John and I raised our kids using our faith in God and the Bible’s teachings, common sense, and a whole lot of love. But I have to tell you there’s something (or ‘someone’) else I depended on for advice. She’s got a first-rate philosophy when it comes to raising kids. I mean this gal really knows her stuff. Her name? Momma Bear…Momma Berenstain Bear.
You might be laughing right now or even thinking all those years of raising my kids was harder on my brain than I’m willing to admit, but before you go that far, hear me out.
Momma Bear faced just about every issue a parent can face and wasn’t afraid to address these issues realistically, unapologetically, and the way every parent should—with respect, discipline, and love. For example…
When Sister Bear was faced with how to deal with the in-crowd (aka mean girls), Mamma’s words of wisdom were exactly what Sister (and our kids) needed to hear: “They show off for the crowd by picking on someone who has a certain kind of name or wears a certain kind of clothes. They try to build themselves up by putting others down.” In other words, you don’t need friends who treat other people unkindly in order to get attention.
And then there’s the issue of trusting your kids with the freedom of being out from under the umbrella of your supervision. Mamma Bear sums it up better than anyone when she says, “With privilege comes responsibility.” Remind your kids that every action we take has a consequence; good, bad or indifferent and that we all have to live with the consequences of our actions as well as the actions of others we associate with.
Momma Bear isn’t the only one in Bear County who knows what life is all about, though. When it comes to facing up to peer pressure without caving in, Farmer Ben had a few things to say worth repeating…like when he was talking to Brother Bear about going along with the members of a rowdy bunch of boys because he was too afraid to say no. Here’s what he told Brother, “…being a part of a group is okay-and maybe even having a leader. But you always have to think for yourself-especially about important things like what’s right and what’s wrong, and what’s safe and what’s dangerous.”
Here’s something else Momma Bear helped me teach my kids: I really do understand. When your kids play the ‘you don’t understand’ card, start sharing stories from your childhood and teen years and the outcome of the decisions you made (good and/or bad). Doing this builds a stronger bond between the two of you. They’ll hear first-hand that you really do understand the pressures they face to fit in. And who knows…they might even actually consider you a safe and viable source of support and advice in the future. I know that’s what happened in my house.
Momma Bear reminded me why it is important to hold our kids accountable for the lies they tell, to own their mistakes, not to put too much pressure on them, to not judge people based on what they look like, and a plethora of other important things. But most of all, Momma Bear reminded me (and my kids) that at the end of the day knowing that you are loved with that ‘just because’ kind of unconditional love is what matters most.
Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.