A therapist has gone viral for sharing some of the rules she has when caring for her children, and it has started a viral conversation about the do's and don'ts of parenting.
Jessica MacNair, who goes by the username @strongtherapy on TikTok, recently posted a video series in which she explains the things she would never do with her own kids. The combined clips now have over 600,000 views.
"As a licensed therapist who's been in practice for over 20 years, here are 5 things I don't do with my kids," she said in the first clip.
"Number one — I ask for consent when I go to hug my kids. I teach them the importance of bodily autonomy and advocating for themselves, and saying no when they're uncomfortable."
"Number two — I don't comment on their bodies. I discuss the importance of physical exercise and nutrition, but we just don't talk about bodies, and I don't talk about my own body in front of them."
"Number three — I don't talk about [my personal] finances in front of my kids. I don't talk about how much money I make, or where my money goes. That's not for them to be concerned about."
"Number four — I don't compare my kids to each other, or ask them for a change that's more like their sibling."
And finally, "Number five — I don't place value on food, and I don't reward or punish with it."
In addition to being a mother herself, Jess has counseled many parents, and she revealed that the rules were decided based on her experiences working through various issues with them.
"I had seen this trend of people in their fields putting five things up for everybody else who isn't in the same field and might want some insight into what not to do, so I thought all right, well, I have experience with this. So, let me offer my two cents in an area that I know a little bit about," she told BuzzFeed.
The video prompted a discussion in the comments, and many people expressed approval of the standards.
A lot of people praised the money rule, citing their own past experiences being raised without it.
A few were curious about some of the other rules, including the one that involved food.
Jess later answered the question in another video. "Food has no moral value, so when you start to pair foods with 'rewards' or 'punishment,' then you're giving it a value that has a hold over children. So instead, I might take my kids out for ice cream because we like the taste, not because they got good grades or performed well on something."
Since the first clip was so popular, Jess made a second video in continuation of the series, where she gives five more guidelines about parenting. In this clip, she gives her insight on things like addressing a child's sexual expression, emotions, academic performance, behavior incentives, and respect for elders.
"Here are five more things I do not do with my children as a licensed therapist," she said in the beginning of the clip. "Number one — I do not shame or judge them for anything related to sexuality or gender expression. They can use any pronouns that they want, and they can express any feelings toward any gender, and it is all okay in my household."
"Number two — they can express any emotion or feeling that they want — big or small — and I will hold it all, and I will never judge them for how they choose to express themselves," she continued.
"Number three — this might be a controversial one, but I don't place value on grades, and I don't judge them for what grades they bring home," she explained in the clip. "I work alongside of them and their teachers to work on any things that might need improvement at school, but there's no value judgement attached to it."
"Number four — I do not use fear as a motivational tool — that one's self explanatory."
She ended the video with this — "Number five — I do not teach them to 'just trust' authority figures no matter what. I teach them that trust and respect is earned."
This video gained even more attention than the first, and commenters seemed to be in agreement with most of the rules.
There was some disagreement about the rule on emotions.
However, a lot of people pointed out the validity of the rule about authority figures.
Finally, Jess told BuzzFeed a final rule that she did not mention in either of the videos, which applies to children of divorced parents.
"I really advocate for never bad mouthing the other parent and being as affirming and as positive as you can with kids. If your child is coming to you with issues about the other parent, you do your best to acknowledge them and hold their feelings, but never join with the kid and attack against the other parent."
What do you think? Do you have any parenting "rules"? Let me know in the comments.
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