Social media mom Kristina Kuzmic has over 2.4 million Facebook followers and her parenting and life advice videos have over 900 million views, but her most important fans are her husband and three kids.
She’s currently on her 20-city “The Hope and Humor Tour” where she inspires audiences, talking about life and her struggles, which have included divorce, depression, poverty, and raising kids in a digital world.
“I’m known as the mean mom because my kids got phones and all that stuff later than their friends,” said Kuzmic, who isn’t worried about what her kids or others think about her parenting. “Our job is to protect our children and teach them how to deal with things. Not being naïve and knowing your child are the two most important things.”
Funny and spirited, Kuzmic can be serious, too. She knows how important it is to listen to her kids.
“We’ve talked about sex, dating, relationships, and all of it from a young age,” she said, explaining the conversations are always age-appropriate. “It’s an ongoing conversation.”
She always asks her kids questions about how they feel in different situations so they can properly process the experiences.
Check your ego
Kuzmic says it can be tough for parents to adjust when their kids become teens and no longer think they’re cool.
“Remembering to put our ego in the back and not let our child’s opinion affect our self-esteem is really important,” she said. “As your child changes, they need boundaries, they need pressure. We tend to let go too fast, too much, because we want to be liked.”
Kuzmic stressed the importance of always thinking about the long term.
“If you’re parenting correctly, they’re not going to like you 100 percent of the time,” she said.
When it comes to social media, know your child and what he or she can handle. Kuzmic’s teen daughter just got an Instagram account but her oldest, a boy, doesn’t use any social media.
She sets clear boundaries, like not letting her daughter use her real name on the platform or a photo of herself for her profile picture, and Kuzmic must approve each person her daughter follows.
As a young mom, Kuzmic was hard on herself, but has since learned to be kind.
“I always tell myself, ‘More credit than criticism, more grace than judgement,’” she said.
She encourages parents to think of all the things they get right and to make themselves a priority.
“I believe taking time for myself makes me a better mom, Kuzmic said. “Once you believe that, then there’s no guilt involved.”
Kristen Castillo, [email protected]