Since my book about my dysfunctional family debuted I’ve had many people ask me why I think our siblings turned out the way they did. In writing the book I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours pondering that. I reached the same conclusion every time. It all comes back to childhood. It dawned on me we raise kids not to be good kids but to be stellar adults.
What makes a stellar adult? I believe it’s all about integrity. I love the word, I love the definition; I think it sums up all we need to see in each other. Integrity. Definition: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness
If parents raise children who understand, and more importantly value being honest and having strong moral principles, those children are going to take those values into adulthood. They’ll take those values into their personal lives and into their work lives and are likely to live much happier lives as a result.
So, how do we do raise kids with integrity? Back in the 90s I had a parenting book (Teaching Your Children Life Skills: While Having a Life of Your Own) published by Berkley Books. The premise was we raise kids not by turning our lives upside down to accommodate them but by integrating our children into the fabric of our lives. We invite our children to take part in life very much the same way we do. By sharing everyday activities, by letting kids learn who we are and how we manage in the world, we raise them to understand how life works. By sharing our day-t0-day tasks and challenges with our children, we teach them valuable life lessons while showing that love comes with responsibility. We make our world and the world around us our child’s classroom of life. Plus, and not at all unimportant, we make the incredibly hard job of parenting just a bit easier. By incorporating our children into our lives we get help with chores, with shopping, with meal preparation, with laundry, with all the parts of life no one loves but everyone does. And our children learn how to live an independent and responsible life. It’s a win-win.
It was while I was writing Tales From the Family Crypt that I realized much of the extreme family dysfunction among the adult siblings could have been avoided if only better parenting had been employed when these adults were children. So I revisited my previous work on parenting. I rewrote and updated my book and just published it with the title “Raising Amazing Children: While Having a Life of Your Own.” I priced it at $.99, making it affordable for all. It’s an easy read and I believe it can help parents raise great adults.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my theory that our relationship with our adult children is formed when they are young and what we can do then to make sure we all live happily ever after.
My daughters are amazing adults, all teachers today. We enjoy each other’s company and have tons of fun together. I can’t take all the credit, I know some of it’s luck, some of it’s genetic, some of it’s upbringing, and some of it is magic, but I enjoy believing my husband and I had something to do with it.