Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Singer Mandrell gives advice on family life

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — In the weeks before her 5th birthday, entertainer Barbara Mandrell vividly remembers her father — a Texas police officer — coming home to the family's house trailer, stretching out on the floor and falling asleep.

        “I didn't know it then, but he was working three jobs just so he could buy a bicycle for me,” Ms. Mandrell told nearly 275 people at Lakota East High School on Monday, before she began talking of her own 33-year marriage and views on family life.

        “As a baby, I had food and clothes. But many times all they had was one potato each. It's all we could afford.”

        It was just one of many personal tidbits she shared as Butler County commissioners kicked off the first Safe Kids Strong Families Conference as part of Ohio's Parents' Week.

        Through Thursday, human service workers, school officials and parents will confer with national and local figures to better learn how to support families.

        “Children thrive in families with common beliefs,” Ms. Mandrell said. “If yours are not the same as your mate's, you're in hot water.”

        She told parents they should be the ones in charge in their households. And that every time she criticized one of her children, she tried to counter it with positive things they do. Listening to and respecting children is important and families should make a point to eat dinner together — even if it's at a different time each night to accommodate everyone's schedule.

        “I think you need to make clear rules. Discipline is important, but love is all,” she said.

        Through the week, the conference will focus on issues facing families including violence, divorce, child abuse, foster parenting, early childhood, special-needs children and child safety.


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