My mother’s favourite expression is ‘A mother’s place is in the wrong’
It makes me smile and it is so easy to slip into guilt around motherhood and be tempted to fix things when they’ve gone wrong.
I has certainly felt like that for me.
I remember my daughter Scarlett left favourite dolls china tea set right in the middle of the playroom floor and went off in search of something else to do.
A rule in our house was that if you’ve finished playing with something, it has to be put away before you play with something else. I’m not saying I always succeeded with this one but it was a clear rule.
Shortly after she wandered off her brothers chased each other across the playroom and trod on the plates and cups.
She was devastated and said ‘It wasn’t my fault mummy. Now my tea set is broken and you need to get me a new one’
Woah – doesn’t that press some...
I remember my parenting coach telling me that it wasn't my job to make my child happy and I felt really shocked by that.
What's the point in having kids if we don't want them to have a happy life?
If you want to raise a well-rounded, emotionally well-balanced child then you’ll want to read on.
Actually as a mother of small children there were many times I didn't feel happy at all, but that was mostly when I found myself nagging and often shouting because I didn't have the right parenting tools at the time.
So happiness - why shouldn't we want our kids to be really happy, as much as we possibly can?
Of course we want them to be happy but we also need our kids to be able to cope with disappointment and be able to bounce back.
So that’s why I had the courage to stick to my guns when my three year old changed her mind about the ice cream.
So here is the scene.
‘What kind of ice cream would you like darling?’
‘Are you positive you...
For mental health awareness week, I met Heather Rutherford for an instagram live Q&A. Heather runs The Parenting Partnership and is an old friend and colleague.
Heather and I have 7 children between us and have raised our children using gentle parenting with firm boundaries. We were talking about the importance of nurturing our children’s mental health from a young age
As I always say to parents I work with, we need to think about parenting as the long game and know that laying the foundations for strong mental health and a strong self-belief is the best investment you can make for their future.
So here are the most important things we can do to nurture our kids mental health.
I felt a tap on the shoulder at school pick up
'Can I have a word Mrs McGill?'
My heart sank.
In these situations you know it can only be bad news and you immediately start to doubt your parenting abilities and blame yourself for whatever your child has got up to.
My son Nico's teacher told me he had been rude and spoken back to her when he was being reprimanded for 'bullying' a boy in his class.
I was mortified and really upset with Nico.
On the way home he refused to talk to me about it.
He was sullen and bolshy.
He pushed past me when we got to the front door.
He then refused to do his homework and picked on his siblings.
My patience was really being tried by this point until I remembered my mantra
‘Look behind the misbehaviour’
At bedtime I lay beside him on his bed whilst we stared into the darkness.
I breathed slowly and said simply
“It sounds like you feel blamed for something you didn’t mean to do…”
He started off with a rant...
One day on the way back from nursery when my daughter was little, I sensed something wasn't right. We stopped to sit on a park bench and her eyes welled up with tears.
'Nobody would play with me today, they said I was a baby and couldn't join in their games'.
I felt a terrible stab in my heart and an urge to run into my daughter's school and demand what was going on.
I wanted to shake the mean girls and tell them they needed to include Scarlett.
I felt like calling up the parents to 'have a word'
It is devastating to think of our children being in pain.
We want to 'make it all better'
To take the pain away.
But all my research told me that to build resilience in a child, we need to allow them to experience tough times and not rush to protect them.
If you haven't had this kind of experience, be prepared as it will happen.
If it isn't 'nobody wants to play with me' it could be:
'I wasn't invited to the party',
'I didn't get picked for the team',
'I'm in the bottom reading group',...