Ricky Martin has shared his top 5 parenting tips. The Livin’ La Vida Loca singer is dad to 5-year-old twins, Valentino and Matteo, who were born via a surrogate in August 2008.
It’s quite a bold (or possibly naive step) as parenting advice from celebrities is not always well received, as experienced by Gwyneth Paltrow and her lifestyle site Goop.
However Ricky takes a modest approach. “I am far from being the perfect parent, but these are the tools I use and I find rewarding,” the 42-year-old writes on his blog, Piccolo Universe.
Ricky’s parenting tools are very hands-on, loving and child-focused. It’s not the first time he’s talked about how his boys have changed his life. He explained a couple of years ago how he had kept his sexuality secret until he became a dad, and how the boys had helped him be open about being gay.
His first piece of advice to parents is to put down our devices and actively listen to our children.
“The keyword is ‘actively’,” writes Ricky. “This is a challenge for all of us. The truth is with our phones, tablets, and all other electronics that ‘make our lives easier’ it isn’t difficult to be constantly distracted. We often forget that when our children come to us, it is because they want to communicate something that is important to them.”
His second tip is to encourage children to aim high, dream big and have self-belief. He talks about how it’s easy to limit aspirations and beliefs from an early age. “These are those ideas that were implanted in us at a young age. ‘No you can’t because…’, ‘Life is practical, dreaming is not…’, ‘I am not lucky…’. Remind your children each day that the sky is the limit.”
Quiet time to think and meditate is third on Ricky’s list. “We need time to quiet our minds… so that we can approach our kids with the peace and love they deserve. Take 10-20 minutes to just sit with yourself quietly. Breathe. Make this your special treat of the day. Tell stress to take a back seat!” he tells parents.
Tip 4 is simply to have fun and act like a kid again. “Many times we build a wall so that they know who the parent is and their role as our child. Break down that wall! These years will fly and the best memories are built around fun and laughter.”
Finally, Ricky advises us to learn from our kids, and that children can be our best teachers. “Ask them what they think. You will be surprised by the details children see that we don’t. You will learn from them some of life’s most valuable lessons.”
Sounds like Ricky could have another career as a counsellor. What do you think of his tips? Let us know in the comments below…
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