Parents: Seek Advice or Parent on the Fly? These 5 Tips Could Help You Decide

BY: - 9 Aug '17 | Parenting

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By: Dr. George James

Is there a perfect way to be a parent?  Maybe you’ve read all the books, heard all the stories and watched all the videos.  At the same time, there’s a part of you that has tried to figure it out on your own.  It is normal to oscillate between wanting support and advice to desiring to do it on your own and in your own way. It is almost impossible to be the best parent without help but, at the same time, listening to all the advice from everyone else could drive you insane.  There is no perfect way to be a parent.



It’s not about being the perfect parent but being the best parent you can be.  But how does one achieve this?  It’s a blend between trusting your own instincts and desires while listening to the experiences and counsel of others.  That can be easier said than done when the information you receive feels forced or out of your comfort zone.

There are countless decisions you have to make as a parent.

  • Breastfeed or formula
  • Private or public school
  • Basketball or soccer
  • Dance or gymnastics
  • Time-outs or lecture
  • Curfew or no limit

And the list goes on and on.  Being vulnerable enough to listen to others can help you figure out the right mixture of ideas between yours and others.

5 Helpful Parenting Tips for Both the Advice Seekers and the DIYers

  1. There’s No Perfect Parent – Whether you are a new parent or a seasoned parent, it’s hard to shake the thought that you should be perfect. There’s no perfect parent, which means you will not be perfect.  That’s a good thing.  Instead of aiming to be perfect, aim to be the best parent you can be.  Work hard and try your best without the pressure of being perfect.
  2. Nothing Wrong with Listening – The first step to deciding if others can help you to be a better parent is listening. There’s nothing wrong with listening.  The great part about listening is that it doesn’t mean you have to do what others suggest.  But if you ignore what people are saying, you could miss out on something that could be very helpful.
  3. Trust Yourself – Your thoughts about parenting could be different than everyone else’s, but it doesn’t mean your ideas are wrong. Maybe your perspective on parenting is exactly what your child(ren) need. Trust Yourself.
  4. Maintain Your Boundaries – From the moment you first learned you were going to be parents until you become a grandparent, someone will have some advice about how to be a parent. It could come from someone you respect and love such as your parent(s), relatives, or friends.  Even if you hold them in high regard, you have the right to choose whether to take their advice.  If their advice feels forced or comes with guilt, maintain your boundaries.  You are the parent and you can make the decision for your child(ren).
  5. Push Yourself to Try – Being a parent means you will have to try things out of your comfort zone at some point. Sometimes you might want to resist because it feels uncomfortable.  But to be the best parent you can be could require stepping out of your comfort zone.  As much as possible, push yourself to try.

Parental Advice, the fifth episode of the new web series Funny Married Stuff, highlights the dynamic mentioned above as a couple uses a humorous approach to discuss how they handle receiving parental advice from relatives. Check out the episode here:

Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation as the couple in the episode or you relate to the example above.  Here are some steps you can take to discuss how to balance between being a parent on your own terms while taking the parental advice from others.

For more episodes and information about Funny Married Stuff go to and

Dr. George James, LMFT speaks, counsels, consults, coaches and teaches people how to overcome difficult relationships problems and build successful happy connections. James has been a reoccurring expert on many radio, TV and online programs. He is also a reoccurring relationship contributor to Ebony magazine. James is a staff therapist and an AAMFT-approved supervisor at Council For Relationships.  Find out more about Dr. George James at

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BMWK Staff wrote 1245 articles on this blog.

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Back to School Shopping Made Easy…2 Tips that Will Save You Time and Money

BY: - 18 Aug '17 | Parenting

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This post is brought to you by Office Depot. All opinions are my own.

“Relax…I’ve got this all under control.  I’ve been a mom for 24 years.  I know what I’m doing.” 

That’s what I told our 10-year-old daughter last week during her melt-down (she is going to be a sixth grader in middle school this year and she was not amused that I was waiting until the first day of school to buy her school supplies.)

You see, I have a strategy – wait until I meet the teachers and find out exactly what supplies they need and then buy them. This strategy saves me money and keeps me from buying a bunch of extra supplies that my kids don’t need.

“Go ask your two older siblings if they’ve ever had problems the first week of middle school because we waited to buy their school supplies.”




It sounds like I have my “act” together…right?  But to be honest, I sort of fell into this strategy.  I was always waiting until the last possible minute to buy school supplies. And I eventually discovered that when I purchased the school supplies after meeting the teachers (either on the first day of school or during the meet and greet the week before school), it saved me both time and money.

Tip #1: Ask the teacher to confirm which items on the school supply list are needed for the class.

Tip #2: Go to Office Depot for one-stop, hassle-free Back-to-School shopping.

I’ve been hip to my second tip for a couple of years now.

Gone are the days of running around town trying to find 165 glue sticks at one store, 300 pocket folders with prongs in red, blue, green, and yellow from another store, and  50 million composition notebooks from yet another store. (This is an exaggeration of course. But with 4 kids, it definitely feels like I’m buying those quantities.)

Gone are the days of walking around school supply aisles that look like a war-zone and sifting through the scraps that have been left on the shelves and floors…desperately searching every aisle looking for misplaced glue sticks or just one more green plastic pocket folder …JUST…ONE …MORE!!!  (WHEW, sorry folks …I just had a flash back.)

Now-a-days, I save both time and money by getting all our school supplies from Office Depot. Office Depot literally has everything on our school supply lists…. everything!

I save both time and money by getting all our school supplies from Office Depot

They have pens, pencils, paper, crayons, markers, calculators, scissors, notebooks, glue sticks and folders galore! And I can even get those additional items for the teacher such as tissues, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and more. You name it and you will find in all in one place at Office Depot.

And to top it off, they have great prices and some amazing Back-to-School Savings. Right now, they even have a great selection of backpacks and  they are all 30% off.

Our youngest daughter is ready for the first day of school and is really excited thanks to Office Depot.  Here favorite items are her new back pack, the banana clipboard from theHappy Thoughts collection and the mini back pack pencil pouch from theTropical Palm collection .

Our youngest daughter is ready for the first day of school and is really excited thanks to Office Depot.  Her favorite items are her new back pack, the banana clipboard from the Happy Thoughts collection and the mini back pack pencil pouch from the Gone Global collection.

Office Depot even has 3 new trendy collections that have my kids excited about going back to school.

  • Happy Thoughts collection– Features bold designs and inspirational quotes that reflect the optimism of young generations with fun designs like skateboarding dogs, ice cream cones and bananas that are perfect for K-12.


  • Modern Minimal collection– Appeals to more mature students (like high school and college) with warm metallic and pastel colors and a unique blend of vintage and modern styles, such as subtle rose gold accents with eye-catching geometric designs.


  • Gone Global collection – Draws from a variety of cultures around the globe to create an aesthetic that matches today’s connected and curious-about-the-world students with a splash of tropical glam in the form of palm fronds.


Take it from a mom with 24 years of experience (lol)…Office Depot has made shopping for school supplies so much easier.

BMWK – what are your best Back-to-School shopping tips?  Please share them below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Office Depot. I’ve partnered with them to spread the news about their Back-to-School offerings and savings.  All opinions are my own.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 527 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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