was sitting there trying to grind into my head all the suggested phrasings explaining death, and going crazy because they all amounted to the same thing.

All of these articles are just saying the same things, over and over, about different situations.

  1. Kids are, first and foremost, people too. Listen to what they say they need, and ask if they’re not saying.
  2.  Be honest in an age-appropriate way.
  3.  Be consistent.
  4.  Chill out and save getting concerned for the things that are truly concerning, like medical emergencies.
  5.  Have fun, because holy shit being a parent is awesome.

What do you know, almost exactly what the book my parents got me has to say about the whole affair. And pretty much what my mom has to say every time I talk to her about a specific thing.

Will this stop me from attempting to absorb the whole internet about parenting? Of course not. But being able to take some of my gut feelings and turn them into a set of simple rules that make sense, are flexible, and don’t treat children like a math problem with one right answer is going to help a lot. I don’t need to read an article about how to deal with death, because I already knew. Be honest, be consistent, be calm, be kind, and always listen. Those are things I can do and believe in with my whole heart.

So there’s today’s revelation.