Being a parent

February 6th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Dita De Boni does her final blog on in the Herald and lists what she has learnt:

  1.  I knew nothing, absolutely nothing at all, about children before having them.
  2. People who are violent to children (not a smack on the bum when they’ve done something wrong, but serious violence), I believe, forfeit their right to be around children at all.
  3. Boys and girls are very, very different, and basically need different parenting.
  4. Bottle feeding isn’t poisoning your child; daycare probably won’t harm them; crying babies down at a certain age is bound to restore sanity to a household.
  5.  I have been incredibly lucky to have a husband who enjoys spending time with the children is an excellent dad.
  6. There are many days parenting young children (or even older children) that will test your sanity and make you despair.

It is her first point especially I want to focus on. She also said:

On the one hand this was terrible: the first child is the clusterbomb that blows your life to pieces. I firmly believe that, in the main, the first child is the hardest (while the subsequents grow the workload, they are not mindblasting in the same way, major issues aside). On the other hand, fewer people in general would probably have children if they were fully conversant with the effort required. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing, which is another purpose an honest parenting blog/column can fulfil.

I’d like to be a parent one day, but I have to say the thought does terrify me also. I know that until you have actually been a parent, you really have no idea what it is like. You may have a year or two of never having an undisturbed night’s sleep. You can’t relax if your kid suddenly disappears out of sight etc etc.

Just as someone who has never worked in business generally has no idea how business actually works, I think those who have never been parents also have no real idea (including myself in that). We can be sympathetic and empathetic, but nothing beats living it.

There is a political element to this also. MPs who have never been a parent I think will always struggle (no matter how well motivated) to truly understand the challenges of raising a family. This is in no way to suggest only parents should be MPs or have views on political issues that affect families. Of course not. But that it is useful for MPs to have experiences beyond the political.

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60 Responses to “Being a parent”

  1. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I knew nothing, absolutely nothing at all, about children before having them

    Same, they are teenagers now and I still know fuck all about them, one day prior to shuffling off rather than than knowing the secret of the universe I much rather some small insight into the teenage brain.

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  2. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    Well – the first thing young parents – especially women – need to do is to stop listening to all the anti-harm crap thats around – like how and when to feed them, how to dress them, should you take them outside in the sun, etc, etc.

    eg: when do you feed them – when they are hungry and forget all the othershit about organised times etc.

    And the other thing – they are joining your family – so you dont change EVERYTHING for their arrival. Theyre going to have to fit in one day – so start on day one.

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  3. Viking2 (11,572 comments) says:

    Ah that’s easy PEB.
    It really is.
    All ya have to do is remeber this.
    That God, (you know the sky fairy), removes a teenagers brain at 13 and returns it at 23.

    Now that is absolutely true.
    Having to explain this to two of my staff in the last few days. One a mum with one at 13 and anoither at 23. (from down your way). The 23 yr old is just coming right, is now a fully fledged teacher and starting to be sensible. The 13 well she is just starting out. Ha.
    have to laugh.
    Went thru it ourselves.

    Teenagers are irrational, noisy, don’t listen and all that. Most of them survive and get to the other end and leave you wondering WTFhappened here.
    Enjoy.

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  4. Black with a Vengeance (1,866 comments) says:

    And if you’re a teenager having a child do you suddenly become more aware of your childishness?

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  5. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Give a toddler a toy baby with those moving eyes that open and close, and the little girls will hold the toys and treat them like babies and the boys will poke them in the eyes, trying to figure out how they work. A physio told me every single toddler would act this way that she observed as my little boy (aged 12 months at the time) poked the toy baby in the eyes. I was surprised by this, as I had been brought up to believe that boys and girls are socialised into their roles. Great way of breaking the equality programming that we get – spend a lot of time with babies and you can’t help but be changed by them and realise that our gender is hard-wired in.

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  6. calendar girl (1,270 comments) says:

    The contemporary trend (even if it’s not universal) towards delaying child-bearing and child-rearing until many new parents are well into their 30s and 40s makes everything even more difficult. Energy levels inevitably diminish with age, as do adults’ patience and adaptability.

    The underlying social trends that contribute to this fundamental departure from the more traditional age range for parenting will have some, hopefully limited, effects on the quality of both parenthood and childhood experiences. Yes, human beings will adapt over a couple of generations, as they usually do, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that we can meddle at whim with nature’s principles – and not experience unforeseen repercussions.

