Parenting Lessons From “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”
She may not be a TV mom in the vein of Carol Brady, or even Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, but June Shannon, the mother of reality star Honey Boo Boo has many qualities that make her a surprisingly good mother. Sure, the family is often lampooned for their redneck lifestyle and made-up catchphrases, but it’s obvious that behind the belching, farting and bathroom jokes is a close-knit, loving family.
With her larger-than-life personality, Mama June presides over a full house that includes daughters Anna (Chickadee), 18; Jessica (Chubbs), 15; Lauryn (Pumpkin) 12; and Alana (Honey Boo Boo), 7; her common-law (soon-to-be legal) husband of the past nine years, Mike Thompson, 42, (Sugar Bear); and her granddaughter (Anna’s daughter), Kaitlyn, 1.
As the second season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo comes to a close on Wednesday, September 11, with Mama June and her baby daddy Sugar Bear tying the knot, we asked Mama June to share some of her secrets for raising confident daughters and nurturing a loving family.
Tip 1: Get the Kids Involved
“Sitting around the house and doing nothing all day is not a childhood,” June says. “As a family, we like to go different places and do things in our community.” June also encourages her girls to give back, whether it’s with Girl Scouts, the Brand UR or raising money for charities around the holidays. On the days they complain of boredom, June encourages them to get creative. “My girls can come up with the craziest games,” she says with a laugh.
Tip 2: Don’t Be Afraid to Discipline
When her daughter Lauryn was accused of cyberbullying a classmate, June immediately took away her daughter’s computer privileges. “Taking away electronics always seems to work as punishment,” June says. “I won’t tolerate bullying, and I made Lauryn apologize on both Instagram and Facebook and then took away her Internet access.”
Tip 3: Nurture Self-Confidence
“I always tell my girls to be themselves and not worry about what other people think of them,” June says. “I let them try new sports and activities and find what works for them and makes them unique. If you love a kid unconditionally and show that you accept every part of them, they build up that confidence.”
Tip 4: Raise Them Right
“I love my children more than anything in the world,” June says. “I’m raising them the way I wish I was raised: to love themselves and know that anything in life is possible.” To that extent, June has started a trust fund for each of her daughters and her granddaughter. While the family lives on Sugar Bear’s salary as a contractor, June has asked TLC to take the money the family earns from each episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and to divide it equally among the girls. They cannot access the funds until they are 21, unless they need it for education or a medical emergency.
Tip 5: Don’t Go Changing
“We are still the same people we were before the show started,” June says.” The kids still go to public school, and we live in the same home. That’s important to us. When TLC approached us, we said that we didn’t want to change anything. That’s why people can relate to us … we are just being ourselves. What you see is what you get.”
Tip 6: Set a Good Example
“By making things more official with Sugar Bear, I wanted to set an example for my girls,” June says, referring to their commitment ceremony. “He has been a great father figure, and I want to show both him and the girls that if you love someone, you can make a commitment that lasts forever. “
Tip 7: Promote Self-Acceptance
This season, June announced that she had lost 100 pounds as a result of being more active. “I always tell people to love their body no matter what size they are,” June says. “Big, fat, small, little … just love yourself. I have a friend who is trying to lose some weight, and I’ve started going with her to the gym to offer support.”
Tip 8: Offer Support, Not Judgment
“It’s important to be a parent, but it’s also important to be your child’s friend,” she says. “My girls and their friends can come to me and tell me anything. I have an open door policy. Your kids shouldn’t fear you. They should trust you and want to tell you everything. I know what’s going on in their lives, sometimes more than I want to know, but that works for us. “
Watch the season finale of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 9/8c on TLC.