I’m not an expert on parenting. In fact I don’t think I was very good at it the first time round, though I’m enjoying the second chance that grandparenting gives you!
But after weathering the ups and downs of family life and talking to thousands of parents I have learnt a thing or two.
Firstly, there are very few ‘bad parents’. Almost everybody I know loves their children and wants the best for them.
We recommend Plunket, Hibiscus Coast Parents Centre, Steps Forward, The Parenting Place, Parent2Parent, Kidslink, Home and Family Counselling and The Incredible Years programme all of which have good websites.
On the other hand, there are quite a lot of confused parents. Should we be stricter or cut the child some slack? Are gender roles important or relevant? Should little Johnny be pushed to achieve his potential or allowed a carefree childhood? How much television is too much? If I’m not allowed to smack how do I deal with out and out defiance and stroppiness?
I have ideas about these things but not formulas. All I can say is that it really does take a village to raise a child. We were fortunate in that we were linked to a supportive community who offered our kids what we couldn’t offer and walked with us through the hard years. And in the end it worked out.