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Tanis Miller

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Tanis Miller is a wife and mother living in Alberta, Canada. Her personal blog, Attack of the Redneck Mommy, was an insightful look at the joys of parenting, the delights of marriage and the heartbreak of losing a child. Her Babble Voices blog, Hogwash from a Hoser, was a candid look at parenting, marriage, and life in general. Follow her recent endeavor at

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Nickelback Makes Me a Better Parent

By Tanis Miller |

Shockingly enough, not everyone in my extended family approves of the way my husband and I (okay, primarily me) raise our children.

According to them, I’m too strict. My expectations are too high. I make my kids do too much.

Frankly, because I’m completely naive and permanently gullible, this surprised me. It didn’t occur to me that people I was related to were judging my parenting. I thought that was reserved for the moms on the playground and the after school pick up line. Especially that one mom with the overly teased hair and peek-a-boo thong who seems to be giving me the side-eye every time I show up at school in slippers and a death metal sweatshirt.

My kids are well mannered, well behaved, well adjusted little peoples who not only excel academically and socially but in sports as well. They are well-rounded individuals who are well liked amongst their peer set and the adults they are surrounded with on a daily basis. It’s not like my kids are deviant punks who rebel against society.

Not that my kids are perfect, far from it. They’re kids. They annoy me regularly. They break the rules. They get in trouble. They act like perfectly adjusted, typical kids ought to.

I thought I was doing a pretty bang up job with them to be honest. Which is a small miracle really, since I’m mostly left to my own devices with them and I tend to have a twisted and skewed vision of what life should be like. (Think unicorns on rollerblades under rainbow-laden skies as a chorus of angels sings the words to the newest Nickelback song.)

None of this matters to those who judge me. It turns out; they feel my kids are expected to do too much. Teenagers should be allowed to be teens and not expected to help clean up the messes they make, help pitch in to take care of their disabled brother and shouldn’t be held accountable for when they mouth off.

Whoa. If that’s the world everyone else is raising their children in, I don’t want a free pass into it.

From an early age, my husband and I have instituted a routine of chores my children are required to do. It’s not like we’re using them for free slave labour. At least not yet. I’m saving that for when they’re legal adults and refusing to get a real job or a post-secondary education.

The thing is, my kids have always risen to the occasion. Whether it’s helping change a diaper for their little brother, put him in the bathtub or wipe the counters after we eat a meal, my kids don’t bat an eye at this.

They know that being part of a family means helping everyone out, including Mom and Dad sometimes. They know that they have to take care of their homework and they know that the garbage isn’t going to take itself out.

My kids aren’t scared of a little hard work, as much as they will whine and moan about it. They’re kids. They’re supposed to whine about hard work. Most adults still do.

Our kids know that extra curricular activities are earned. They are a privilege not a right. They know that being part of a family means sometimes putting other people’s needs or wishes first because that’s what families do.

And sometimes it means folding the big basket of socks while Mom bakes a pie.

Our kids don’t miss out on anything because we’ve asked them to be a working member of our family. They don’t resent it either because they know they are the priority for their father and I. Hopefully, the example their father and I are setting will be carried with them always when they themselves become parents.

So I don’t mind if people think I’m too strict with my kids because I won’t allow them to have a television in their room or a cell phone just yet. I don’t mind if people think I’m asking my kids to do too much by helping out with their brother or the housework.

Judge away. Maybe I am expecting too much from my kids.

But maybe you are not expecting enough from yours.



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About Tanis Miller


Tanis Miller

Tanis Miller is a wife and mother living in Alberta, Canada. Her Babble Voices blog, Hogwash from a Hoser, was a candid look at parenting, marriage, and life in general. Follow her recent endeavor at Read bio and latest posts → Read Tanis's latest posts →

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36 thoughts on “Nickelback Makes Me a Better Parent

  1. MitziW says:

    Wow – they think you’re too strict? It is really scary what the world is coming to. We, too, make sure our kids know their manners, treat others with respect, do their chores (complete with whining), and they don’t have cell phones or tv’s in their rooms either. They are also ‘made’ to play outside each day – some days we don’t see any other people, much less children, outside. We live in California, where the weather is perfectly suitable for outside play. Keep up the good work!!

