Pippi Longstocking Parenting

Pippi Longstocking Parenting

Pippi Longstocking Parenting


I owe Pippi Longstocking for more than my love of long striped socks and over-sized boots. What I remember best about this red-headed wonder child — more than her eccentric fashion, super strength and gold stockpile – was her epic fibbing. Now as a parent, Astrid Lindgren’s famous character inspires me to tell tall tales to my kids in everyday life. I’m a constant liar!

How to Be a Good Parent?

Especially when my children were young and tottering about, I had days where I wondered if I had what it took to be a parent. There was a lot of conflict, crying and screaming of “NO! NO! NO!” – and that was from all of us. I searched constantly online, joined parenting groups and read books about raising kids; I was so very serious about being a good mom and doing the right thing. But there were so many resources, so many different schools of thought and so many different pieces of advice being offered out. Which way was the right way? And the bigger question, would I be able to remember the advice during stressful times?

Be the Bigger Person, Remember What it’s Like to Be the Smaller Person

Then, during a parenting class (Nobody’s Perfect, I totally recommend it), we did an exercise where I had to find a symbol to help me stay positive in difficult moments. I had to find a way to overcome my uptightness and anger. I needed to be the bigger person, and sometimes that means remembering what it’s like to be a smaller person. Pippi cart-wheeled into my head and whispered, ”You don’t have to be so by-the-book. Skip school and make your own rules! Find the joy in the everyday and get creative when things aren’t going your way.” So I did.

Creative Storytelling in Everyday Life

Instead of trying to battle a toothbrush into my toddler’s mouth, I told him about sugar bugs. I told him these little critters carry shovels and like to dig holes and tunnels in teeth. Magically, his mouth opened wide.

When he was scared to sleep at night, instead of saying “There are no monsters in your room, go to sleep,” I told him about the monster police. They patrol 24/7, picking up monsters who should be sleeping. They take them home to their monster parents where they are tucked into their monster beds. The monster police look under beds and under closets until every monster is put to bed. My son snuggled into bed feeling safer.

Finding Balance in Parenting with Pippi

I have found on-the-spot creative lying lightens tense moments, stops tears and brings us closer together. Now it’s not all springy red pigtails and all the candy we can eat at the candy shop, but it’s finding the balance and remembering the spunky verbal spontaneity of my childhood heroine. She made fibbing fantastically fun and embodies the magical wishful-thinking I had as a child, and hope to hold on to as a grown up. When times are tough, I bring on the Pippi Power and hopefully bring a little Pippi peppy magic into the lives of everyone in my family.

Check back for future posts where I’ll offer up some of my creative storytelling ideas for kids.


By Miki Dare

writer and artist