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  7. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    Give a Johnboy a Lucia Doll and he won’t poke her in the eyes! :)

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  8. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    @Lucia Maria. Bought home a Little Brother and first thing Big Brother said was, “Poke baby eye”. Second thing he did was stick his digit in Little Brother’s eye socket.
    I love what she says about testing your sanity. You have nothing but sympathy for parents who lose children because despite your best efforts they end up on roads though you’ve locked the doors, fall off everything and choke on random objects. One of my sons ground his finger on the housing of a blender and 10 minutes later was climbing from a window onto the roof. first one to find every bit of maintenance work that needs to be done to prevent major injury. Then there is all the awful crap you do to them yourself. I sat on one son’s hand and broke it. I was pregnant with twins, the doctor very flatteringly called it a “crush injury “.
    Thanks for the head’s up on teenagers. Lawd.

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  9. Viking2 (11,572 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria (1,245) Says:
    February 6th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Great way of breaking the equality programming that we get – spend a lot of time with babies and you can’t help but be changed by them and realise that our gender is hard-wired in.

    Yep that’s true no matter which way it is, normal or different. pity so many of your god bother’s spend so much effort trying to bugger that up.

    Just couldn’t help yourself spin the bullshit could you.

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  10. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    “Just as someone who has never worked in business generally has no idea how business actually works,”

    Which is why I simply cannot work out why so many inside National support Jamie Lee Ross. The worst part about this kid being in the house is that one day he will be a minister.

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  11. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    How nice of Lucia, she tells us all about kids yet this is the same evil person who thinks that those who conceive via IVF are sinners.

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  12. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Monique,

    Oh dear! With my two, they were four years apart, so the older one knew at that age not to stick his fingers in his brother’s eye!

    Don’t listen to Viking about teenagers, I have one (he turned 16 today) and he’s fantastic. Hopefully his friend, who tripped and fell in our lounge today, hasn’t broken one of our large stereo speakers. Have to remember to test it out …

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  13. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    Seeing you don’t believe in contraception Lucia can you explain why your husband only got it twice in four years?

    Is he happy?

    Is he a Priest? :)

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  14. smttc (763 comments) says:

    Johnboy, lol!

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  15. Nigel Kearney (1,049 comments) says:

    I have two girls and have learned a lot, but very little of political relevance that I didn’t know already. Politicians don’t need kids in order to make good decisions about them, any more than they need to have been on welfare in order to make good decisions about that.

    One thing that did surprise me is kindergarten. The stats that shows kids who go through ECE do better can only be based on selection bias, because a kid can easily complete two years of kindy without ever opening a book or doing anything with a letter or number. I went along one day shortly after my oldest daughter started, actually expecting to see kids doing something that could loosely be described as educational. But it’s just all play, all the time, and taxpayers should not be contributing anything towards it. Kids would learn much more if you just chucked them in a room with Sesame Street on TV.

    School is much better but I think you do also have to educate them at home to some extent, i.e. have planned activities that they do every day after school at regular times and keep setting goals, achieving them and setting new ones. Not just sitting down with a book now and then and otherwise expecting school to teach them everything they need to know.

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  16. Andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Here’s the thing being a parent is a dedicated thing, this post actually highlights why the same sex marriage thing is a nonsense, why bonding men and women together in a committed relationship is important

    Firstly it isn’t one or two years od sleepness nights, it is at least 20 years of work to raise a child, more to raise a family and things like

    I have been incredibly lucky to have a husband who enjoys spending time with the children is an excellent dad.

    She shouldn’t have to be “incredibly lucky to have a husband……”. It goes without saying that is what a husband should be, that is the expectation that should be placed upon a man

    And this “Boys and girls are very, very different, and basically need different parenting.” yes they are – gender is not a social construct it is real and this silly pretense about gender neutrality is both foolish and dangerous. And of course the roles of for each parent in this basically different parenting for each child is different as well.

    This marriage thing is a tried and true recipe for bringing up well adjusted children socialized into the ways of our culture and here we are spinning off into the wild blue yonder with craziness along with bizarre word games because of some fantasy that marriage is something it isn’t.

    Beats me.

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  17. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    My son is 21 and he is almost human. Can have a conversation most of the time but he still practices procrastination as an artform.

