BabyChatter Ezine
Baby Names, Baby Freebies, Coupons & Offers, &
Parenting and Baby Information
June 14, 2001, Issue 29
Teri Hanson, Editor, info@babychatter.com

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=> Welcome
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=> This Week’s Freebies, Deals and Fun
=> Feature Article: “Becoming Real to the Children in Your Life”
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Becoming Real to the Children in Your Life
By KellyAnn Bonnell, MA

Becoming real to a child means that you have made a significant impact in their lives. It means you are an individual with whom the children in your life feel safe and loved. You are a person in their lives who will be there not just during the good times; and you will love them even when they make mistakes. Becoming real to a child
does not mean you have to be their biological parent or even the person they live with. You become real when you have meaning for them.

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Male Involvement conference in Phoenix, Arizona. The keynote speaker was a man who has done groundbreaking working in the field of fatherhood. One of the most powerful statements he made was in reference to children without fathers in their lives. He said that children without fathers will always find a someone put in the role of their father. Children will always find someone in their life to look up to whether that person is a teacher, an uncle, a coach, etc. I believe this is true of both parents.

I lost my mother when I was fourteen years old. I lived with my stepmother and siblings while my father was out of the country in the military. I “adopted” the parents of my best friend in high school. At thirty-two, they are still “mom” and “dad” to me. They are the parents I turn to in time of gladness and sadness. I found a set of parents in the absence of my own. Children will always find someone. Let it be you. Become REAL to the children in your life.

So what is a real parent? Am I a “real” parent because I am home when my children get home from school? Are you a “real” parent because you coach little league baseball? Is a parent any less a “real” parent because he/she works outside the home? What makes us real parents?

Just as in anything, we, as adults, have certain preconceived ideas regarding what it is to be a parent. We form these ideas from our childhood experiences, good and bad, from media representations of parents and from the models we have seen throughout our lives. We may or may not have expectations of being the kind of parents that raised us. In any case our ideas have the potential to help or hurt our relationships with our children.

Our children are not us. They do not have the same expectations about parents that we do. They have certain fundamental needs for nurturing and guidance. They have both a desire and physical need to be loved. It is our job to help them become successful adults who will contribute to society. Whether we do that the way our parents did or did not do that for us doesn’t really matter to our children. When they become adults, they just care that we have done our job as parents.

I asked my son what made a mommy or a daddy a real mommy or a real daddy. He responded that he didn’t know. I asked him to think about it for me. I’ll let you know if he comes up with a definition.

So how do we parent for the future while remembering the child of today? We have to become real to them under their definitions. We have to be there for them when they need a parent, we have to respect them, accept them, encourage them, and love them. We have to be honest with them.

This article is brought to you by MyParentCoach.com. MyParentCoach.com delivers professional, one-on-one parent education and support to parents wanting to improve their relationships with their children. You can visit us on the web at

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