  2. Kelly says:

    Love this post and agree with it. Call me strict, I don’t care. It’s called being responsible and learning how to live in society.

  3. Tracy says:

    I agree with you 100% we are the same way in our home with our kids.

  4. SamiJoe says:

    Totally agree!

  5. Crystal says:

    I plan to raise my lil one (3.5yrs now) the same way – except the TV part she’s had one in her room for awhile simply because I cannot take one more fargennuggin minute of Treehouse! but a cell phone will be earned with responsibility like chores and respect. Kudos to you and kick some of those other moms who don’t like slippers in the arse!

  6. Kelly Donovan says:

    Good for you! Since when did chores around the house and being part of a family become “expecting too much?” This is how children learn how to become responsible adults! To do otherwise is really a disservice to them. Kids can be kids; they can also be helpful, caring, & conscientious. It’s not an either/or proposition.

    I say again, good for you, Tanis!

  7. S.L. Bartlett says:

    I have two kinds of people who comment on my parenting skills; one half say I’m too strict, and the other half I’m too lenient with them.
    This tells me I’m doing just fine. My kids are respectful, polite, and though they often grunt like cavemen when you talk to them, they grunt in a polite manner. LOL But then, they are all country boys, and apparently that’s to be expected, according to their father who also grunts. They are also well adjusted, even my youngest who is physically handicapped. I once had a psychologist tell me (when I was worried about my youngest’s occasional depression he was exibiting in high school) that not only was he the most emotionally healthy physically challenged young man she had ever met, but he was the most emotionally healthy young man she had met, disabled or not! His depression was normal teenage stuff, with a couple of body perception issues that was bound to come up.
    I wouldn’t take it to heart…as soon as you lighten up on your kids, those same people will say what they tell me; “You let them get away with too much…” LOL
    Ah hoy hoy!

  8. Cee says:

    I wish you were part of the Mommy Crowd at my kid’s school… Then I wouldn’t have to be frowned upon all by myself (and I’m not just talking about the fashion show there. That’s a whole ‘nother story!) She’s older now, but I remember it starting in pre-school when I’d make my daughter take off her own boots. I’d get The Eyeball from the other moms. Funny though that by the time grade 1 came along and the Helicopter Mommies weren’t there… It was my kid who had to help their little darlings zip their jackets.
    This is just a tiny example, but it frightens me that these people don’t see what they are (or rather, aren’t) doing for these poor kids. What’s going to happen when they’re older and can’t figure out how to do anything for themselves? My husband is a high school teacher and let me tell you… it’s scary indeed.

  9. Tarasview says:

    I want you to raise my kids for me. I suck at making my kids do daily chores. I have chore charts that I suck at updating. I am tired. It is easier to do it myself. Once a week (usually on Saturday) I go all commando-mom on them and make them clean their rooms and help me clean the house. No one enjoys it but it gets done.

    See, I told you I suck.

    So how about I drop them off at the RedNeckMommy academy for lazy punk-ass kids? I can pay you. Ok not really but I promise to laugh at all your jokes.

    All three of my kids are home sick today with something flu-like. The house is a mess. The laundry is not done. And I am reading blog posts so that I don’t throw myself headfirst into the snowbank outside my front door.

    Shall I drop them off at your house Monday around noon? I’ll pick them up again on Tuesday (5 years from now).

    See you in a few days ;)

  10. Sleepynita says:

    Honestly, I think most people raise their kids like little brats. I was raised this way, and my kids will be too. Didn’t hurt me, and it will not hurt them.

  11. Judy Speight says:

    Think you are doing an excellent job of raising future responsible, respectful adults. The type that will grow up to help others and be caring people !!

  12. redpenmamapgh says:

    Woah, woah, woah. What world do these “kids don’t have to help out around the house” people live in? Because I don’t want to go there. Ever. My kids are only 7, almost-5, and 1 — and okay the 1-year-old is good for nothing except warming this cold mother’s black heart — but the other two have jobs to do. I’m not raising privileged people; I’m (attempting to, anyway) raising future independently functioning responsible adult-type people here. Just like my parents did.

