This article is not about the five top parenting advice tips for 2022, or about being the perfect parent but rather it’s a look at how being a mindful, positive parent helps no matter where in the world you live.
By Carolyn Brooke
If you find parenting or caregiving very frustrating at times, know that you are not alone!
Parenting can be hard no matter where in the world you live. For us in Aotearoa our daily concerns and frustrations may be our tamariki having too much screentime or sugar, the quality of education they receive at school or how to keep them safe and cared for while still holding down a job. Youth mental wellbeing, as highlighted in the media recently, is a growing and major concern for many parents in Aotearoa.
The concerns of parents in the communities where ChildFund works are usually more immediately life-threatening or limiting like whether there is enough food or water, whether their children can actually travel the long distance to attend school or if children can be kept safe in a warzone, and these are all issues ChildFund helps children, families and communities get through.
It’s important to acknowledge that whether a parent’s concerns are immediately life threatening or not, they are all important and valid.
As parents, we do our best to nurture, protect and guide our children, After all we have to prepare them to fend for themselves in the big wide world. We want the best for our children and for them to be healthy and have a strong future.
I am a mother of two boys, four years ago I participated in a local positive parenting course. One of the strategies that really resonated with me was daily dedicated play (to allocate a set amount of time every day, say 10 minutes, for uninterrupted time with your child and make it very clear to your child that this is their time alone). This one-on-one interaction helps to fill your child’s emotional cup in feeling secure and it is enjoyable and generally manageable, keeping in mind that while 10 minutes doesn’t sound a lot it can at times, in between meals, baths, reading, and other routines, be a challenge to do consistently.
As children grow the ten minutes may change to a discussion together or it may be a walk. What this strategy encourages is a daily one-on-one connection with your child.
Modeling problem solving and saying sorry were other helpful tools I took from the course. There were plenty more too.
So, while the positive parenting course is not a magic silver bullet for parenting and while different children will respond differently to the strategies, it certainly helps. And today we parents can do with all the help we can get and after all whatever helps to keep a calmer and happier household is as good for our wellbeing as it is for our child’s.
In New Zealand we are very fortunate, at least in many places, to have access to resources through the Government or local organisations to assist our parenting journey. In communities where ChildFund works, like Betio in Kiribati this was not the case and that is why ChildFund is working there now with parents on a positive parenting programme. It’s based around seven principles of love and warmth; talking and listening; teaching and learning; limits and boundaries; being consistent; and structure and safety.
As published in The Northern Advocate article here
Carolyn Brooke is a mum of two, ChildFund New Zealand's engagement manager and a child sponsor of over 20 years.