If you have children, remember one thing above all else: That is a whole person. Speak to them and treat their questions and considerations as if they were already full-sized, so that they know how important they are to you.
Children really are our future, and when they grow up, you don’t want them hating you.
When my children were babies, I flat out refused to allow anyone to speak to them in baby talk. There were people in my family that this highly offended, and some of my friends thought I was nuts.
When my children started school, I asked each and every teacher to please speak to them like they were full grown people, and never talk down to them.
Whenever they asked me a question, I tried to stop everything to explain the answer as well as I possibly could, so that I wasn’t leaving them with ANY gaps of understanding. I never once said, “I’ll explain it when you’re older.”
Whenever my daughters asked me hard questions, such as about sex, or about mythical characters we all pretend are real, I told the truth, even when I knew a piece of their childhood could shatter.
Whenever my children misspoke or sounded funny making mistakes, I never laughed at it, or told them how cute they sounded, or otherwise reinforced their mistakes.
All of this kind of treatment resulted in a different kind of mother/daughter relationship than most. More like a team, a set of colleagues, with tons of love, but tons of respect as well.
It’s not as though there is a lack of discipline, in fact, perhaps more than usual, as I never waver from my word to them.
I never lied. Not once. I don’t lie to my children. Not about Santa, not about where their nutella bottle went. I just don’t lie. Ever. Even white lies. They have only the truth from me, and I think it has made me someone they rely on to be completely always forever there for them in a way most parents aren’t.
Now, we’re almost through the teen years and we still have a rock solid friendship and the exact same relationship we did when they were younger. Because I never gave them a reason to rebel. They were always my equals.
Just food for thought.