How not to parent

Nobody has written a decent book on parenting.

That opinion is formed from the fact that I have never read books on parenting.

Children are so uniquely different that they require differing approaches to help them learn.

While my children had a model mother (my wife), the same could not be said about their father (me).

When my oldest son was three or four years old, he drove past my business and said to his friend, “That is my Dad’s other home!”

That came back to me pretty quickly from the kid’s parents. Whoops! 

That is when I stepped up to the plate. I sold all my rock-climbing equipment for $10 to a young couple from Quebec who thought all their Christmases had come at once, and I knuckled down.

I took my job as a father seriously from that point forward. As seriously as I knew how at least.

One of my first lessons to my oldest son would perhaps be a whole chapter in a parenting book about how not to raise your children.

My heart was in the right place. I was concerned about bad influences in my children’s lives, so one beautiful, sunny evening in Canmore, I gave my son a real-life lesson.

We were sitting on the deck of a restaurant called the Sherwood House. I don’t think my son would have been older than 7 or 8. We were all looking up at the beautiful mountains surrounding Canmore, which was a little more of a sleepy town than it is today.

My son was drinking a glass of Coke. 

An idea came to me, from where I have no clue. I’m sure if you get these types of ideas you would not listen to them, but, being a little impulsive, I thought I would follow through.

I asked my son to play a game with me. It would be fun, I said.

I told him to put the straw up one nostril, hold the other one closed and then breathe in quickly.

Of course, he was keen to learn from this experiment. He followed my cruel instructions to the T.

He erupted into a serious bout of coughing and spluttering. Choking on Coke, I am sure, not very comfortable. 

I looked at him calmly and gave him his lesson.

“Remember this experiment. If at any point in your life someone asks you to snort coke, you tell them you have done it and it is a very stupid idea.”

Neither of my kids does drugs.

I was never arrested by social services for my brazen act of tomfoolery and I probably should have read a parenting book or two.

Following that life lesson, I offered to take me kids for a stroll though East Vancouver, which they were never inclined to do….

I can understand why.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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