    When he was about 1 yr I was comming out of KFC with Friday night dinner and toddler in arms. tripped on uneven pavement and basically threw baby and meal into drive thru lane before falling flat on my face. Baby bounced on his head. KFC staff came to assistance (replaced meal, wiped blood off kid) A older lady who helped me up told me I would remember this far longer than the kid. He is fine and has never mentioned it . The Missus still dosent know :-)

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  18. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Fuck Andrei you are either thick or work for the NZ Herald.

    If you are going to quote i.e “incredibly lucky to have a husband, use the entire quote which is ,” have been incredibly lucky to have a husband who enjoys spending time with the children is an excellent dad.

    There are alot of families stuck with useless fathers who do nothing for the family, so please stop be a tosser for five minutes and don’t try and derail this thread because you dislike homo’s.

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  19. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay/Andrei There are a lot of families stuck with useless mothers who do SFA for the kids!

    The ability to get pregnant doesnt meant your good at parenting.

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  20. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    I was fortunate (or maybe not) to have twins at 23 and then my youngest at 43. With a 20 year gap between births and parenting methods, I realise one thing. You do what’s right for you and your child(ren). I’m certainly enjoying my now 6 year old more than I did my twins and maybe it’s my age, but I certainly feel more relaxed.

    I also now have in my care my 13 year old niece. Geezeeeeeee, do girls always spend so much time in front of the mirror and in the bathroom?

    And although your own children are a treasure, there is a special joy in having grandchildren. Especially when they leave with their parents, cheeks stuffed with sante biscuits and double chocolate muffins. (While nana waves from a safe distance covering her smirk)

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  21. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    Andrei is running interference for Lucia PEB! :)

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  22. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    2 points for you NW!

    Great when the parents take them home!!! :) :)

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  23. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Northland Wahine

    You are obviously one of those grandparents that thinks its bloody hilarious to buy drum sets and horns for presents on the proviso that ‘you keep them at your house sweetie”. ha bloody ha

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  24. duggledog (1,589 comments) says:

    Which is why Helen Clark never resonated with me, and John Key does, a bit. Bringing up kids (for me anyway) is in some ways easy and really hard all at once. But it’s easily the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I sometimes think some people (and I include these Herald columnists in this) make it sound harder than it is.

    I drill this into my kids’ heads: who they choose to raise a family and settle down with is the most important decision they will ever make. It really is.

    PS – DPF – if you can, do!

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  25. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    Despite the best efforts of the turds that arise to become Politicians most of us manage to get on with life and raise good children and grandchildren duggledog.

    It only seems to be the folk who rely on the Gummint for everything that fail in this respect.

    What a fuckin surprise!!!! :) :) :)

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  26. Viking2 (11,572 comments) says:

    Great idea, PEB.
    And despite Lucia’s denial teenagers are a different beast, they lie, they won’t talk, they are moody, they are either fanatics at something or they are bone idle. There are no in betweens.
    If Lucia’s guy is fantastic, either he is covering up and she hasn’t twigged (probably gay) or he hasn’t found girls yet. That will come for sure. Wait till he comes home and tells her he has put some nice Catholic girl in the pudding club. They are well known for being precosious down Wellywood way.

    Anyway Lucia will learn. But hey nothing a bunch of Hail Mary’s won’t put right.
    Poor old God. What he has to answer for.

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  27. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    If his Dad is a Priest he will be OK V2! :)

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  28. Pete George (23,687 comments) says:

    I had absolutely no baby experience before my first was born but no shattering experience, I was looking forward to it and couldn’t wait to get them home from hospital – had to push in those days to get out. It went very well (mostly), no great dramas and very enjoyable.

    Having a very good mother helped, Healthy concern is important, worrying too much can cause more problems than it prevents.

    Becoming a parent three times and being a close part of their growing up was by far the best thing I’ve done in my life. The rewards keep coming with grandchildren added.

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  29. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Classic JB :)

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  30. Johnboy (17,007 comments) says:

    “I had absolutely no baby experience”

    God a miracle!!!

    PG was an adult birth!

    Hope Mum didn’t need too many stitches! :)

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  31. bringbackdemocracy (428 comments) says:

    Isn’t wonderful that we no longer have child abuse in NZ thanks to Sue Bradford, or was that Tsunami.

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  32. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    PEB… Bloody oath mate!

    Although the toy of choice is a fisher price lawn mower for the boys and vacuum cleaner for the girl. How un-PC is that!