  13. Nicole says:

    That’s how my parents raised me and I so grateful for that. You know the precious gift you are giving your kids. I’m trying to do it with mine, not there yet but good for you.

  14. Lora Greene says:

    A big AMEN to your entire post….that’s what I call Love!!

  15. JenBanksYEG says:

    I think you are an awesome parent and will be using a lot of these tips on two little ones. Except for the Nickelback love. You can keep that.

  16. Roberta says:

    Awesome. I hope I can do as well with my own kid. I really do. You make me think I need to get my 3-year old to help more, and build that habit. We’re all in this boat together, kids. We all have to row.

  17. Kendra says:

    I was nodding along to everything you said. Those are all things I expect my kids to do and they are not close to teenagers yet. What’s wrong with responsibility and manners?

  18. Nikki says:

    I worship this post. I am told all the time how well mannered and polite my children are and how in the world did I get them to be that way? Uh, I raised them to be respectful. It’s a miracle what happens when you ACTUALLY parent.

  19. MissBanshee says:

    You booger. You’re a FANTASTIC momma. Anyone who thinks differently can come to Jersey to get soundly beaten by yours truly.

    Nickelback still sucks, though. :)

  20. D says:

    wow, the way things are headed I’m probably going to be considered positively draconian by the time my little guy’s a teenager. Your parenting clearly rocks and your kids aren’t lazy slobs who feel entitled to everything so they can’t actually function in society. pfft, people.

  21. Tiffany says:

    In one breath I hear how well-behaved and respectful my children are. In the next breath I hear how I’m too hard on them. I don’t think I’m hard on them at all. I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask them to help out. I’ve got a 4-year-old who is in love with my washer and dryer. So she helps with laundry. She’ll put it in, start it, switch it to the dryer, and even empty the lint filter. Pretty cool. I just have to put the detergent in and fold it. The 5-year-old likes the vacuum so he can ‘play’ with it all he wants as long as it’s on. They think they’re playing. I think they’re helping out. Turns out I ask less of them, because they’re already doing a decent amount (for their ages) on their own.

  22. Beth says:

    I’m making copies of your post for my entire family. And my entire community. And my entire world. What is it with society today that they think we can raise unproductive children into productive adults??

  23. Dani says:

    Amen, sister!!!!

  24. Trace says:

    I was raised by strict parents and am better for it. I do well in the workplace with the skill set they taught me too. In my moms words “better we taught you – faster we got you gainfully employed and out of our house”. They love me so :)

  25. Melanie says:

    Amen Hallelujah – sing it Tanis! I grew up in the southern US, and had chores as appropriate from a young age, too. It didn’t kill me, and my hubby was raised the same. Now, we have our son (who is 8 and autistic) do such chores as are developmentally appropriate. If he misses the toilet, he wipes the floor with a wet wipe (really improves aim!). When he finishes his meal, he puts his dishes in the sink. He carries laundry upstairs as requested, cleans up his toys, is learning to hold doors for people, etc. His “disability” is not an excuse for my being lazy in teaching him to be a useful, functional person to the best of his ability. On the contrary, it takes him a while to learn stuff, so the sooner we start, the more independent he’ll be. I am his mom, not his maid!

  26. Brian McMorran says:

    Well said and well done. My kids are similar to yours. They ALWAYS step up to help at the Grandparents house or friends that need some help with one thing or another, assist in the housework and are socially secure and acidemically sound. They are busy youngsters but I certainly don’t mind chasing to soccer, rugby, school sports, rehearsals for the play, social events … whatever … they are worth the effort; not for all they do for friends and family, but just cuz they are nice people. Good kids learn that behaviour I think.
    Cheers Tanis

  27. maggiemoo says:

    I can’t even pay my kids to fold the socks.

