I’ve been asked several times before: how did you do it? How you manage to raise such

The short answer is, it was hard work. It wasn’t easy. I made lots of mistakes. Sometimes my children hated me for the restrictions I made. Somethings we laugh at today. The one thing that I did was I was I tried to be consistent. They knew that I would love them no matter what. Even if, after all I did and said, they made their own mistake, they knew that I would be there for them. There was no secret recipe. The was no, one rule fix all. I was just a constant present in their lives.

Today’s challenges

Today, some families are facing lots of challenges that may impact them as parents and carers. Statistics show that there has been an increase in emotional stresses in households. The reasons could be varied, i.e. loss of income through changes in Universal Credit, the loss of a job or the abuse of zero hours contracts. The emotional stress factors may lead to domestic violence, visits to food banks etc. All these and more may influence parent’s ability to parent.

Should it stop us from parenting? That’s a question for you to answer. However, it’s our responsibility to parent our children, not the other way around. We have a duty of care to our children to provide a safe and secure environment.

Should it stop us from parenting? That’s a question for you to answer. However, it’s our responsibility to parent our children, not the other way around. We have a duty of care to our children to provide a safe and secure environment.

How do we do it?

  • Providing a home, despite the daily challenges, that help our children feel secure. Doing this by making sure that they are fed, clean and get plenty of sleep.
  • Showing an interest in the things they enjoy. This might mean going to a museum, visiting the library etc.
  • Spending time talking. We could make the most of the opportunities when our child/children come to us and create other
    opportunities ourselves. Some families make sure that they eat together, as their children get older, at least once a week. You may have a ‘no phone’ rule while eating together.
  • Spending time doing the things they enjoy. It may be swimming, playing a board game, kite flying or even playing on a console etc. together.
  • Taking an interest in their education. This could be as simple as asking about their school day, hearing them read, taking an
    interest in their homework and going to parents’ evenings etc. Some parents’ remark that they don’t understand what their
    children are learning and so find it hard to communicate with them about school.
  • Can be easily solved by talking to your child’s teacher/school, you could encourage your child to be the expert and show you what they are learning, there are books, after school clubs or supplementary schools that can support your child if you feel you’re not in a position to help. Along with providing a quiet place at home so that that they can study.
  • Making sure that our child/children have a proper breakfast and arrive at school on time. Being consistently late for school may affect their emotional wellbeing, cause anxiety and loss of teaching time.
  • Encouraging them to exercise; that could be in the form of joining a club, riding a bike or going to a local park etc. Keeping
    children busy and in the right environment is of benefit to both parent and child. Extra-curricular activities reportedly build
    children’s self-esteem, they learn social skills, it raises their attainment, they learn new skills, make new friends, have better
    emotional and behavioural skills, less emotional. These children are more likely to grow up as adults who know how to behave in social situations, are more confident and the skills they may learn in these activities may lead to their chosen career.
  • By setting realistic boundaries for our children. This may be in the form of timing screen time, setting an appropriate bedtime routine etc.
  • Monitor their phone/computer time. It is illegal for children under the age of thirteen to have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat account. On YouTube, children are not allowed to have an account until age eighteen.
  • At the moment there is a campaign on the TV to encourage families to talk called ‘Britain get talking’ it might be an opportunity that you may want to utilise.

All these are dependent on the age of your child/children and need to adapt accordingly. It’s much easier when our child/children are younger to reduce their vulnerabilities to peer pressure and negative social influences.

If our home is a secure space, then hopefully our children will not want to seek negative relationships, succumb to peer pressure and negative social influences will be less attractive.

Some primary schools try to tackle some of these issues too by providing DARE programmes, and it encourages parents to be involved while their child is taking part. However, we need to be the ones that are advocating for our children, by being positive
role models for.

We may do all of the above and more, and they may be influenced by peers and the negatives of social media. If that happens, as
parents we still should provide a space where they can share their concerns, guide them (if necessary) to seek help from other agencies and be a listening ear. We may need to support ourselves and be willing to do so to help our child/children. There are no quick fixes or magic role but try to, we may need a combination of all the above and ‘one size does not fit all.’ It’s important to remember that siblings may have different needs and should not to compare one against the other.

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