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  33. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    It’s a long story as to why I only have two children. Part of it is lack of fertility on my part or my husband’s or both. Another is that we did use contraception before we become Catholic. Reading about the Catholic anti-contraception stance was the final part of my conversion more than six years ago now, it made so much sense. Convincing my husband was a different matter… and then there was the annulment that he needed to sort out and consequent living together as brother and sister for a couple of years. So, long story short, while still hopeful for more children, being in my forties and he’s turned fifty, not looking too likely at this point.

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  34. mikenmild (11,776 comments) says:

    Gotta love the way catholics go for annulments instead of divorces.

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  35. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Classic quote of this thread attributable to Pauleastbay:

    “Fuck Andrei you are either thick or work for the NZ Herald.”

    My husband isn’t one for following the blogs but without missing a beat he turned and said to me:
    Couldn’t be both could he?”

    Tickled my funny bone. But I do agree with Andrei on some points: as long as he isn’t sucking up to Uncle Simon Collins for tabloidy effect:
    “Firstly it isn’t one or two years of sleepless nights, it is at least 20 years of work to raise a child, more to raise a family”.
    Like Northland Wahine has stated. You’ve got to consider the age factor. The last generation has been shortchanged and lead to believe you’ve got the same capacity to deal with kiddy crap at the age of 45 as you do at the age of 25.

    Congrats on your 16 year old Lucia Maria and best of luck.

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  36. Azeraph (608 comments) says:

    Young humans don’t stop developing until the age of 25.

    Teenagers are a joy and a pain, their risk/impulse system is underdeveloped and are prone to take sometimes sad risks.

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  37. Scott (1,819 comments) says:

    I so agree with DPF that there is a political element to this. And the fact of the matter is that under Labour we had a lot of MP’s who had never been parents telling actual parents that what they were doing was wrong and from now on they should parent this way. The anti-smacking bill was a major piece of social engineering that strikes at the heart of the family. From now on you cannot physically discipline your own children. That was a terrible piece of legislation and to their shame the National government has not lifted a finger to repeal it.

    Now if DPF would only apply his thinking “until you have been a parent you have no idea what it is like” to the whole question of marriage. I am thinking something like – “unless you are actually married you may have little idea about marriage?”
    Now if he would only apply that thought to another major piece of legislation concerning marriage that is going through parliament right now? What was it again?

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  38. Belinda (141 comments) says:

    I enjoyed my children as teenagers more than I enjoyed them as babies.
    Still glad I became a grandmother rather than a mother at 45 though.
    No fun having teenagers in your 60s/

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  39. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Thanks, Monique!

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  40. David Garrett (7,558 comments) says:

    Lucia: Do tell us all about annulments…and why your husband was able to get one (now that they don’t sell them any more)…Did the clerical court actually believe he had never had sex with his “wife” ? Or was he in some way compelled to “marry” her so therefore several years of rumpy pumpy was somehow able to be ignored…?

    Come on, do tell…there’s nothing on the telly….

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  41. pq (728 comments) says:

    thank you to everyone who has spoken, written truly about their children, complete and utter love
    there is much i could say
    I not wish to tell Mr Farrarr to suck daisies but I do so read on.
    Being a parent is the most emotional experience, and nothing, absolutely nothing on earth competes with it.
    My own Mother once said to me she would die in the gutter for me and I was a 14 year old boy,
    If you people are here are not a parent of child you are prevented from speaking because you know nothing.

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  42. pq (728 comments) says:

    get real as soon as you can Farrar, it is it as bad as you want to think, this political,that is with the NZ First 9%,
    we can not get guarantees from him,
    be careful Farrar there are powerful forces moving,, i know nothing, only a little .
    I bet your Mother loves you Farrar, of course she does you are brilliant,
    no demerit points Farrar give me space

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  43. SPC (5,779 comments) says:

    The irony of the politics is this – is that a party headed by a woman without children campaigned for WFF in 2005. And John Key campaigned for the Brash tax cuts instead. Many families are better off today because Labour won and Key as PM after 2008 kept WFF.

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  44. MrLimerick (10 comments) says:

    I’ve been in a same-sex relationship for 19 years and parenting for 14… through the two of us taking in boys and girls who had been abused and neglected by parents of both genders, unfortunately mostly relatives! I definitely feel that I have much more in common with straight OR gay friends, relations and work-mates who have children, than straight or gay ones who don’t. Your entire focus of life changes when you are raising children and you relate more to other parents than singles or DINKs.
    I’m not really sure about Dita’s point three though… I think there is a lot of overlap between boys and girls, or maybe SOME boys and SOME girls.

