Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Parking Lot Rules — Parenting Book from Tom Sturges

posted by Nell Minow

Tom Sturges is the author of Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children. It is one of the most insightful and useful parenting books I have ever seen and I recommend it highly. I guarantee that even the most functional families will find some good new ideas to improve interaction not just between parents and children but in all relationships.

Sturges has a day job as executive vice president and head of creative affairs for Universal Music Publishing Group, the world’s largest music publisher, and he says it is a “fascinating and interesting job surrounded by remarkable people.” He is also the son of one of the most brilliant writer-directors in film history, Preston Sturges (of “The Lady Eve,” “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” “Palm Beach Story,” “The Great McGinty,” and “Sullivan’s Travels”). But his father died when he was only two, so Sturges had to become the father he wished he had had. I had a wonderful time talking with him about raising children and the lessons he has learned and shares in this book.
When your first son was born, how did you think about the father you wanted to be and the impact it would have on you?
Being a good dad became almost a religion to me. I wanted to be the greatest dad ever, and the only people who could say whether or not I was successful would be my own sons. Along the way I discovered that there were many mistakes I was making or that I saw other parents making and I began to write them down, and that became the book.
My father died very early. He was 58 when I was born and 60 when he died. If I could make sure my children never experienced what I experienced it helped me recover the goodness of my own childhood, it heals you. When my child was the age I was when my father died, I had the date circled in red in the calendar because it was a milestone, passing that day was something I did for him and he did for me. Anything that was painful for you as a child, let’s say there was a day you got chased off the schoolyard or kicked off the cheerleading squad, you can recover that day with your child. You can heal yourself by breaking the chain.
What commitments do you make to your sons?
Children take the mortgage for granted, they take the material things for granted; the important thing is to build a relationship of trust with them. They learn to trust because they realize that you do what you say you will do. So I make Life Promises, and keep them. No hitting, no raised voices, no embarrassing them. This last one is the rule that gets used more than any other.
My son Sam is very sensitive to what the world thinks. After we’ve been playing basketball, when I pull off my t-shirt to change, he says, “Dad! Dad! You’re breaking the No Embarrassing rule!” He gets to say that, and I earn his trust by respecting that he gets to say it. When I do, it is another pebble of trust, and I hope all those little pebbles will build themselves into beautiful bridges of trust.
My favorite of your rules is “smile when you see them.”
That is such an important one! Your children will see a smile on your face and it will give them hope.
It is an easy one to forget because we get so caught up with telling them what we think they need to know.
Parents can make a difference just by making sure the child feels welcome before we launch into telling them what to do. Never be too correcting with your child after a sporting event. It’s just “You tried hard” and “I appreciate it.” We can talk about helping you with your hitting tomorrow. I recently returned from Hawaii and saw a mother scolding her child all the way down the aisle of the airplane. She could not see the look on his face, but I could. We have to remember what it feels like to have a big person, who might weigh twice what you do, yelling at you in front of strangers.
And it’s the person whose good opinion you most need.
The currency of parental discipline is disappointment. Your disapproval is so important and powerful that when you are correcting a child you must always whisper. It really works for me. I was upset with my 11 year old yesterday because he lost an important basketball game and did not practice his free throws afterward. I whispered to him, “We could be working harder.” You have to loft them into the sky like a glider, boost them when they fall.
What mistake parents make concerns you the most?
Forgetting the importance of respect. So many of the rules in the book are just about ways to show the child respect. “Yes not what,” for example – simply changing your response to begin with “yes!” instead of “what?” makes a big difference. Never yelling is a sign of respect, too.
That teaches them how to behave respectfully to other people.
Exactly! I donate a lot of time to a program for inner city children. I was speaking to them on Saturday and I said “The key to a good and successful life is to simply always show the most respect.”
And what are you working on next?
We have a new son, whose middle name, Sullivan, is a tribute to my father. Fifty years from now, he will help keep that legacy alive. And I am working on a sequel to Parking Lot Rules, about raising amazing adolescents.



Previous Posts

Is This the End of Television?
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it.  Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available in the form and via the delivery system consumers prefer -- the interne

posted 3:24:08pm Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Dylan Baker on Directing for the First Time in the Fact-Based High School Football Movie "23 Blast"
Dylan Baker is probably best remembered for playing some of the most horrific villains imaginable ("The Good Wife," "Happiness").  But his extensive career has included wild comedies ("Planes, Trains, and Automobiles," "Anchorman 2"), historical drama (he was Robert McNamara in "13 Days"), and even

posted 8:00:11am Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Best Movies About Writers
Flavorwire has put together a great list of the 50 best movies about writers. It's always tricky to make a writer interesting on film. On one hand, you have the advantage of a character who is likely to be witty and eloquent. Movies are written by writers, so they have some insight and appreciatio

posted 3:37:07pm Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Great News About Now You See Me 2
You didn't think Arthur Tressler was going to let them get away with it, did you? I am very happy that one of the most entertaining films of 2013, Now You See Me is getting a sequel and the stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Michael Caine, and Woody Harrelson, are back, alo

posted 8:00:59am Oct. 21, 2014 | read full post »

In the Footsteps of St. Peter
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4c7qh9hMVY[/youtube] David Suchet (PBS' Hercule Poirot) is the host of In the Footsteps of St. Peter, out tomorrow on DVD.

posted 3:55:57pm Oct. 20, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.