Being an Effective Parent.

raising children

Being an effective parent can be one of the most rewarding things in life but at the same time it can be one of the most challenging.

effective parenting

From infancy right through to early adulthood, parents can face so many different situations where they can provide opportunities for children to make decisions, within limits, and to be accountable for these decisions. We need to be parents who use encouragement, valuing each child as a unique individual who requires love and respect. It’s imperative that we strive to understand each child’s behaviour, their misbehaviour and their emotions.

 Children within the same family can have very different personalities and temperaments from that of their parents… or they may be similar, and this can create many diverse challenges for parents at the different stages of childhood, through to being teenagers.

The Parental Challenge

Our challenge as parents is, “How do we raise co-operative children who are respectful, well balanced, caring and thoughtful of others and will go on to be responsible citizens in the community”.

Parents often ask, “how can I get my children under control”?  It’s the biggest frustration for parents when children don’t listen, they ignore their directions, or ignore the family’s rules. Parents get so frustrated when their children seem to be always challenging their authority. For example, choosing to make them wait when being asked repeatedly to do something such as pack up their toys, or when they choose to use the delay tactic when something is asked of them.

Other examples…

Despite your daily instructions of “BE nice to your sister”, the child’s behaviour does not change.

“Don’t do that again”,

“You need to let me do your seat belt up”

Getting your child to sleep
raising happy children

And so it goes on. Sometimes you feel as a parent that you have lost control of every situation and nothing seems to be working.  Everyday seems to be a battle of wills. Who is going to win?  Daily battles with dressing, packing up toys, getting in and out of the car or bath and going to sleep at night.

Parents can feel so worn out, despondent and feel they have lost control.  All this can lead to increased stress, frustration and arguments as to how best to bring up their kids, and parents then start blaming each other.

Of course, we as parents, are responsible for their safety and well-being, but we are also the ones who need to teach independence, good decision-making skills whilst all the while building their self-esteem.

When it comes to parenting, we need to be the overseers of their safety and well-being, always taking care of them, guiding, explaining and more importantly, conducting ourselves so as to be examples of the right way to behave towards others.  We need to show thoughtfulness and lead by example.

Good Parent or Bad Parent?

Parents worry a lot about their authority constantly being challenged or undermined in anyway and they especially don’t want to be seen as a “bad parent”.  In simple terms, parents just want their children to do as they are told, when they are told.

We have to remember as parents, that we too can be stubborn, controlling and purposefully annoying to others.  Being unreasonable or unkind brings about arguments and shouting, and when children are watching or perhaps listening in another room, they are receiving mixed messages.

Setting the Example

We as adults need to lead by example, showing our children how we as parents resolve disagreements, how we speak to each other.  We need to watch our tone of voice. Children need to see that we can apologise to each other, our children and our broader family or friends.

Children from one-day-old are always listening, watching and learning from sounds, movements, eye contact, tone of voice and the world they live in, its surrounds or environment.

Children will always try to test their boundaries, it’s part of their learning and this shows their cognitive ability is developing by frequently challenging and trying new things and wanting and waiting for how you are going to respond. This goes on through into teenage and young adulthood and probably beyond. We as parents have a great responsibility in our child’s early childhood years to develop positive skill building abilities based around love, nurture and security,  

What are the Child’s Needs?

Children need a good positive environment where together we can show honesty and respect, along with many other attributes that will stands them in good stead to become well balanced, responsible citizens who can show empathy and respect for themselves and others.  It is our job as parents to develop these skills in our children, allowing for their individual personalities to shine and grow into healthy well-balanced responsible teenagers and adults who also have respect for others.  

We want our children, over their formative years, to develop the skills to be capable of making good responsible decisions for themselves and to develop into independent thinking people who are thoughtful to those around them.

We, as parents, are of course in charge, but children have a great need to be understood and listened to, even when they misbehave. We expect our children to always remember the rules, but we need to remember that knowing the rules and putting them into practice at a given moment by a 3-year-old or older are two different things.

Read more Helpful Parenting Tips

self esteem is, self esteem activities

A Mother’s Day Reflection

Mothers Day Flowers

Each year, we celebrate Mother’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate the women in our lives who have special meaning to us… the women who have played a significant role in our upbringing, who have loved us dearly, guided us and with whom we feel a very special connection. These women may be our own dear mother, a grandmother, an aunt or big sister motherly figure, or a carer, all of whom have guided us and helped us to grow.

