She shared five parenting tips that referenced her personal experience as a mom and professional experience as a therapist of 20 years.
Parent-child relationships can be very complicated. TikTok user Jess, who is a licensed therapist and parent herself, took to the platform earlier this year to share a few tips that could help make this dynamic a little easier and healthier. In a detailed video, Jess—who goes by the username @strongtherapy on the app—revealed five parenting tips that referenced her personal experience as a mom and professional experience as a therapist of 20 years. The video outlined five things she doesn't do with her kids.
She started the video with the first practice she prioritizes, which many parents will agree is indeed an important one: consent. Jess shared that the importance of bodily autonomy is something that should be taught to children at a very early stage. "Number one: I ask for consent when I go to hug my kids. I teach them the importance of bodily autonomy and advocating for themselves, and saying 'no' when they're uncomfortable," she shared.
Another important tip was to refrain from commenting on a child's body. This is an especially crucial tip since many young adults have grown up with crippling anxiety related to body image, most of which is induced as a child by comments from family or close loved ones. "Number two: I don't comment on their bodies. I discuss the importance of physical exercise and nutrition, but we just don't talk about bodies, and I don't talk about my own in front of them, either," she shared.
In the video, Jess goes on to explain that she does not "talk about finances in front of my kids," adding that this is because it is not something children should concern themselves with. "I don't talk about how much money I make or where my money goes. That's not for them to be concerned about," she says in the viral clip. Her fourth tip is about avoiding another practice that often becomes the source of many children's anxiety: comparing a child to another. The last tip Jess shared is that she doesn't place value on food and that she neither rewards with food nor punishes with it.
Two of these pointers were met with a lot of questions from commenters and Jess responded to them meticulously. When TikTok users asked her why she doesn't talk about finances with her children, the therapist explained that she does talk to them about financial wellness but not personal finances. "I've taught my kids about money from early on. I just don't discuss my own finances or how much money I have," she commented.
Another concern raised in the comments was about what Jess means when she says she doesn't reward her children with food. Jess responded to this with a separate video clarifying her position on the subject. "Food has no moral value, so when you start to pair foods with rewards or punishment, then you're giving it a value that has a hold over children. So instead, I take my kids out for ice cream because we like the taste, not because they got good grades or performed well on something," she says in the video.
In a follow-up video, Jess revealed a few more common practices that she refrains from partaking in. For instance, she does not shame her kids for their gender or sexuality. "They can use any pronouns that they want, and they can express any feelings toward any gender, and it is all okay in my household," she shared. She added that she always makes sure to validate her children's emotions and that she would never judge how they express what they're feeling. She also emphasized the importance of not placing value on a child's grades in school.
Adding another, she said: "I do not use fear as a motivational tool - that one's self-explanatory." An important final tip she includes in her video is to not teach children to blindly trust authority. This is not just to inculcate the value of earned trust and respect, but also to encourage critical thinking, Jess explained.
TikTok users were in agreement with the licensed therapist, with many appreciating the tips she shared in her videos. User @n8sgirl commented: "We focused on emotional IQ rather than GPA with our twins. They are doing great in life!" User @millennialboymom added, "I have never understood why we just trust people because they are old!"