Raising Kids: A Dozen Positive Parenting Tips

What drives a mother crazy

In my household, raising two children did not compare to the chaos of growing up in a household of six kids, two dogs, a cat named Jack, a black and white rat, a canary, one Dutch rabbit, a guinea pig who matched the colors of the rat, two gerbils, (both male), a garter snake, a litter of white mice, one maternal grandmother and two biological parents. That was in our Detroit suburban home, not out in the rural Michigan countryside.

Years later, as I muddled through the dark ages of adolescence with my own teens, frequently lamenting to my mother, I understood why my mother looked forward to her daily cocktail hour: we had driven her to drink!

American novelist, J.D. Salinger, stated, “Mothers are all slightly insane”. Experienced moms know there is a ring of truth to this statement. New mothers, full of bliss, awe and trepidation, may still need a few more years…or kids, to ‘get it’.

One of the more interesting Mothers Day gifts I received from my, then 10 and 8 yr old daughters, was a red ribbon award that had a button attached stating, ‘Certifiably Crazy’.

What?” thought I, slightly miffed at what I perceived as a less than flattering measure of my motherhood. Gazing at their beaming faces, I realized the endearment behind the gesture. A testament to my ability to be a fun mom sometimes, and I had almost missed the joke. Twenty years later, I still have that ribbon tucked away in a keepsake box. Mothers are like that.

What makes a mom

I wasn’t always deemed a fun mom. My title back then was, ‘the-meanest-mom-on-the-block’. I wore it proudly. I was the only mom, apparently, who did not allow her children to do anything the other kids were allowed to do, including letting them stay up as long as they wanted or allowing them to watch MTV. In addition, I was the only mom who made her kids do stuff they did not want to do-like chores and wearing boots during slush season.

Their frustration with my limit setting never intimidated me. As far as I was concerned, it was mere proof that I was doing the job I took on when I brought them into this world. It was my duty, therefore, to impart bits of sensibility into their pea brains so they could one day leave me alone! The way I figured it, the faster I taught them independence, the quicker I would have my home back to myself.

A lesson learned from my mother: how to be a loving parent even with rules. It brought out a heavy dose of both compassion and guilt, for her situation, and all the grief we caused her growing up

Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mother was deemed one of the ‘cool’ moms in our neighborhood. With the menagerie we had, one would think she was a laid-back farm girl, who moved into the burbs. Not so. She was a city girl from Detroit, who relocated because that’s where my father’s job as a tool and die maker was.

What made her cool was the open door policy she kept for anyone who stopped by. It was our home that attracted friends for baseball and football games, hockey, on our homemade ice rink, and treasure hunting. I cannot begin to recount how many huge holes we dug up in our backyard, searching for gold, yet my mother never complained.

It was our kitchen table we would gather around, to eat bowls of cherries from the tree my dad had planted, talking about life-until my mom would shoo everyone back to their own houses. It was her listening ear, that got bent from the after school dramas, while she cooked offering cookies and wisdom when my girlfriends sought her advice.

Positive Parenting Skills

Instills Value
Self Love
Honor the developmental stages
Instills Value
Instills Confidence
Instills Acceptance

Tips for being an influential mother with guaranteed success:

If you follow these 12 'simple' steps you are bound to meet with Motherhood success:

1. Remember your own childhood issues-this does not mean transferring your issues onto your children, which some mothers do, but recalling issues that concerned you as a child and teen and handling them with sensitivity when your children experiences them is a sign of a compassionate parent.

2. Advocate for your child. Complacency has no place in parenting. We must show by action, not words, that we have our child’s back. This does not mean that you will believe every story your child tells verbatim; but it does mean that your child will know that if there is a bully issue or an injustice that occurs in school or in the home, that you will stand up for him when he is powerless to do so.

3. Allow your child to receive her licks without interference; then, help her process what happened. Although we want to protect and rescue our child when something bad happens, it is important that we teach her how to make good decisions and how to accept the consequences of her choices when she meets with failure. Rescuing a child every time they are in trouble-whether at school or other authorities, does a disservice to her.

4. Be aware-there is nothing worse than a parent who chooses denial and ignorance. The mere act of keeping one’s eyes, ears, and brains on alert with children is scoring high in the game. If your child knows that you are going to be asleep at the wheel of parenting they will test running the show. Instead, show them that you remember being a kid and that nothing is going to get past you. Part of being a parent is trust, part of it is bluff that you know what is going on-even if you only suspect.

5. Don’t be afraid to set limits and stick to them. Children need boundaries to feel safe enough to flourish. Remember: they have not been in the world as long as you have and therefore really do not know what the heck they are doing, although they profess a good argument. It is our jobs, as their mothers, to remind them who’s really in charge, gradually letting them have more and more independence and responsibility.