Flowers for Mothers Day
Flowers for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is also a special day to acknowledge all women who have experienced different or difficult circumstances in life… those who no longer have their mothers, those who have lost their children through different circumstances and are not able to hold or cradle them in their arms.  We also think of women who dearly desire motherhood but are unable to have children yet.  Mother’s Day can, for so many, be a very sad reminder of a loved mother who is no longer with them.

It’s a day to remember with gratitude all the times these women have been a source of strength and guidance and have been there for support when we have needed it… providing us with values to live by and resilience to bounce back when things get difficult.

Motherhood can be difficult and challenging at times. There can be lots to laugh about and lots of tears and sorrow.  We need to be grateful to all mothers everywhere who have come to the aid of others with encouragement, empowerment and strength of character and who have influenced other women, throughout history.

Mother’s Day is a great day to embrace all mothers everywhere, and to encourage all women to be the very best that they can be.

Read about Raising Happy Children


integrity, define integrity

As parents, we need to instil in our children particular traits that are essential for them to adopt and to learn to master early in life. 

This will assist them as they grow and continue to develop into responsible adults and become self-reliant, responsible and well-adjusted people.  These traits need to be inculcated from a very early age.


The main traits are..

  1. Resilience – the ability to bounce back after setbacks.
  2. Assertiveness – to take on challenges and resist intimidation
  3. Honesty and integrity – essential in all situations
  4. Confidence – for maintaining happiness
  5. Self-esteem – to build character
  6. Creativeness – to develop their own talents, gifts, ideas and abilities
  7. General social behaviours – good manners, eating etiquette, talking etc

1 Resilience

Teaching resilience is essential when raising children so that they can bounce back from situations where they may otherwise feel challenged or overwhelmed.  

Good strong parental guidance leads by example, showing and explaining how to cope when faced with difficult or challenging situations, dealing with friendships, or falling short of their expectations about school exams, sporting results and the many other challenges that children face.  

The young child, as well as the teenager, needs to be guided and encouraged through difficult times

Children need to learn that by solving problems and keeping everything in perspective, challenges can be overcome.  Problems can be faced head-on and solutions can be found.  

The young child, as well as the teenager, needs to be guided and encouraged through difficult times, in order to learn that, by analysing a situation and solving problems, with resilience, difficulties can be overcome and that there is always a way.

2 Assertiveness

When children become more confident, assertiveness will follow.  Assertiveness is a by-product of confidence. As children grow and develop and experience new challenges or different situations in life, they are less likely to shy away from new difficulties they face and be more likely to speak up and ask for help.

This helps them to feel more capable and builds assertiveness.  Children need to understand that we all make mistakes when learning a new sport or playing a musical instrument. The most important thing is having a go… participating and understanding that learning new skills can take time.  

Learning New Skills can take time

Parents need to encourage, not step in and take over, or over-react.  Children are watching and learning from adults all the time and sensitive children will not want to participate if they sense a negative response.

Affirmative words and actions and reactions from their parents will reinforce positive assertiveness building skills.

Parents need to be very careful using comparisons between themselves and/or other siblings as this will create feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. They may lead to a fear of rejection and put doubt in their minds, making them feel not capable or that others rights are more important than theirs.

It’s important to build assertiveness in children so their confidence and self-esteem levels will grow and develop. This helps them feel valued, loved and heard. Children being assertive encourages good positive communication between parents and children. Kids will feel free to speak up when they feel something is wrong, or they may feel uneasy about something.  They will feel that they have a right to express an opinion when appropriate, knowing they will be listened to.

3 Honesty and Integrity.

Honesty and integrity are integral to a child’s early development and should be learnt from a very early age.  When children are playing games or sharing with others, this is when parents can explain clearly about not cheating and being fair with each other, playing by the rules, not the ones made-up on the spot to suit. This develops integrity and demonstrates the importance of sharing.

Fairness and honesty can be taught while playing board games

Children will in turn expect their siblings, other children, and adults also to behave with the same integrity and honesty.  Integrity and honesty goes to the heart of proper family values, how parents behave and expect their children to behave, and that everyone can be trusted.

