with Talyaa Liera
I'm Talyaa, the poster child for the concept that there's no one right way to be a parent. I went from stay-at-home attachment-parenting mom of four to being the non-custodial parent, working as a professional writer and channel-psychic. Let's talk about throwing away the parenting manual and exploding the myths and mystique of motherhood!
Check out my personal blog at Juxtapositioning.
Maybe I should have cloned myself a Mini-Me.
Because I TRIED to make my kids like everything I like, really I did. I bought Tinker Toys and trotted out my old childhood Breyer horses. I spent hours trolling websites that help people like me recall the names of their favorite childhood books so I could read “Shadow Castle” and “Mystery of the Green Cat” to my spawn. I found copies of every Rankin-Bass Christmas-themed animated film.
But you know what?
Some of those things my kids liked. Some they did not. And they liked a ton of things that they discovered all on their own (hi, Star Wars, I’m talking to you).
Hah, you’re probably laughing now. I know this stuff isn’t rocket science. Kids like what they like. We influence them, sure, but they are still quirky little autonomous beings with their own quirky tastes.
Last night a mom-friend was talking about her daughter’s TV tastes. We talked about the fine line we parents walk letting our kids have “their” thing. Like, how much do you join in and take an interest without co-opting the whole thing? Or the flip side, not being involved enough and then finding out after the fact that your kid’s interest in animal husbandry has suddenly translated into adopting a goat for a year?
I think kids should have their thing. Many things, if possible.
I also believe that part of our job as parents is to show them what our things are — what we are passionate about.
After that is the tricky part. When you dreamed of having a daughter who shares your love of horses, of bonding over long rambling dusty trail rides but she wants to spend her weekends sitting on the floor in the bathroom painting watercolors and writing Twilight fan fic, there’s a wee pang in your heart, as much as you love your kid for the quirky autonomous little person that she is.
And then what if your kid’s passionate thing is something you just don’t think is awesome? For whatever reason? Like in the movie “Billy Elliot” about the kid whose passion was ballet dancing, much to the chagrin of his burly macho dad. Movies are full of this stuff — plucky, determined kids following their hearts despite the wishes of their parents, yet winning the parent’s love in the end. I think reality is less golden, less happy-ending. We parents really do have a hard time letting go of our dreams for our kids.
How do you handle the [weird, random, outrageous] tastes of your kids? Live and let live? Keeping a finger in the pie? I’ve noticed that at about age 12, kids seem to really need to assert their differences from us parents, so I encourage it while trying to keep communication. Not always easy, is it?
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