The Parent Practice is regularly invited to give parenting tips and guidance to the press and television about many aspects of parenting in today's world. The Parent Practice specialises in those everyday parenting issues which every family faces and has come up with tried and tested strategies for dealing with them. The Parent Practice is a leading voice on parenting matters in the UK and beyond.
They say children don’t come with a manual, and yet here I am sitting with a weighty parenting handbook that I hope will lead me to a more harmonious existence; one where my high-octane boys don’t argue or shout at every simple request. We’ve instigated numerous star charts, naughty steps, multiple warnings, counting down from five, ignoring ‘bad’ behaviour and only praising ‘good’ – all with only ever temporary results. I fear the problem lies squarely with my own inconsistency, and so I decide to ask the experts for advice. Elaine Halligan of The Parent Practice cuts straight to the heart of the problem as she sees it. “We are parenting in a different century to our own parents and somehow we’ve lost our confidence from listening to the experts.” I mentally run through the assortment of parenting books sitting on my bedside table, promising solutions, sleep and sanity. Elaine laughs: “Don’t trust the experts. You are the expert in your boys.”
Remember the excitement you felt when you got a set of pencils with your name-embossed on them? These days, personalisation is everywhere. So what happened – and is it good for our kids?
In a world where blogging, vlogging and selfie-taking are just day-to-day activities, is it any surprise that a big area of retail growth is in personalised gifts? Not really. We're all naturally a bit egocentric and children are even more so. What could be more exciting for a child than seeing their own name on a toy, stationery item or book?
Earlier this year, Daddy T and I went to a parenting workshop taster class at family club Purple Dragon in Chelsea, and this week we were delighted to be invited to a workshop on positive discipline. We’ve both really enjoyed learning more about how to become better parents from the experts at The Parent Practice, which offers courses and workshops in Chelsea, Kensington, Clapham, Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Kew.
Most parents feel a sense of loss when their child starts university, regardless of how tough those teenage years have been.
"I cried all the way home after saying goodbye to my son when he started university." This was not the confession of some tender-hearted mother, but a father who was a senior teacher at my son's school.
If they are the last child to leave home it can suddenly be very quiet. You no longer need to buy vast quantities of food, the washing machine doesn't run constantly, you don't collect dirty mugs from every corner of the house or listen for the key in the front door when they come in at 2am.
You might even begin to think that these were not so bad after all.....click on the link below to see the complete article
Elaine Halligan, director of The Parent Practice, is a contributer to this article
Juliet Richards of The Parent Practice shares how she and her family survive and thrive in the Digital Jungle
By Melissa Hood of The Parent Practice.
Published in Familes South West, June 2012
It is a certainty that we all experience failure from time to time and therefore need to be able to cope with it.There are (at least) two ways of responding to failure: one is to be beaten down by it and to feel hopeless and discouraged and perhaps give up; the other is to accept that this time things didn’t go so well and determine to keep trying until you do better.
Edison found many ways not to invent the light bulb before he discovered the way that worked. “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work…”
How do we respond to failure?
Perhaps education systems and modern methods of parenting don’t equip our children well for responding to failure positively.
Across the world education systems with their interest in standardising and measuring have put much emphasis on tests, results, scores and achievements with the result that sometimes there has been not enough attention paid to the process of learning, creating happy, creative and thoughtful problem solvers. So much attention has been paid to achievements that to fail is no longer an option.
Parents have praised their children for doing well. The focus remains on results rather than on creative thinking or new tactics tried. This creates a lot of pressure for kids – they know that winning is what counts and it makes it hard for them to fail.
This creates a culture of risk adversity in academics, sport and the arts and pits children against each other rather than encouraging collaboration – who dares to fail or even to take another path if it is so important to win and there is a set way to do it?
Parents can influence matters
• What we pay attention to and how we talk about success and failure. If we pay attention only to achievements children learn results-based success is all that counts.
• When they do not achieve the result hoped for are our children not worthwhile? When your daughter comes home from a netball match don’t let your first question be ‘did you win?’, but ‘Did you enjoy the game? Did you play your best? Were you able to set up some goals? How did the team play together?
• Giving meaningful and descriptive praise for effort, strategies, attitudes and small improvements, rather than results, to develop a growth mindset in children. “You kept on trying with these sums even though you didn’t find it easy. That’s persevering. Your efforts have paid off – five out of six are correct.”
• Looking behind children’s behaviour and acknowledging their emotions to help them manage their feelings. Children who develop emotional intelligence are more resilient and pick themselves up again after set backs.
• Encouraging independence, especially in thinking, to build self trust. Invite and listen to kids’ ideas. “I know we did too much for our youngest son around his A levels because we felt it was so important that he get the grades he needed for the next step in his education. When we do too much of his thinking/planning/ organising he doesn’t do it himself.” Mother of 18 year old.
• Modelling how to handle failure well.
• When you get something wrong don’t beat yourself up about it but acknowledge the mistake and why it was a mistake.
• Take steps to remedy it - make amends.
• Articulate what you are learning, show that you are not diminished by your failures but can profit from them.
Example: “This morning when we were getting ready for school I yelled at you guys. We were in such a hurry and I didn’t think you were being very helpful. It’s not a good idea for me to yell at you as it doesn’t make you feel good,… or me, and it doesn’t make things go any faster.
I’m sorry. I thought about it afterwards when I was calm and realised that it was because we were in a hurry and I didn’t want to be late that I shouted. Tomorrow I am going to make sure we get started earlier and I’m going to see what I can do tonight so that there’s less to do in the morning."
• Responding encouragingly to their mistakes around school work or music practice or sport as follows: Find something positive to comment on first. Make sure you’re acknowledging good qualities or behavioural traits such as commitment and creativity. Then ask them to find something to improve, routinely.
It is a difficult task for parents but we need to allow our children to have an unpressured childhood not just for the sake of their present happiness but also to create a future generation of people who can think and are willing to embrace new ideas.