Why I think my kids are better than yours
Ahhhhhhhaaaaaa! I got you! I made you click through.
No no. I don't think my kids are better than yours. In fact Rylie, my five year old, was literally lounging on the couch the other day and screamed at the top of her lungs "HEY...I'M HUNGRY!"
Can ya blame a girl? You gotta try out things in life and see who will come a runnin'. Instead she lost her new Hatchimal. Take that kid.
But seriously, my kids are pretty great when they're not being total sh*theads and making me drink.
And this post isn't about how great they are, or how great yours are, cause I imagine you're doing a great job even if you say to yourself "Why did we have another kid again?" Which I have been known to say a few times in my life.
You know why? Cause she's just like me! She looks like her dad and acts like me. What comes around goes around.
But I digress.
This post is really the top 5 ways I have successfully encouraged the creative process in my kids.
1. I try to let them do it their way
Trust me, it's hard not to fix something for them, especially in the creative world. Example: my daughter currently writes words down the page instead of left to right. I don't know, maybe she lived in China in a past life. I asked her why and she said all nonchalant like "cause I do b*tch".
No! She didn't say that, but she looked at me with those sorta eyes. If she did I'd probably be proud because it's a good laugh line. I'd also be jealous I didn't make it up.
I see it as a choice. I know that because at school when she writes she writes left to right. She's brilliant obviously.
2. I talk to them like adults
This was one of the singular best things my parents did for me. They did not speak in a high pitched voice that can be construed as condescending. I'm not saying I don't soothe them when they hurt themselves or sound loving when they fail. I mean that I speak frankly and use big words.
Well big words for me. I'm not exactly the book smart type, hello I wrote Real Housewives The Musical and played Britney Spears for most of Ryder's early childhood. As he says #awkward.
I admit that it was perhaps confusing for Ryder to see his mom gyrating to the opening song of Becoming Britney, "Millionaire Whore", some of my best work, mind you. Shout out to Daya Curley my co-writer!
The point is, Kurt and I both talk with them and yes some of the time to them in an adult manner, with adult expectations. As a result they both speak like adults, even from the age of two or so.
Ryder literally was holding up a phone to his ear at age 3 1/2 at Peet's coffee. A friend of mine went to say hello. He held up one finger and somewhat politely, perhaps with a shade of adult annoyance said "Sorry, I'm on a conference call, one second."
The best part? She BELIEVED him. Just. The. Best.
3. We allow them to create on social media
More Ryder at age 11 than Rylie age 5. But how can you tell a kid that they shouldn't be able to work out something on social media when they see their mom doing it throughout my entire career.
I get it, it's not for everyone and you can have your own opinion, but I simply love the fact that Ryder knows how to make a segment on YouTube with an intro and an outro. I feel a sense of pride as if he's come home with an SAT score of 1590. Is that how they score the SAT nowadays? I'm gettin' old.
Rylie is currently imitating her favorite YouTubers and runs around the house making videos of her life. She says "Hey guys, it's me Rylie, let me take you on a tour of the house". At the end she says "Thanks guys! Don't forget to like and subscribe and tell me what you loved in the comments."
Adorbs in my opinion.
We don't really post them because they're shaky and will make you throw up but she is learning valuable skills that will carry her through life. Sure they might be mortified when they see the work they did when they were kids but I have a feeling they'll think it's worth the humiliation because they're working on their 10,000 hours. Malcolm Gladwell in case you didn't get the reference.
4. We encourage an open mindset
Carol Dweck's book, Mindset is all about having an open mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. For instance, the ability to fail and move through it without thinking that you'll never succeed again. Grit, by Angela Duckworth is another one I found so helpful for both myself and my children. The power of passion and perseverance is something I prioritize in Ryder & Rylie's lives.
Failure can be used to your creative advantage if you're willing to go back and learn from the pitfalls. It's true, some people are born with an open mindset, and Ryder definitely was. He isn't fazed by failure at all. Sometimes to a fault.
Don't worry, despite the fact that he does think he's a-maz-ing at most things-the kid has the confidence of an elephant- we also like to knock him down a few pegs and say you're still learning, start again.
But many people have a closed mindset. It can halt creativity and leave you paralyzed for years. The great news is an open mindset can be achieved with practice. I've taught it for many years and have witnessed children and adults move from closed to open, and launch themselves into creative achievements that they would ordinarily never have reached.
You can see this directly in my dance class. I can tell within 30 seconds if someone will stay or leave. Closed mindset, they tend to leave. Open mindset, they usually stay. My trick is to get to them before that moment and tell them that indeed it will be frustrating and they are going to feel like a giant ass, but if they give it 3-4 classes they will feel a huge sense of confidence that will carry them through the day. And sweaty.
One other important point of mindset is to is to say to your child "Good job, you did so great because you worked hard at it." Rather than "You're so smart." This instills the idea that you have to hone your creative skills.
5. We don't put that much worry into school or college in the future
I think my kids are more book smart than I ever was. I married a guy with smart genes from a smart family. However, we don't spend a ton of time worrying about grades, getting them set up for AP classes (even though we are nowhere near that age), or needlessly worrying over the fact that Ryder still takes a lot of time figuring out his times tables.
I literally guessed at those in elementary school. I would look at the paper as I was being timed and write things like 43, um 79, how about 63? Eventually my mom got called in to the school. I turned out fine.
I'm not saying we don't care about school. We do. We just don't worry too much about it.
I hope my kids will go to college, if there is indeed college by the time they're older. College is where I learned discipline and life skills. However, it's not a huge priority to set them up for a 4.7 grade point average. If they do it, that's awesome. I ain't gonna complain. I hope it pays for college.
I'd rather have them enjoy their creative childhood, learn discipline in what the excel at, and teach them people skills, which in my mind is much more useful. You can always learn a skill. It's harder to teach interpersonal skills when someone gets older.
Bonus: All of this sounds like bragging about my kids and I hope that's not what you got from this
We have made intentional choices that have resulted in children who draw without fear, who try out new jokes that don't land and then teach them to go back and switch a few words to make it better, and who aren't afraid to show be authentic in their art. They live life out loud. It's awesome.
Don't worry, they're little sh*ts too. And your kid will probably be the lawyer getting my kids out of a jam. Thanks in advance.