Shantelle Bisson On Raising Kids

Babies don’t come with instructions. Too bad, because childrearing isn’t easy—especially in today’s world of social media and ever-increasing anxiety.

Fortunately, Shantelle Bisson has your back. Bisson’s Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool guides moms and dads through the parenting journey, from deciding to have children to parenting a 10-year-old. 

Released in April and available at Barnes & Noble, Target and Amazon, the book is the first in a series that covers adolescents and adult children.

“Parenting is a forever job,” explains Bisson, who with husband, Yannick, star of Murdoch Mysteries, are parents of three grown daughters. The couple splits their time between Malibu and Toronto.

Bisson says she had noticed a shift in parenting from when her girls were young:

“Parents today seem frantic, competitive and judgmental. My message to readers is relax, trust your instincts, and keep your eyes on your own backyard,” she says.

Shantelle was also struck by parents who somehow managed to be too permissive yet micromanaged their children’s every move. The result? Kids behaving like entitled jerks.

“The goal is to raise considerate people others will want as a partner, friend or coworker,” she says. While Bisson is a mother of girls, her parenting tips are applicable to both girls and boys: “Parenting isn’t a gender issue, it’s a character issue. Your expectations should be the same for both.”

Bisson uses a conversational tone as if talking to a friend and provides real-life anecdotes, including “Parent-Fails” that reassure parents mistakes happen.  

Bisson is known for her humor and no-nonsense, spot-on advice. She doesn’t sugarcoat the messiness of parenting and covers topics many books avoid, such as postpartum bodies and how to put the spark back into a relationship. She might not have a Psychology degree, but Bisson has “been there, done that."

As one reviewer stated: “This book … had me laughing out loud!  I loved Shantelle’s no BS approach…. She puts it all in perspective and helps you find joy in the journey.”

Author is the latest addition to Bisson’s impressive resume, which includes actor, producer, philanthropist, professional cheerleader and entrepreneur.

Although the Toronto native wanted to be a performer from the moment she first stepped on stage at age 4, she was a born storyteller who used writing to express her deepest feelings:

“Whenever I was in pain, I took pen to paper. I’m passionate about writing,” she shares.

After trying her hand at fiction but unable to land a publisher, she began posting daily musings on a blog. Her parenting insights were the most popular and led to her contributing to Canadian magazines and appearing on TV and radio as a parenting/relationship expert.

Writing a parenting book was the natural next step. Through the process, her friends cheered her on.

Malibu residents, rocker Rick Springfield and his wife Barbie, are particular champions. 

“Barbie once said if there was one word to describe me, it’s ‘determined’,” says Bisson. “It’s not how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get up.”

Rick wrote an endorsement for the book, telling her, “I’ve seen you raise your kids, and I can attest to the fact your parenting works.”

She wasn’t alone bringing up the girls. Yannick was very involved, and together they were a team. 

It’s remarkable how successful they were, considering each had parents who divorced and 3 out of the 4 parents were neglectful, as Bisson describes them. 

Already a working actor by age 13, Yannick’s parents didn’t object when he moved out on his own, only 15 and alone, without adult supervision. As Shantelle wrote, “…regardless what a child wants… parents still … need to guide their child.”

Shantelle’s mom, a single mother, was an example of resilience, doing her best to create a normal life for her children. Her dad, however, was an alcoholic with no interest in his daughter, and had abandoned the family. 

Shantelle and Yannick met when they were 15 but began dating at 18 when they reconnected at an audition. They were parents at 19, and this month celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.  

“If I, with the odds stacked against me, can come out from the ashes of a broken home, having survived sexual assault when I was a child, and still raise intelligent, caring daughters, then others who doubt their parenting abilities will hopefully be inspired by my story,” she says. “Your past doesn’t define you. I’m proof you are what you decide to be, no matter your background.”

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