My Parenting Northstar: Juno (and no, I am not referring to a celestial object)

I sometimes get asked by folks who find out that I am a parent 4 kids if I have any parenting principles (the answer is yes, sort of) and what would be my recommended reading list of parenting guides or manuals that I rely upon (which is what this blog is about).

The answer isn’t Dr. Spock or the more updated Supernanny Jo Frost. I have read up on their methods and those of countless other writers. And I do draw upon their advice and  methods. But with often conflicting views from different “experts”, how do you decide who to listen to?

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Just as in business and career where I am more of a big picture person who operates guided by a Northstar, so am I as a parent. And that Northstar in my parenting strategy is the movie Juno (2007).

Now, I need stress upfront: My vision of success is not a swearing, drinking, junk-food-bingeing pregnant teenage daughter.

One scene however in the movie really resonated with me: when the titular character Juno walks into her parents’ living room and tells them she is pregnant and has decided to give birth to the baby and give it up for adoption. Her parents were disappointed and momentarily stunned but recovered very quickly and were calm, respectful and supportive of their daughter’s decision. And they journeyed with her through ultrasounds, meetings with the prospective adoptive parents of the baby, her tribulations attending school as a pregnant 16 year old and eventually the birth.

I hope I can be that parent, the one  that my kids will always feel safe to come home to, no matter how bad the situation they are dealing with. And I hope, when they bring it to me, I can be as calm, respective and supportive as Mac and Bren (Juno’s parents) were.

So, every time I come to a cross road in parenting, I try and remember to ask myself which path takes me closer to that Northstar and which one leads me away. And no matter how hard it would be (and sometimes it is hard in a conservative society that judges), I do my best to pick the one that I believe will bring me closer to being the Mac and Bren to my kids.

So far, it seems to be working. My eldest who turns 15 this year wants me to take her clubbing, dancing and drinking when she turns 18. I have 3 years and 4 months to hold the keel of my parenting boat steady as I continue to sail towards the Northstar. It will be the coolest coming-of-age party any 18 year old girl gets, I promise.

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