If parents (and children) demonstrate honesty in daily life, and if it is reinforced and rewarded, this helps children to transition into the teenage years, knowing that honesty and integrity is a normal part of their everyday life. This will go a long way in helping them to become well-rounded adults.

4 Confidence

Develop Confidence and Self-Esteem in your child.

Parents will not always be around to assist a child when difficulties arise, but if you know how to build confidence in your children, you will be gently using encouraging words and affirmations.  Kids’ confidence will thus grow in small steps as adversities arise.

Growing confidence is inevitable and children will be able to stand on their own two feet and be proud of their achievements. These are very important lessons to learn in life, as facing up to challenges builds self-esteem and confidence.

5. Self esteem

Building self-esteem in children is vital and is closely linked to their behaviour and to their overall happiness in life.  Children need confidence for their everyday wellbeing, and resilience.  Self-esteem building activities for kids are a great way of knowing how to teach self confidence in children.

Children need confidence for their everyday wellbeing

The ability to bounce back and face challenges enables children to feel accepted and fit in with others.  When children are able to be confident, their self-esteem is heightened. Children need lots of praise, when it is due, and strict discipline when their behaviour is unacceptable.  The issue should be dealt with promptly, quietly and fairly. 

Confidence comes when they are encouraged and praised appropriately without excess. Parents need to teach children how to behave correctly when difficulties arise and not crush a child’s feelings when things go wrong.  

Confidence and self-esteem come from within, when a child feels they have mastered something themselves, perhaps a difficult or new challenge that may take some time to overcome. 

Your children’s confidence and self-esteem levels will grow with every new difficulty.

6 Creativity

All children are born with creative ability and when given the opportunities to develop their creative talents, they learn to explore new possibilities. Their brain forms new pathways, heightening their cognitive ability to try new things and overcome new challenges.  Creativity develops imagination and this can be expressed through creative writing, music, dance, theatre, plays and the arts.

Visiting museums and exploring art galleries, appreciating and discussing with others as to what they see and how they feel, is essential to opening up a child’s mind to explore different avenues that they may develop an interest in.

Whilst many screen-based activities can be creative, parents need to allow their children to experience a variety of sporting activities to develop and strengthen hand-eye coordination, ball-handling skills, along with balance and muscle strength. This in turn leads to close friendships through collaboration between team members, developing strategies and helps them to consolidate their opinions, strengths, and values.

Playing games involves developing creative strategies

Children are happier when they are engaged in creative activities that bring them pleasure.

This develops new thought processes and cognitive thinking ability, expanding their knowledge as they engage in new creative skills.

7 Good Manners and Social Behaviours.

Good manners are one of the fundamental behaviours that parents need to teach their children, to fit into society.  Without proper basic manners, children will struggle and find that others will not approve of their behaviour.

Table etiquette, politeness, queuing in line, eating your food, playing with others and knowing how to behave when playing on the children’s playground equipment, or eating out at a restaurant and many more, all require parental guidance, practice and the setting of good examples. When raising children, these common essential behaviours need consistent encouragement and reminders to reinforce and to eventually become a natural characteristic of every child.

Read more about Raising Happy Children

Developing balance and muscle strength

Home Schooling

easy peasy homeschool

Home Schooling

The Challenge for Parents and Children

Due to the Covid-19 Virus, home schooling has been thrust upon many parents and teachers for the first time and this can be very challenging for many.  Often, space in the home becomes a premium, along with quiet places to think clearly without disruption or distraction.

home schooling

When both parents are also working from home and also have work requirements… zoom calls plus important emails, reports and deadlines to attend to, dealing with young children or teenagers can all become very challenging.

Teachers at school are also finding their feet when preparing home-school schedules and sending out multiple home-school transcripts across their varying student classes.

Learning from home also creates challenges for children in staying connected with their friends, as well as learning and developing socially.  For some children, distant learning creates feelings of isolation, not being able to have the usual fun and sport activities that they would have when playing with their friends at school.  However, home schooling or remote learning can constitute creative and fun learning experiences for children as they may well pursue new interests and overcome challenges when faced with home-schooling requirements.