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  45. BlairM (2,365 comments) says:

    Having children is fantastic, easily the best thing I have ever done. I feel like the media lies to us about children, talking about the cost of them and how much they cramp people’s lifestyles. Utter bollocks, the lot of it. They do so no more than owning a pet does, and the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. They really do enhance your life exponentially.

    I’d urge people not to wait too long before starting a family (of course, you should be in a stable relationship first, that was my mistake). Besides, if your wife has her child in her 20s, the odds of her retaining her figure afterwards is a lot higher than in her 30s, and you won’t get a mongoloid.

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  46. big bruv (14,160 comments) says:

    Lucia

    “Another is that we did use contraception before we become Catholic”

    Oh, so you were once normal.

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  47. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    I would have to say that no one should feel that they have a right to be a parent. Bringing a life into the world is an awesome responsibility and should not be rushed into. Having said that, accidents can and do happen, despite the best of intentions. Now I am not saying that an unplanned pregnancy is a result of irresponsibility. That is simply not true in all cases. What is important is that the prospective parent understands the responsibility placed on them by becoming a parent, and it should scare you.

    It scared me the first time, you simply have no idea about how heavy the responsibility will weigh on you, and if you can handle it. Call it the Peter Principle of Parenting. Once you prove to yourself you can handle it, it gets easier. It’s way easier when they start sleeping through the night though!!

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  48. Colville (2,300 comments) says:

    I feel like the media lies to us about children, talking about the cost of them and how much they cramp people’s lifestyles. Utter bollocks, the lot of it. They do so no more than owning a pet does, and the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

    Very true…I have a German Short Haired Pointer….far more needy than my Son…and my son never jumped the fence and ate the neighbours chickens!

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  49. MT_Tinman (3,259 comments) says:

    Parenting is great (although tiring, frustrating, painful and damned expensive) until the teenage years when you have to learn, again painfully, that the kid has to make his/her own mistakes and you can only pick up the pieces and hope those mistakes are surviveable.

    After that, of course, it just becomes expensive…. very damned expensive!

    I thoroughly recommend it.

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  50. wreck1080 (3,970 comments) says:

    Until you’ve been been nursing a young child with vomiting and diarrhoea at 2am in the morning while you also have vomiting and diarrhoea I don’t think a person could understand having children.

    The 5am wake-up calls and the sleep deprivation that goes with having a baby.

    The child who will not stop crying – you can understand how people with less control or intelligence may strike out. Babies cries are designed to irritate.

    The children who squabble and bite and hit when you’ve always taught them otherwise.

    The block that hits you in the back of the head while driving along a highway at 100kph.

    The scratches along the side of the car caused by kids bikes.

    The child who falls out of a shopping trolley and needs to go to hospital by ambulance on xmas eve lunchtime.

    The big know it all’s who thiink that it is possible to monitor 3 young children 100% of the time. The same know-it-alls who think children should not ride their bikes on the footpath and should be seen and not heard.

    But, having and raising children is the most fulfilling experience. You feel sorry for people who have to put their kids in daycare but with house prices the way they are it is often a necessity.

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  51. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Being a parent is easy if you forget all the crap everyone but those you most admire, have taught you.

    If you’ve been a child, you have all the experience you need. Remember your childhood, remember the things you learned from, remember the things that made you happy, and remember the things that didn’t work on you.

    The best way to handle it, is to not make it a competition. So what if other people do things differently, if your way works, do it. If your child is happy in bare feet, don’t buy them Gucci, they won’t wear it. Bare feet build lots of immunity, unless of course its really cold.

    Go with your instinct and whatever you do, DON’T buy any books on parenting, they will only make you feel inferior, and allow you to override your child’s natural ability. When your child pisses you off, don’t send them to their room, go to your room instead, and tell them you are taking time out.

    Never hit. There is no need to. Children aren’t stupid (well unless their parent’s are, in which case they will learn to be too).

    One bad thing – warn and explain
    Two bad things – do that again and there will be consequences
    Three – (will most likely not happen) but if it does, because your children are in a battle with you for supremacy – then carry through with the chosen punishment.

    If your child is a hitter or a biter (every family has one of these, its compulsory) – remember not to focus on ‘your animal’. Instead make a fuss of the victim. The ‘animal’ will hate that.