  28. Sandra says:

    I think your extended family members need to take a closer look at themselves – when ‘outsiders’ consider your children to be likeable, well adjusted contributors, you have obviously done a bang up job raising them.

  29. supermommy says:

    Ever wonder why people say we’re raising children?
    I think it is far more accurate to say that we are raising adults. My 17 year old knows how to do a load of laundry, cook a simple meal and clean up after he’s done. I have no fears for him when he leaves the nest (dear lord let it be soon for college). He, on the other hand, is worried about remembering the toilet paper, I told him he’ll only forget once.
    Both of my children are polite and well mannered, typically choose a healthy snack before junk food and can clean up after themselves. If this makes me too strict so be it, because I’ve met the other kid. that little arse hat isn’t allowed at my house.

  30. Tracey says:

    I’d rather people think I’m too strict with my kids now then for people to think my kids are immature, spoiled asshats. Which would be the case probably if my expectations for them were lower than they are.

    I also expect my kid’s to do chores, their laundry, help with family and think of others more than themselves.

    That’s called normal, well adjusted parenting.

    Thank you for being that type of parent.

  31. Melisa says:

    Tanis, this post is BEYOND AWESOME. I don’t understand the idea that runs rampant these days that parents who have expectations of their kids are too strict. Your last sentence is the BEST EVER response to those who say I’m too hard on my kids (which, “oddly enough”, doesn’t happen too often anymore because they are 16 and 19 and fabulous young men). I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it. I promise to give you credit whenever I say it. :)

  32. Inelegant_Life says:

    I am too hard on my kids, according to them and to their dad. Everyone else can’t believe how much shit the brats get away with and several years ago I gave up for the most part. I was tired of being ignored, I was tired of being the parent with rules and consequences and expectations that my husband would not back me up on, I was tired of the “other parent(i.e.,bio mom) telling them they didn’t have to listen to anything I said because I wasn’t their real mom (we’ll bypass the fact that I’ve raised them since they were little and she only came into the picture more when they hit the teens). I was a horrible witch because I said no cell phone or computer or video games if any grade was below a C. A fricking C! I have friends whose kids lose all privileges for an 89.99 and all I wanted was a C. *sigh* Way, way too many of us expect too little – and we get what we expect.

  33. Sheila says:

    Yikes, you get guff for that? I get complaints because I don’t spank my 20-month-old when he refuses to clean up his pee when he has an accident. Whatever happened to being balanced? He’s a freaking toddler, who through some miracle says please and excuse me (not thank you yet, he’s confused about when to say it and says it when he hands ME stuff), *usually* doesn’t hit other kids, is mostly potty-trained, and will stop from running out into the road when I tell him to stop. What on earth do they expect?

    I guess we need to switch crowds, lol. Though I think the real problem is everyone assuming that every parent who expects more than they do is “incredibly strict” and every parent who expects less is “raising brats.” Guess what, you’re not the standard! Each parent has a good notion of what their kids can do and what is reasonable to expect — depending on the kid and the situation. And then some of us do expect those things, and some don’t bother. I think we should all bother to teach our kids stuff. But we’re also, as the parents, the ones who get to decide what is and isn’t reasonable and appropriate. And I would REALLY LIKE all those well-meaning family members and facebook friends to shut up and trust me to raise a kid who’s not an axe murderer.

  34. Laura in Little Rock says:

    I saw a bumper sticker… and thought immediately of Tanis and this post. “It’s easier to raise a healthy child than to fix a broken man.” My sister and I had an.. interesting, upbringing. Mostly it was loving and supportive and wonderful, when our Mom didn’t go off the deep end with manic episodes due to Bipolar Disorder. My sister and I – we’re well-adjusted contributing adults and parents. Which is far more than we can say for many of our peers. Funny how it works. We knew enough about the world to handle it when it was our turn. Which included becoming Mom’s legal guardian and burying both parents before we turned 30. We cry and we laugh and we bake ridiculous quantities of Christmas cookies. Family tradition. Made 10 batches so far this holiday. If you lived closer, I’d stalk you and deliver some.

  35. Trish says:

    I loved the book “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris.

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