Finding out we were having a baby was exciting. We looked forward to the new addition to our family, and we felt semi-ready for the change. Of course, we could never have predicted what parenting is really all about. I mean, we thought we knew, but we really didn’t.

While we were certainly hit with a curve-ball once our son was born, we held on to our principles and values and hope to instill these on our tiny-human.

1. It is ok to cry and show emotion I think that we have come a long way in society and we are slowly destructing that old prejudice where males are not supposed to cry or show emotion. My son is a toddler and of course cries about everything. He’s confused about his emotions. Crying is a sign of his frustration, anger, disappointment, and pain. Similarly, I, as an adult, cry for those same reasons. My husband and I make sure we validate his feelings. We let him know it’s okay to cry and feel what he’s feeling. We let him know that we’re here when he wants to use his words to talk to us. Unlike myself, my husband didn’t get to express much emotion as a child, so this is all new to him too. However, despite this unfamiliarity, he’s doing quite well with our little guy.

2. It is not okay to whine My dear boy, while I appreciate you want a cookie at 7:00am, it just isn’t going to happen and you whining is not going to convince me otherwise. Whining is not okay. Whining is annoying and frustrating. So, while it is perfectly okay to cry, it is not perfectly okay to whine. I cannot understand you. Please stop.

3. He is heard It’s important for us to let our son know that his concerns are valid no matter how silly they may seem to us. We don’t know how important it is for him to wears his rainboots over his sneakers, so how can we undermine him? If he is mad at me because he isn’t getting his way, I want him to know that I hear his disappointment, despite what the outcome is going to be. I’m here to help him work through it.

4. Your curiosity is admired The little guy is so curious and it’s so much fun to watch. He loves to help his parents vacuum and fix things and he’s always calling out “my turn!” Why of course you can vacuum for you mama little man! He pays close attention to things and then tries to replicate what he’s seeing. I encourage his curiosity. But I won’t lie, it can be a tad bit frustrating at times. I know you want to help daddy hammer in that nail, but you’re little and it’s dangerous. How about you use your plastic hammer? *Cue tantrum*

While his curiosity may be frustrating at times, I wouldn’t change it.

5. Stop asking and re-asking Asked and answered. Asked and answered. For the love of all things sacred and holy, ASKED AND ANSWERED!

6. No, hitting is not an appropriate way to let people know you like them There will come a time when my mini-human will get older and start having those feelings for girls or boys. Hitting, pulling hair, pushing, and name calling is in no way an acceptable way to show your interest. I remember being told at school when we were kids that If a boy pushed you down, then that meant they liked you. This form of expression is now unacceptable (as it always should have been). It is not okay to show someone you like them by being physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive. If you want to show someone you like them, draw them a picture, asked them to play with you, and always be kind.

7. Bullying will never be okay Not everyone can like everyone, so If you don’t like someone, that’s okay. But do not ever belittle or hurt someone. Do not join the so-called “cool kids” in making someone feel bad because you don’t want to feel left out. I would much rather you feel left out than make someone else feel bad. I would also like you to stand up for yourself if you are ever bullied. Standing up for yourself does not mean fighting back. It means walking away and being the bigger person. There is no time to be wasted on people who want to make you feel small. Walk away. Tell someone. Be true to yourself.

8. I will not excuse your behaviours because you are a boy My son is rambunctious and loves to play. We encourage play and imagination. What we don’t encourage is any behaviour that is aggressive or outside play indoors. Yes, he is a boy and has more testosterone, but that isn’t an excuse to take a plastic golf club and smash our floors and walls with it. It’s not only noisy, but my floors and walls are getting ruined. People have said to me “that’s just him being a boy.” That’s great. So, because I have a boy, I must accept that my house will be destroyed? I don’t think so.

9. He is loved I need my son to know that he is loved, will always be loved, and will never not be loved. We will forever be his parents and will forever support him. We make sure to tell him we love him throughout the day and hug and kiss him anytime he lets us.

Parenting has proved to be everything we didn’t know. The challenges are endless but what we know for sure is what kind of person we want him to be. Our hope is to succeed in raising him to be a decent and kind human being.

Featured Photo Courtesy: Karen Szabo