Our Childs Voice – 26 August 2009

By Parentline, 4 March 2010

Parenting practices of old days recognised

By Cathy Holland – Printed in Hamilton Press 26 August 2009

It was great to watch Nigel Latta’s Politically Incorrect Parenting show last week. For some years now, we have been persuaded to raise our children by the book, to the point where we have become ridiculously super sensitive (paranoid) and concerned about doing the right things as parents. Putting commonsense back into parenting and drawing on the wisdom and knowledge of our mothers and grandmothers, for example, makes perfect sense.

To recap, here are some simple Latta rules. Kids need fencessetting limits and boundaries for your children so they know what is expected of them. Don’t take any crap – be firm and be consistent. Let your kids be kids, let kids (together with their parents) have fun and be silly. Perhaps his best advice is feed the good and starve the bad. How often do we give praise to our children for a task done well?  Mostly, we focus too quickly on the negative.

As well as the handy hints, Latta gave recognition to the influence of parenting practices handed down to us by our mothers, grandmothers and their mothers.

My own parenting was heavily influenced by my mother and grandmother. In the early days, I was loathe to accept advice from my mother; dismissing anything she said as old wives’ tales. When I decided to sleep my babies on their tummies, her response (and my grandmother’s response) was that babies were to be swaddled (to feel safe and secure) and slept on their sides (for ease of breathing).

When I was veering towards bottle feeding compared to breastfeeding, my grandmother was quick to remind me of the benefits of breast feeding; an intimate closeness and bonding between mother and child, the comforting physical touch of skin on skin, a quiet and relaxing time out for the mother, let alone the convenience of food on tap at no extra cost.

By the time we had our last child, after a break of twelve years, I noticed a distinct change in my child rearing and parenting style. I didn’t look at a single parenting book. I was much more relaxed. I did however remember my mother’s most important advice – routines are crucial – and was genuinely pleased and forever grateful that she was involved in the upbringing of our child.

The litmus test of how good our parenting skills were is a 19 year old vibrant, energetic and thoroughly independent young woman.

A o tūpuna i whakamārama te huarahi mō tātou.

The experience and guidance of our elders will give us a brightness of hope and direction for future developments.