Learning from home will no doubt enable them to develop initiative, be creative and be more responsible.  Home-schooled kids often develop and take on more responsibilities around the home.  These new skills might be growing some vegetables at home, helping in the kitchen or perhaps creating fun projects for themselves and other members of the family or their friends on line.

homeschool curriculum



Children learn best with structure, routine and clear guidelines about what is expected of them.  This helps builds confidence and feelings of security, which avoids uncertainty and makes for fewer upsets.

1 Create a warm and pleasant atmosphere

2 Be your child’s coach, with lots of encouragement

3 Focus on effort, with words of affirmation

4 Build confidence

5 Be gentle and allow feelings to be expressed

6 Allow for the challenging moments

7 Focus on the positives and building relationships

all in one homeschool


Whether you have young children, teenagers or uni students at home… whatever age, home-schooling can take time to adjust to.  When distant learning, everyone needs a routine to follow, to keep in the swing of things.

Therefore, it’s best to create a family routine.  The result will be …

better concentration,

less chance of distraction,

developing better learning abilities,

a positive impact on your child’s education.

Children can more easily study from home with a simple home-school routine. Keep the same routine.  Get up at the same time each day.  Get the kids up and dressed.

At the time that school would normally start, ensure that the kids get their books out or computers at the kitchen table or the study desks.

Tip.. Set firm limits but don’t be too strict.  Eg “You can’t use your iPad until your work is done”.


simply homeschool

1 Establish good habits

2 Organise your desk, books, computer etc

3 Get up at the same time each day

4 Always get dressed

5 Be ready to start the school home program

6 Schools have been preparing materials around the curriculum, so follow their guide.   Create a chart for what is expected from school

7 Establish regular breaks with the usual snacks and drinks

8 Allow regular play and free time activities. Children work best in the mornings…  concentration levels wane towards the afternoon

9 Discuss schoolwork and how it fits into everyday life.  Children love helping and being involved and learning practical skills.  For small children, it might be a practical maths lesson… “2 eggs plus 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup of dates, 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 cups of crushed biscuits = how many cups?”   Cook and eat the yummy result.

10 Keep the same routine for each day around the school learning time. This will be easier for children, when they go back to formal classes at school, to more easily slot back into the school timetable.

11 Set firm limits, but allow lots of fun activities, relaxation and family time.

12 Be prepared to make some sacrifices but more importantly, build family relationships and have lots of fun.

learning from home

It’s very important that children continue with their education, even though learning from home may be challenging for everyone.  Parents may be required to assist their children when following the home-school curriculum program.  However they are not expected to become a home-school teacher, but merely to guide and encourage their children as they follow the home-school schedules.

Read more about Child Education

Parenting Styles

Parenting Styles

Parenting Experts have concluded that there are at least three parenting styles. 

Effective parenting styles can vary according to culture.  

The three main parenting styles are authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting and the permissive parenting style.  These parenting styles are all very different in their parenting approach.

Authoritative Parenting has been found to be the most effective style of parenting in western culture.  Authoritative parenting is consistent and enforces boundaries.

Authoritative parenting is characterized by the parent giving reasonable demands, setting consistent limits, expressing warmth and affection and listening to the child’s point of view.  American children raised by authoritative parents tend to have high self-esteem and social skills.  Whilst the authoritative parenting style is the style that is most encouraged in modern American society, this is not necessarily the case in other cultures.

Parenting Styles

In contrast, Authoritarian Parenting which is characterized by parents placing high value on conformity and obedience, tightly monitoring their children, and expressing less warmth, is seen as more beneficial in other cultures. For instance, in a 2010 study by Russell et al, first-generation Chinese American children raised by authoritarian parents did just as well in school as their peers who were raised by authoritative parents.

Many parents today adopt a Permissive Parenting style which has few guidelines and rules. Permissive parenting, however, can lead to undisciplined children as they develop.

No new parents would want to regard themselves as bad parents.  And no parent wants to be accused of excessively permissive parenting but, on the other hand, few parents would want to be regarded as “the world’s strictest parents”.

In raising happy children, parents need to be vigilant, active parents but not “helicopter parents”, hovering and rushing to meet their needs at every turn.  Parents of happy children are active parents who foster care, nurture and warmth, whilst at the same time demonstrating and setting examples to their children.  

Positive parenting is a child-centered approach that ultimately leads to Raising Happy Children.