Kelly Rowland shares why it's important to apologize to her children: 'I'm not going to get it right every time'
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As evidenced by her four Grammy awards and a long list of career achievements, Kelly Rowland is no stranger to the world of fame. But for her two boys, the concept is still quite new.
"I remember the first time my son asked me, 'Why did they want you to write on a piece of paper, mom?'" Rowland tells Yahoo Life.
The Motivation singer shares sons Titan, 8, and Noah Jon, 2, with her husband, Tim Weatherspoon.
While Noah is still too young to quite grasp the concept of his mom's fame, Titan's humorous confusion at the request for his mother's autograph turned into a teachable moment.
"I explained to him that there are some people who really appreciate what I do so much that they buy music and they support shows and they show me love and he understands that part," she says, adding that she doesn't feel the need to over-explain her legacy.
"I'm not playing myself down. But I'm also not trying to make it this whole thing," she says. Instead, Rowland is focused on showing her kids the importance of hard work and dedication.
"I like for him to go to work with me and see me in the studio, see me on set. I want him to see the work, not the fame," says Rowland.
And even with a mom who was a part of one of the biggest girl groups of all time, humility, independence and perseverance are crucial values the Destiny's Child alumna hopes to instill in her children.
"Resilience really means a lot to me, and being responsible for your own actions," says Rowland.
While it may seem natural to assume her boys have pretty big shoes to fill, Rowland says an earnest effort is what's most important. That sentiment is reflected in the affirmations she practices with her sons.
"If you don't try, you've already failed. So I say, 'Try your…' and [Titan] says, 'Your best!' So we're doing that every day, so it's like repetition. I want everything to feel like it's within him and a part of his psyche," says Rowland.
She has also made it a point to create an open dialogue with both of her boys so that they know how to express themselves even amid what Rowland calls, for Noah Jon, the "tantrum twos."
"He's figuring out how to regulate his emotions, and trying to help him figure that out is tough," she says. "If he throws a car across the room because he's mad at something, I go and get the car like, 'That was a big emotion. What happened?' And he's still too young to communicate it [fully]. So I have to ask all these questions and play detective," she explains. And while he may still be too young to verbalize his actions perfectly, building communicative habits is a two-way street, she says.
"I'm not going to get it right every time. And to show my kids humility when I make a mistake, or if I mess up, I apologize. I think that it's important for my sons to see that," she says.
The parenting method was not the standard when Rowland was growing up.
"Even with my mom, God rest her soul, it was like, 'Go upstairs!' and you don't get a reason for why you have to go upstairs. And it's just like, 'Why am I going upstairs?' It's so many questions," she says.
She attributes many of these changes in parenting to the introduction and normalization of "gentle parenting," a parenting style that provides space for children to express themselves openly while prioritizing healthy parent-child boundaries.
"Some of it works for me, some of it does not," says Rowland, admitting that certain disciplinary measures like timeouts are not effective for her younger son, Noah.
"He literally walks away from timeout. And I'm not gonna sit him there to make him do that," she says.
Still, she considers it a privilege to be a parent in the digital age — while remaining cognizant of its limitations.
"We're so lucky to actually be able to share all this information that we have. But we also have to know that our child has a specific thumbprint that makes them unique. And not everything will work for them," she says.
While having a phone full of information has proved useful for her, she is still unsure of the role such devices will play in her children's lives. And she is currently in no rush to get Titan his first phone.
"I don't know what age that would be. I'd like for it to be later. I'm not trying to have the phone raise my kids," she says, adding that she tries to bridge the gap between information and technology as best she can for her boys. "I answer every question and try to be Siri as much as possible," she jokes.
Similarly, she is unsure if and when she will let her kids join social media, but she does plan on instilling the importance of media literacy within them.
"I don't know what [social media] is gonna look like in seven years. [But] I'm going to be very protective of my son. I'm going to inform him of what could possibly be out in these social media streets, but it makes me nervous, to be honest," she says.
For now, though, Rowland and her family are thriving IRL, as she admits her crew is big on getting active.
"The boys love playing outside. Noah has this outside sensory area that we always hang out in, and Titan loves basketball," says Rowland, who recently partnered with Family Guard disinfectants for its Yes, Play! initiative, offering $50,000 to 100 families to "create a clean space for play."
So, while their futures with phones are yet to be determined, Rowland is currently focused on appreciating the present and the special playtime it brings.
"These are the moments that you can't get back and that matter the most," she says.
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