6. Teach by example. There is a wonderful poem that I became aware of as a new mom called, Children learn what they live. It is one of the best pieces of advice I received, and attempted to emulate. The other came from Kahilil Gibran: On Children, and that children are gifts from God-we are merely caretakers during their time that they have been given to us. When we show our children that we are not giving mere lip-service to what we expect them to do, but we actually follow our own rules, it teaches them respect.

7. Teach morals-it never goes out of style, despite whatever else may be happening in the world.

8. Practice forgiveness-when we are willing to fully forgive and forget we give our children a valuable gift-the ability to be accepted for whom they are, unconditionally loved, and that everyone makes mistakes, but it does not mean the end of the world.

9. Have a sense of humor and use it often! This is one of the best pieces of advice for any parent to follow. If we cannot laugh at ourselves and our follies we may as well roll into a corner and die. It is an essential attribute of motherhood to allow plenty of laughter and joy into the household.

10. Keep an open mind-when you tell your child that she can tell you ANYTHING without concern that she will be in trouble, keep your word. Don't be reactive, but actively listen and respond, or stay silent, according to the situation. This will keep trust and an open communication.

11. Communicate-set clear expectations and explanation of consequences; own your feelings and admit your mistakes; teach your child to communicate his feelings clearly as well.

12. Love, love, love…This cannot be emphasized enough. Our children deserve to know they are loved, not by what they achieve, how good their grades are, or how well they please us, but just for being who they are-divine children of the Universe-spiritual beings that happened to land in our lives. There can never be enough unconditional love in the world.

Song: A Mother's Love

Love and other gifts my mother gave to me

Mother's Day is a time for celebration, reminiscing, rejoicing or recanting. Some have been blessed with childhood experiences that are filled with positive parenting. Others, have not fared so well. Have you thought of your mother today and the gifts she has given you?

My mother gave me the gift of reading. She was an avid reader and read bedtime stories to us every night. It was a ritual: bath time, prayers, and a story. Warm, cozy pajamas, snuggling on the couch, she would read aloud, as we fought to see the pictures. In turn, I have read to my children, and now, to my children’s children…always with a thought for my mother.

She loved to dance. She was a wonderful dancer and, always young at heart, danced throughout her life. When I was nine she brought me to the local dance studio, giving up her own tap lessons in order for me to take ballet. We enjoyed attending many a ballet together at the Detroit Opera House. Years later, she applauded, and landed a role as Story Lady, when I opened my own dance studio.

Having a sense of humor is a tool of survival for motherhood. It is what gets us through the worse of the times. Our ability to laugh at ourselves, as our child develops, that keeps us sane…and allows us to go a bit crazy, too. My mother loved kids, had extras around all the time, and enjoyed a good joke. I’m grateful for the sense of humor that was imparted onto me.

Motherhood is a thankless job for a very long time. Then, they really do grow up and you create an adult relationship with them. If you are truly blessed, as I am, you get grandchildren to enjoy, too.

I’m grateful that I am a mother and a grandmother. I tip my hat to all mothers, young and old.

Photo Flash from 'Grandma's Brag Book'

Ready for Storytime
Ready for Storytime | Source

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Comments 46 comments

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wordscribe41 6 years ago

No doubt, a loving parent is one with rules. My kids don't always understand that, but showing love is setting boundaries. What a lovely read on this fine Mother's Day I'm having with my little ones. Our home always has a gaggle of kids about, like your mom's house. I love it that way. I got a laugh about the holes in the backyard, I used to do that in my own yard as a kid. Fabulous read, welcome to HubPages!

thevoice profile image

thevoice 6 years ago from carthage ill

beautiful hub God loves all mother enjoy cherish all my mother died two years ago thanks

mse profile image

mse 6 years ago from texas

Finally, I have met another meanest mom! I knew I wasn't the only one!

Anamika S profile image

Anamika S 6 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

Wow! That was a wonderful Hub. I enjoyed reading it. I especially like your opening lines...

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago

Welcome to HubPages. I, too, had a mean mom and became one myself. Loved the hub.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. I'm glad I FINALLY took the step off the cliff and joined.

Wordscribe41-are your kids hunting for treasure in your yard now? LOL

thevoice-condolensces. Some days are easier than others. My first Christmas w/o her was the most difficult. She died Christmas morning 2005. Ea Christmas is a challenge.

mse and joni-LOL. I think there is actually a 'mean mom club' now. No kidding. It came up when I googled 'mom'. No regrets though-I have awesome daughters.

Anamika S.- Namaste...you were my first follower. Thanks for the nudge. We have much in common, sister.

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christac 6 years ago

Great job MOM. But pea brain...? Really????

