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Almost 10 years into being a mom, Allison DeMarcus has learned a lot about parenthood — including the importance of not talking down to her children.

"The most important thing that being a parent has taught me is that you have to be upfront and honest," the DeMarcus Family Rules star tells PEOPLE's Celeb Moms Get Real. "Your kids are gonna see through if you're trying to put 'em off or not really answer the question. They see right through you through all that."

"I always want them to feel like they can approach me about things," adds the mother of two, who shares son Dylan, 8, and daughter Madeline, 9½, with her husband, Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus. "It's really hard sometimes because you think, 'God, I want to shelter them from this. Do we have to talk about this yet? They're so young.' "

"But it's important that they communicate with you, and it's important that they hear things from you," Allison says. "I've had to learn very quickly that you've gotta be as open and raw with your kids as anybody else in your life, and it's hard sometimes."

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Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus and Wife Allison "Put Everything Out There" on New Reality Show

At times, Allison says, kids "don't know that you've done anything wrong until you tell them" — but those are the instances that can produce the most growth-inducing introspection.

"I think the more that you're honest and open about that [the better], so that they realize that failures aren't actually a failure — they're a building block," she adds. "Those are the important moments that you have with your children that really make a huge difference in how they're gonna continue to communicate with you throughout their lives."

That honesty extends to being transparent about things like her own "biggest parenting fail," which was when she "completely forgot that Dylan was at camp" while trying to plan his birthday party.

"I didn't go pick him up so he was just there, hanging out," Allison recalls. "The camp was on this farm, so there's no cell service; they had no idea I was on the way. It was not next door. It really was a confidence booster for him when I showed up and he was like, 'Uh, did you just forget about me?' "

"[I said], 'No, I did not forget about you, I forgot about what pickup time was,' " she continues. "And he has never let me forget that, of course."

Both her kids make her laugh "all the time," like when they were working on their reality show's first season and, after seeing the trailer, Madeline looked at her mother and asked, " 'Is this show about you and Dad?' "

"As in, 'Why would anybody wanna watch what you guys do? Y'all aren't that interesting,' " Allison says, laughing. "So I was like, 'Thanks, child! We really appreciate it!' She was like, 'I just thought we were gonna be in this more.' "

DeMarcus Family Rules is streaming on Netflix now.






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