“All children want is something stable. They want to know that you love them. It doesn’t have to be love with big computers and fancy clothes and all of that. Just that you care.”
As for rules, “I’d insist that they have to do something with their lives—and actually they have.”
No, I don’t have kids. And I know a lot of parents get quite irritated with advice or opinions coming from people who don’t have kids of their own.
But I’ve been around kids, and I agree with Joyce Dumont’s opinion.
This will sound odd, but to me kids (especially little kids) are a lot like puppies: more than anything else, they want to go with you and do what you’re doing. They want you to notice them and hopefully care about them.
I had a friend in Portland who was in his 50s when I knew him. This man had a couple of failed marriages behind him and had spent a lot of time as a single parent. He said at the time he was short of money and so took his kids to every free thing he could find — which meant a lot of time outdoors in various parks, on the Oregon coast, and places — but he always felt guilty he couldn’t give them fancier stuff.
He said it was amazing to him when his kids became adults and his daughter commented one time that he had been the best dad ever, he had done so much stuff with her and her brothers, it hadn’t been like some of her friends who were packed off to one camp after another — away from their parents — all summer long.