Parenting In Between The Lines

Pick up any book about Mom-ing or Dad-ing and it’s usually full of the deep, dark, and diabolical bits of parenting. Temper tantrums and teen angst. Potty training and puberty survival tips (mental note: post idea). All important, but there’s a lot more that goes into this parenting malarkey than just the big stuff.

I want my teen to sail through the hormonal tsunami that is puberty…or wait..is it just menopause? Anyway I want him to be a grounded teen but I also want him to be able to tell a joke. I want my ten year old to use a knife and fork, but I also want him to know what to do or say when Great Aunt Betty gives him socks for his birthday.

This is parenting in between the lines.

Things like…

Telling a story. The other day my teen came home and told us a tale. And it was funny. Properly funny. And it wasn’t just funny because the subject matter was amusing. It was funny because he told the story well. He didn’t get hung up on every tiny little detail. It wasn’t peppered with “ums” and “likes.” My husband and I looked at each other over the silverware and one of us may have wiped away a tear.

Story telling, or how to keep your audience from stabbing their eye with their fork is in the style of Oedipus is something we work on with our kids. 3 salient facts and move on. And while we don’t have an actual gong or one of those giant, shepherd hooks to yank them from the dinner table, we have been known to make a buzzer noise and tell them to move the story along. Small, but important life skill. Not just with stories, but imparting any important information. Just like….

Dealing cards. Someone had to teach you to always deal to the left, didn’t they? Bet you never thought of it before. But it’s one of those things you realize how wrong it is when you’re kid starts dealing willy-nilly across the table. You have to learn skills like that, mostly so that you don’t make an ass out of yourself the first time you pretend you know how to play poker. Skills are important. As are facts. Facts like…

Where food comes from. A while back I read a statistic which blew me away. 7% of Americans think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. After I picked my jaw up off the floor and cleaned up the coffee I spat at my computer screen, I finished the article and realized something I’d never thought about before. Someone has to teach you where food comes from. No wonder kids think chicken comes from Market Basket and ground beef from Netto. If that’s all they’ve ever seen, heard, or known. There’s no a priori knowledge about the fact that your juicy double bacon burger was once Bessy the cow and Peppa the pig. Someone’s got to teach you that milk comes from cows. And that chocolate milk comes from Nesquik. Teach your kid where food comes from. If for no other reason than to avoid being an embarrassing statistic. Speaking of embarrassing…

Joke pacing, another not so crucial but handy life skill. Knowing how to pace a joke, how to read your audience? It takes practice. Practice with your kids. You know why? Because no one finds “knock knock who’s there turtle poop in a tree” funny after the age of three. After three you can also work on teaching them things like…

How to get out of eating a meal you don’t like. We keep trying to tell our kids that politeness and compliments may not get you everywhere, but they’re going to get you pretty far. So, if you ever have one of my kids round to dinner and you hear, “Wow, this looks delicious, thank you so much, you must have worked really hard,” there’s a good chance they’re trying to tell you thanks, but no thanks, I hate fish.

I’d say I’d like to teach them how to know which one is a fish fork and which one is a shrimp spoon, but well, I don’t know myself and it’s hard to teach something you’re pulling out of your own ass at any given moment. But luckily there are plenty of things I do know. And not just that chocolate milk doesn’t come from brown cows.

Now, let me tell you a story…

 

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15 thoughts on “Parenting In Between The Lines

  1. aviets January 30, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    Love, love, love. It’s those unusual successes that I really appreciate about my kids, too. Well done, Mom.

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 31, 2018 / 9:01 am

      Well, part of it is selfish on our part. It’s much easier to listen to a well-told story than it is to one which meanders all over the place! ;-).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Melanie McNeil January 30, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    A story I cannot find to verify it’s true: King Hussein and Queen Noor were often given gifts that would never be used by them, for any number of reasons. But gratitude for the intention and effort were always offered, with some version of “your gift will be well used.” Often those gifts were passed to appropriate charities, so someone else could well use them. This is something we taught our son when he was old enough to be an ass, and also old enough to learn not to be one. It got us through many a Christmas.

    (Side note: when King Hussein was hospitalized at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, we (including young son) sent him a get-well card. We got back a thank you note for our good wishes. )

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 31, 2018 / 9:01 am

      We have taught our kids that when you sit down at someone else’s table, the first thing you do is compliment the person putting a meal down in front of you. I don’t care what it is, showing true appreciation goes a long way. This is a great story, and a good one to use to illustrate just that. I love that you sent him a get-well card. Those, and judicious use of thank you cards is another one to go on the list!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Donnalee January 31, 2018 / 12:13 am

    Those are great skills for anyone to have. Add in some foxhunting and boxing and the kid could grow to be a Regency buck of the first water!

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 31, 2018 / 8:58 am

      Lol. Is the world shot of Regency bucks these days? I’ll be good as long as they don’t become a part of a statistic that makes other people spit out their coffee in disbelief.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donnalee January 31, 2018 / 5:45 pm

        Eh, chances are that they are history, since the Regency was only 1811-1820, so even with botox and hairpieces and chin implants they may not be around trying to get reality shows or political positions–oh well.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. shanna January 31, 2018 / 3:17 am

    Love this! And it’s so true! I have to teach my kid all the in between stuff that she won’t learn otherwise, especially since I’m homeschooling.

    Like

    • Dina Honour January 31, 2018 / 8:57 am

      I’m not kidding about the story telling either. We really did look at each other and almost high five, lol. There’s a lot of in between stuff, a lot more than the big stuff. Yet nothing ever gets said about the in between stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. motherofwaves April 22, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    I try and teach my kids where food comes from. Someone once told my daughter that sharks eat meat, and she replied that we were meat. I’m still working on getting past knock knock turtle poop, however.

    Like

    • Dina Honour April 25, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Yeah, it take a while to get past knock knock turtle poop. But to be fair, turtle poop IS pretty funny…. 😉

      Like

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