When I decided that I wanted to be a parent, I had a very clear sense of the type of parent I was going to strive to be – loving, kind, nurturing, and patient. My kids would want for nothing, but they wouldn’t be spoiled brats either.
I think being a good parent is not being afraid to say no. The importance of establishing boundaries with your children cannot be stressed enough. I have watched both Emilia and Francesca grow from beautiful, loving babies, to mature, empathetic, caring and confident toddlers. Just as important as it is to address bad behavior – Emilia biting Francesca’s arm as if it were a tasty sandwich, or Francesca taking Emilia’s book – it is important to appropriately reward good behavior. When the girls were potty trained before school began, I excitedly bought them “big girl” panties. Rewards can range from a visit the San Diego Zoo to a whole new library of animal books (Emilia’s favorite topic!). They love the theater and have taken them to see “Annie,” “Mary Poppins” and the “Lion King”. Staying up and watching basketball, baseball or football with me is seen as the ultimate reward.
I think the key to rewarding is not to overdo or misuse it. Whether it’s a special dinner or the “sick toy” when one or both of my girls are under the weather, I am very careful to not go “over the top!” I pay heed to the first words that my Aunt Tanya said to me when I told her I was having children, “Don’t spoil them!”