Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Don't worry; be a happy parent

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28 2014 3:15 p.m. MST

And I couldn’t help but notice the look he gave me. It was almost to say, “Yeah right, mom. It’s just some squiggly lines. Why are you freaking out?”

“Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality,” writes Caprino.

But I want my children to feel like their efforts are appreciated.

A few days later, my 3-year-old brought me another picture.

“What is this?” I asked again.

“It’s a ducky, it’s a ducky, it’s a ducky!” he sang. He seemed very proud of himself.

“It is a ducky!” I said and smiled. “You drew a ducky. That looks great!”

This time, he smiled big and got out some tape to hang it up on our fridge, which is now completely covered in drawings.

His reaction to my reaction was what surprised me the most. Genuine compliments are more accepted than sugar-coated praise.

In his recent acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, actor Matthew McConaughey said his mother strongly encouraged adventure and hard work.

“If it was daylight, you had to be outside playing, and we’d go, ‘Why, mom?’ and she’d say, ‘Don’t watch somebody on TV do it for you, go out and do it for yourself.’ ” Because of her encouragement and support, McConaughey’s mother was a positive influence in her son’s life.

“Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence,” Caprino writes.

The best influence. That's a lot of responsibility.

Dr. Time Elmore, author of “Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future,” “Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults” and “Habitudes,” shares:

“It’s important for parents to become exceedingly self-aware of their words and actions when interacting with their children, or with others when their children are nearby. Care enough to train them, not merely treat them to a good life. Coach them, more than coddle."

Part of taking the worrying out of living is the knowledge that you’re continually striving to do your best and teach correct principles by training and coaching and then allowing your kids to fall, fail and find themselves. That, I think, is the toughest, most crucial part.

If I’ve learned one thing during these five years of mommyhood, it’s that most of us are just trying to do our best and most of the time, things work out. When knowledge is sought after, answers are found.

And sometimes, calling your son out in front of his friends will make him think twice about picking his nose.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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