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Now that we’re finally into 2021, I’m looking back over the last year with a sigh of relief. It’s over and now we’re moving on to bigger and better things! At least, that’s what I hope. I’m always trying to stay positive and teach my children the same—it will get better, we can do this, you can do anything you put your mind to!
But at the same time, I need to be honest about the year that we just had. It was hard and put a strain on us emotionally, financially, mentally—and we’re not alone. I can’t sugar coat everything for my kids with overwhelming positivity. Sometimes we need to admit our struggles, learn from them, and move forward.
When conversations go up, underage drinking goes down. Since 2003, conversations between parents and kids have increased by 73 percent. During that same period, underage drinking has decreased by 50 percent.
Understanding Toxic Positivity
This is why over this past year it’s been so amazing to partner with Responsibility.org. It’s important to Bobby and me that we raise our kids with not only a better understanding of the world around them but how to be great human beings. And as a Responsibility.org ambassador, I’m committed to cultivating a lifetime of conversations between parents and their kids.
And sometimes, in wanting to be the best, and give the best, to my children, I can sugar coat all those bad times with toxic positivity and inauthenticity. Last year was hard, and no amount of movie nights, family dinners, or fun home projects can give them back everything they missed out on. Birthday parties, new friends, sleepovers, summer vacation—there were a lot of disappointments.
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Striving For Authenticity
I admit it—I’m overwhelmingly positive. And most of the time this is a good thing. I love being a happy, optimistic person! And I want my kids to have that same upbeat attitude too! But when I face real adversity with nothing but a can-do attitude, it pushes real concerns and struggles under the rug.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be positive when things get hard. It just means I also need to value the importance of being honest about the year that passed. I need to have open discussions with my kids about how they’re feeling. And not respond exclusively with sunshine and rainbows, but real authenticity.
Age matters! Drinking underage negatively affects brain development.
Moving Forward Into 2021
With four littles I can tell you—kids are resilient. Even after the year we had they are still smiling, playing, and giggling their way through the world. They all have their own unique personalities and seem to know and love who they are. And despite 2020, they made it out with all those personalities and values intact. They were still kind to friends, tried to help others, and did their best with all the struggles along the way.
And now that we’re going into 2021 on a higher note, I want to continue to keep an open dialogue with my kids. But this time without the toxic positivity. I want to appreciate their challenges, issues, and struggles and help in a positive, but authentic way. Because listening to them and helping them through this impossibility hard time is what being a mom is all about.
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