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Sorry, hon. Much better flow...really. Got the exact response I had gone for-laughter. :) Love you. You know its not true. LOL

ceil handlon 6 years ago

Denise your writings about growing up,precious moments with your mother & family (dad too) really touched my heart. You have such a natural talent for expressing your thoughts, I loved it! And how blessed with 2 wonderful daughters & their families. YOUR mother was very special, I truly count her as one of my most cherished friends.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Aunt Ceil,

Thanks for taking the time to read my work. I know you and mom were such good friends. She is missed by many!

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jnshellhart 6 years ago

Loved your essay Dee. I can't wait to read more. You have always been a talented woman. I know too many women, afraid to take that first step in sharing their writing.... afraid of rejection (it happens, so what, learn from it and move on)....afraid of revealing too much of themselves (thank goodness that happens too).... afraid it won't be perfect (You and I both know we learn more from the opps than the few close to perfect things we did in life)....keep writing.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Joyce, so glad you took the time to read the piece. Your feedback is right on! Thanks for the compliment, but YOU are the talented one. Miss hangin' out with you. :) Lots of memories to reminisce and write about...

2uesday profile image

2uesday 6 years ago

I enjoyed reading this Denise, thank you. I think at times I may have been the one with the pea brain when my children asked questions I could not answer without getting a book out of the library. : )

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

That's funny, 2uesday. One of my two daughter's caught that and commented (christac-3 days ago) but, all in good humor.

Thanks for the read.

angel4todd profile image

angel4todd 6 years ago from louisiana

I really enjoyed reading this story. Thank you.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

thank you, angel4todd, for taking the time to read it-and offer a comment. Appreciate it.

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Lovely tribute to motherhood. I remember my mother with deep affection and respect. All mothers have my admiration. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

Love and peace


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks TonyMac for taking the time to read it-appreciate.



kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

Haha, from the beginning when you wrote "Who's crazy now?" you had me interested. This was just great. Good read.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

HaHa. It was fun. My first hub landed on Mothers Day, and it was important to me to play tribute to my mother. But, I LOVE humor and the way it comes through in life. It was truly a creative moment that came from an inspiration beyond me. When I hit that first line, I knew I was on a roll. LOL. Thanks for taking the time to 'go back' to my previous writings.

fetty profile image

fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Beautifully written and very moving, funny account of motherhood. Your childhood sounded great. Sorry your mother passed on Christmas Day that had to hurt. Your writing is passionate , witty and right on. Great hub!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi fetty-thanks for taking time to read the hub. I think humor is a wonderful tool of life. I appreciate your comments.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

What a wonderful tribute to your Mom. I rated this hub up across the board! Loved the light-hearted and oft times funny beginning, the appreciation of the gifts she gave you in the center, the wise rules toward the end, and the bonus cookie recipe.

I totally agree that, "Our children deserve to know they are loved, not by what they achieve, how good their grades are, or how well they please us, but just for being who they are-divine children of the Universe-spiritual beings that happened to land in our lives. There can never be enough unconditional love in the world."

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Gail-this was my very first hub. It was Mother's Day w/e (of course) when I became a member and I could not think of a more suitable topic than to pay tribute to the woman who brought words to me at a very young age.

The rest of the story is that at some point after all of the changes at HP began (first of the year) they 'tagged' this hub and yanked it off publication. It was so frustrating. At first, I merely got a 'general' letter which infuriated me even more. They termed it 'substandard' which insulted me. (Can you tell I have a tad Irish blood in me? Between that and my Italian mother I can be a bit hottempered at times). Long story short I emailed them with a piece of my mind for not being specific. They countered with: Too much personal info and not enough 'usefulness'.

Are you kidding me? I thought it was 'anything goes' except adult material and gambling hubs? So, I added the 'cookie recipe' as my contribution to 'useful'. It still was rejected.

Out of protest I kept it on the shelf for a very, long time. I felt that if I had to 'compromise' the story it would take away from the authenticity of it. But, it bothered me that this hub - my first one, was no longer published. I was in conflict until one moment of clarity flashed: my hub was filled with tips on parenting, just round them up and add them to the end-no change in the original story and make it less memoir and more education. It worked, I posted the change, asked for a review and it was accepted.

That was the reference I made in my hub: the good the bad and the ugly.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I like your analysis.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I'm glad you were able to find a way to make this lovely tribute to your Mom "acceptable" for publication. The new guidelines are frustrating and confusing to all of us, especially hubbers like you and me who use personal stories to help teach others.

I had my first experience with a recent hub being tagged (Bullies Young and Old, Repressed Memories and Therapeutic Healing.) Because it had references about domestic violence in it the ads got disabled by HP, but I was allowed to keep it published, which was my main consideration. Even though it was mostly memoir, I had added domestic violence and hotline information and was glad that I was able to keep that section posted.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Gail--you're right, it is frustrating for writers such as us who have a particular writing style.