    There is only one rule for parents and children alike. The Golden One. If everyone in the family knows it and practices, you’ll make the Walton’s look like the Adams Family.

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  52. James Stephenson (2,228 comments) says:

    You feel sorry for people who have to put their kids in daycare

    Meh. Don’t bother. My two boys went into daycare at 6 months and 1 year old and thrived on it. I reckon this child/mum needing to be together all the time stuff is bullshit and that spending a decent amount of time in groups with other kids is even more important.

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  53. Craig (22 comments) says:

    I come from a long line of people who have had kids and became a parent myself 8 weeks ago. It is a lot EASIER than we thought it would be. We heard all the horror stories, but I guess we got lucky with a good baby. Everyone is different (including babies), everyone has good days and grumpy days (including babies). You just have to learn to adapt.

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  54. wreck1080 (3,970 comments) says:

    @judith ::
    Some kids don’t need smacking, while some may do at times. This is the problem with the anti-smacking law — the people who introduced it do not understand the full range of behaviour of all normal children.

    Not all angry 2 year olds are capable of reasoning and thinking of future consequences as in your 3 step plan — all that child cares about is right now.

    One of my children was very strong for his age and pretty much smashed anything when he was angry (this has cost quite some money) and would certainly not listen to such a well planned and reasoned series of steps you put forward.

    As for not disciplining children when they hit and bite other children….. not sure I agree with that.

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  55. David Garrett (7,558 comments) says:

    NO angry two year olds are capable of reasoning and thinking of future consequences…because they are two and not twelve… (Read the works of Piaget on child develeopment)…Sue Bradford – she of the anti smacking law – is worse than an idiot because 1) she did have several children and 2) she admitted to me that she did not think her law would stop anyone from hitting their kid with a piece of wood if they were ignorant enough to be that kind of “parent”

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  56. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (2,641) Says:
    February 7th, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I didn’t say not to discipline the biting child, but certainly don’t make it your first priority. Give the attention to the victim, then address the child’s behaviour.

    I don’t agree with hitting a child. If your child is excessively angry, then explore the reasons for that. Children mirror their parents, teaching child not to hit others, by you hitting them will not work in the long run. I have seen so many mothers walk up to a child, grab them by the harm yelling ‘do not hit’, then proceeding to hit the ‘naughty’ child.

    My neighbour doesn’t hit, however she will apply a disciplinary smack on the hand. The child is told ‘you have done this, which you have been told before is wrong, so to punish you, I am going to smack you for it. Now hold out your hand’. That sort of punishment I can understand. It’s controlled, it is not a hit, but rather a disciplined smack (I still would never do it, but it is better than the alternative)

    I always find it funny when people of my generation say ‘I was hit as a child and it never did me any harm’ – as they reach for whatever sedative they are on, prozac or whatever to overcome their depression. Whilst others are never happy with themselves, can’t understand why they are not well adjusted people.

    The problem with hitting, is there is no defined rule. Some, in fact many parents don’t know when to start, and when to stop.

    A two year old is capable of knowing when they are wrong, and of consequences when they are wrong. If you are hitting a two year who isn’t old enough to know consequences, then was is it the point of hitting them at all – other than to make yourself feel better.

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  57. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    Judith, if you agree that smacking is ok but hitting is not then you’re with the rest of the country.

    It’s the ones that hate the idea of smacking that use the word “hitting” instead to try and conflate the two and define good parenting as illegal abuse.

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  58. scrubone (3,105 comments) says:

    David Garrett: exactly.

    In fact, the law that seperated what was abuse and what was discipline was the one that was repealed. Apparently the solution to a handful of dodgy looking borderline case decisions is to throw away the law that defines the difference thus convinently defining all parents as abusers and lawbreakers.

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  59. annie (539 comments) says:

    Boys and girls are different? It’s interesting to watch mothers’ behaviour to their boys vs their girls – very few treat even small children the same, but they still claim inherent gender differences in behaviour.

    Clearly, small boys and small girls diverge in socialization once they come in contact with socialized children from outside the family, but I am yet to see any research on the subject that is free from obvious confounding.

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  60. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    …. daycare probably won’t harm them

    There’s enough research on the relationship between increased cortisol levels in kids in daycare vs those being cared for by a biological parent to make me doubt that claim. Try here, or just Google.

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