Sources: Yahoo Parenting – By Elaine Sir | All Things Michael
On being a parent:
I’m the strictest with my own kids. First, it’s because I can be but I’m also careful about Royal [because he’s a teenager] and I want him to be strong and set an example for the younger kids. I am committed to them all. I haven’t missed one parent – teacher conference for any of them. I remember how important it was to my mom to be there. And I want to be there too.
I struggle in the same way Michael did: Wanting to give my kids everything; but also wanting them to be normal.
Being a guardian:
Kids [with guardians] may go through phases where they say or think, “You’re not my parent” but I never wanted to risk that with Prince or Paris.
When my uncle Michael passed, Prince was 11 or 12, and he had already solidified me as a cousin, so I couldn’t just appear as a parent. So I took the “older brother” approach, rather than that of an authoritative parent. If was at a parent-teacher conference at Buckley for Prince or Paris, it was more from an “I’m proud of you” standpoint.
Growing up with Michael Jackson
I always knew my life wasn’t typical. My brothers and I would go see Lionel Richie, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Huey Lewis and the News in concert on school nights — and then we’d leave at 1:00 in the morning after hanging out backstage. I would meet legends and not even really realize it. I remember falling asleep on the way home from concerts, in a limo, but having school six hours later.
One time, Uncle Michael stayed at our house during high school finals week. There was no way I was going to study! We went to the movies, toy stores and had the best time. One morning at 4:30 a.m. as I was falling asleep after studying, the big Northridge ’94 Earthquake hit. So we drove straight from our house in Sherman Oaks, Calif. to Neverland — a magical, an amazing place of pure happiness. Then we took a private plane from a nearby airport and flew to Vegas where we stayed at Caesars Palace for a week.
Every morning Michael would run and slide into our hotel room and say, “They had another one” [talking about the aftershocks]. “Aren’t you happy we left?” Meanwhile it was chaos over in Los Angeles, but we were [safe] in Vegas because of Uncle Michael.
My mom, my role model
My mother has played the biggest role in [shaping] my thoughts on parenting. When I was a kid, there would be a positive message from a fortune cookie in my lunch bag every day. I remember her reading parenting books, trying to be an even better mother than she already was. Her level of commitment and love is what I try to implement with my own kids and cousins daily.
Moving on without mom and Michael
The world remembers my uncle as a legendary artist — but I remember him as a legendary uncle. Our television show is an opportunity to humanize him and speak of how great of a person he was. Michael was filled with such incredible love, generosity, happiness, and empathy.
We were at the Beverly Hills Hotel one morning. My brothers and I were just waking up – and he had been up reading or doing his music. He looked so sad so I asked him what was wrong. He had heard that a plane had crashed — and he rattled out the statistics of how many were dead – and he knew the exact amount of kids that died. He was torn up for the entire day because of the innocent lives that were lost. He didn’t understand why these precious lives had to go. That’s how he was. He had the greatest heart. Others’ lives affected him personally.
But, many times people took advantage of Michael’s kindness and saw it as an opportunity. And I know he was too naive to [suspect] it; he was too kindhearted and trustworthy.
There is never a day where I don’t think about both my mother and my uncle. I keep in mind what Michael told me when I lost my mother: to make her proud and present her well. He told me to do good in the world. Michael gave my brothers and I so many great traits and advice for how to live properly and healthy — and I take that to heart because I want to make Michael and my mom proud.
It gets hard though when you realize your own child lost out on an amazing grandparent and uncle.
But grandma [Katherine Jackson] has done so much for me — and she’s a big reason I got through [the losses]. She is the only maternal figure that I have. (To my kids, she’s Grandma, not “Great Grandma.”). My grandmother is the single most important person in my cousins’ lives. She does parent-teacher conferences, everything. It’s kind of like she’s the founder of a company — but I do the day-to-day management. She makes all the important decisions and I will always respect everything she says. She did so much for my brothers and me when we lost our mother. And she’s now doing the same for my three cousins. She is still wise beyond her years.
My uncle left an incredible legacy as well as my mom — so I am starting to think about what I am leaving. I could have another child but Frances is done, so I don’t push. Now I’m looking forward to being a grandparent.
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