I'm a bit confused about your statement. Are you saying that b/c your article referenced domestic violence google disabled it? or that the HP team disabled it? Either way, it does not make any sense. What was wrong with it? Are we not supposed to write about this very real issue in our society??? Please clarify for me. Thanks.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I assumed it was Hub Pages that originally tagged the hub with the 'ads disabled symbol'. I didn't pursue it with anyone at HP because when I clicked on the information regarding the reason the ads were disabled it said something about being related to violent content in the hub and that the hub had already been read and reviewed by HP so it was not likely this decision would change. I didn't, and still don't, care about the ads, just wanted to keep the hub up as a memoir and also to provide the domestic violence hotline and resource information for those who may currently be dealing with this issue. The original message said I could go in and permanently disable the ads myself and leave the hub up which is what I did and then the 'ads disabled symbol' went away and the hub's remained published.

I really don't understand what the issue with the ads is, but apparantly the content of the hub was within HP standards and I didn't have to make any changes or additions to the content. Makes no sense but that's the way I understood it.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Makes no sense to me either. Glad you were able to keep it posted. It was excellent. I've visited your site again on the selfimporvement site. I think I would like to do something like that-join I mean. Any suggestions or tips I need to know before doing so? Thanks.

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I'll send you more information in a private email and will then send you an invite to join.

sholland10 profile image

sholland10 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Voted UP and AWESOME!! I think you have a great "Mommy Resume"!! I love the 12 tips, which all of us need to apply! I am going to share this on Facebook. LOL Just can't help myself. ;-)

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Susan. The '12 tips' actually was an addendum. Why? Because, this hub had been yanked for 'too much personal material' back in Dec. 2010 when the first sweep of changes came through.

It was my very first hub, a tribute to my mother, and...as I THOUGHT I understood in the 'rules' when I joined, a memoir was acceptable.

Not so months later. I was so upset that I kept it off for a very long time. But, I was torn. I really wanted it published. First I tried to add the 'cookie' recipe, but that was not good enough and they still rejected it.

So, after meditating about it the solution finally came to me. Hence, the 12 tips.

Thanks for reading. I really am partial to it, LOL Thanks for the vote and the FB share. I appreciate it.

midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Great tips for all moms....so glad you've shared! Thanks for a reflective and very insightful hub!

Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Denise interesting hub and I loved your points about universal things about parenting which move through the generations. Your list is a useful one too, though as a parent myself, I know sometimes I get it wrong :o(

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks. I appreciate you stopping by and reading it this morning. Actually, it was a Mother's Day tribute two years ago and is mostly about my experience of watching my mother and learning from her...but, the tips can sure be applied to dads, too.

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Jools-I appreciate your feedback. We all get it 'wrong' at times. Thank goodness the heart has the capacity to forgive...

Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

This is an essential parenting hub, Denise.. full of sensible, practical and insightful advice. You are a great mother and it shows in your words and thoughts. I think this advice will equally apply to Dads although mothers do get a short shrift when it comes to the constant contact and pressures of keeping the balance between nurture and challenge just right. Beautifully said!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Docmo, thanks so much for your kind feedback. I appreciate your words. :) Parenting, as difficult as it is at times, is one of the most rewarding things I've involved myself with. I love being a mom and a grandmother now. Thanks again.

By the way...this one was a tribute to my deceased mother for Mother's Day, but I also paid tribute to the fathers in a hub you may already have read: Sacrifices of Fathers. Check it out if you haven't already and add yourself to the list of one of the good guys.

btrbell profile image

btrbell 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Good advice! And you are a shining example of how it's done!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Randi-thanks for reading this one, and I appreciate your compliment. :) (blush, blush). Hope you are doing well.

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Thanks Denise, if you had not told me about the title of this then I may have simply thought of it as a parenting Hub. I did not see the original, but you have my compliments on the way that this turned out. :-) Since I do not have kids, I saw the moms part. I voted up and A/B/I. Shared and pinned.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

Great tips Denise. You should write a book! LOL! I bet your kids appreciate you now. I like # 12 the best !

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Kevin-thanks for reading this one, dear to my heart. I appreciate your feedback and votes/share. :)

Hello Suzette...thanks for your feedback and yes, my kids do appreciate me now. In fact, deja vu-they sound like me when I hear them reason with their own kids, lol. #12 is my favorite, also.

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

You are welcome Denise. It took me a minute to recognize the title of this when it show up - then I remembered what it was! :-)


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Ha ha That is funny. :) Thanks for remembering! Enjoy your weekend.

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

I may take a while to remember, but I do not forget. :-) You have a nice weekend too.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Kevin...I will keep that in mind-unless I forget! lol Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July w/e. :)

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