Updated: Oct 4, 2018
I love the Growing Up Smith episode on The Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch. I can totally related to parenting differently than you were raised. At times LeBrian and I ask the kids how we did or what could we have done differently. As a close net blended family, our lines were often blurred about discipline, choices and even future plans. Like Jada and Will, our co-parenting style was often looked at with side eye. Here are a few take aways from our parenting experiences.
1. Yes I have open communication with my husband’s ex-wife. She’s my babies' Momma. I wouldn’t be able to have incredible kids without her. She has given me permission to love her children like my own and I honor her for it. Her family is my family. They accepted me as the kids “other mother”; never treating me the "2nd wife" or anything other than who I am personally. My house is open to everyone. We are one family.
2. All of our children have the choice to follow their own dream and we support it. We do not force them to follow convention. Whatever they want to be in life, we find a way to support that ambition with mentoring, formal training, prayers and connections. We want them to be the best they can be even if it’s a tutu wearing, sanitation worker who DJ’s on the side. You be the best at it and Mama will get you ballet lessons, sanitizer and turntables. Just be the best human you can be.
3. We are your parents and we are your friend. We have open communication about sex, love, life, death and everything in between. We don’t mind being our kids best friend. Sometimes there’s a lot of TMI but hard conversations must happen. We have a motto: if you are in trouble, made a bad decision or you don’t want be in a certain place and you need a way out, call us. Don’t be afraid of condemnation or reprimand. Let’s make you safe and we’ll fuss later”.
Parenting our way means we parented each kid as an individual. We have family rules of respect, kindness and love. Each one needed something different. We are to provide what is necessary to raise them to be productive humans who serve their community and God. We also have to know when to take our hands off. We are not to "parent" for life yet we will be their parents for life. Yeah, we've made mistakes too yet I believe we did a pretty good job with Adrienne (29) , Kiersten(21) and Jared (17). Lets see how we do with Spencer (4). 😉