Friday, May 20, 2011

What writing taught me about parenting

You would think that reading parenting books would teach you about parenting, but I've actually learned just as much from my books about writing. A few examples:
  1. Show Don't Tell  Or, in parenting parlance: actions speak louder than words.
  2. Keep it simple  Don't use language that your audience doesn't understand. Use short sentences and clear wording to get the point across (I wish my students would do this).
  3. Everything should happen for a reason  Otherwise known as natural and logical consequences (we need to use these a LOT in our house).
  4. Don't lecture your reader  Or your kids, any more than you have to. They tune out words, which is why #1 and #3 are more effective.
  5. Don't underestimate your audience  Think they won't remember that you promised them a new book if they were good at the store? Think again.
  6. Try not to criticize  The kids, your partner/spouse, or yourself. Focus on the positive.
  7. Let your character's think  Your kids, too. They'll thank you for it.
What else can we learn about parenting from writing?


  1. Great list - so true! And how about giving yourself time to think? Sometime it's important to wait a moment to speak until you have just the right words.

  2. End all statements with a period. (Great for making sure that they need to comply)

    Use good word choices. (Avoid sarcasm and name-calling when frustrated.)

    Plot out your action before writing. (Plan consequences for kids while with a cool head. Don't punish in the heat of the moment.)

  3. These were great Allison. I especially liked the show don't tell :)


  4. Great connections Alison. Don't sweat the small stuff is a big one for me. Still trying on that one lol.

  5. So true. So true. Communicate emotion. Kids want to see that we're human too. Explain things. (Keep it simple, but don't lecture.) Oh, and REVISION! As parents, we're always revising how things work. If the consequences don't work one way, then we're actively seeking another route to make things work. I just posted about show, don't tell on my blog today, too. But it wasn't related to parenting.

  6. Good advice!

    I also really like Jeanne's addition "use good word choices". Made me laugh.

    I'll add this:
    It's harder than it looks (if you want to do it right)!

    The Write Soil

  7. I'm a little late to the party, but that is such good advice. I'll need to remember those that I'm not so great about. Thanks!

  8. Excellent additions! Jeanne--terrific advice. I'll have to remember those. :)

  9. Very true and good advice. It's interesting how everything kind of relates to each other in life if you let it. I'll try to remember that actions thing, but it's always a tough one when you're mouthy!

  10. I'm not likely to be a parent any time soon, I think, but those are certainly good pieces of advice for a writer.

    By the way, I'm running a poll for what book I should read and share my thoughts about next on the Kelworth Files, and I really need book lovers, (particularly science fiction and fantasy) to give me their opinion. So, come by and check out the poll options!