Parenting Advice from My Parents

I always get a little giggle out of that Mark Twain quote that goes, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

I don’t think (I hope!) that I considered my parents ignorant when I was a teenager, but as I’ve become a parent myself, I’ve been amazed at how much I appreciate their parenting wisdom that I remember from my own growing up.

One that I remember my dad saying a lot when I was a child is, “I try to say ‘yes’ whenever possible.” And, to his credit, he really did. Unless there was a legitimate or compelling reason to deny us something, he almost always said yes.


Now, as the mom, I’m amazed how easily and quickly “no” becomes the default answer. And so I try to remember my dad’s example, and tell my daughters “yes” as much as I can.

Today, when I was singing my toddler in the rocking chair before her nap, she said, “SING IT LOUD!” And I said yes. (And she giggled at my very loud singing).

Yesterday, after a successful trip to the toilet and the candy reward was handed over, she said, “Will you hide my mint so I can find it?” And I said yes.

And tonight, when she asks, as she always does, for one more story before bed, I’ll say yes.

Janssen and Daddy
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