Janey Fraser's latest book, Happy Families is about to be published and I'm lucky enough to be taking part on her blog tour. As well as trying to write and being an avid reader, I'm almost a mum to a 10 and 4 year old so Janey has offered some words of wisdom:
1. Follow your instinct. Don’t be swayed by how others do it. You know your children best.
2. When you feel you’re about to shout at the children, pretend they belong to someone else. You’re more likely to be civil to them if you pretend you’re not related by blood. The chances are that you’ll get a better reaction from them if you can keep things on an even keel.
3. Pick your moments. Don’t nag when you’re tired. Can it wait? Hold important conversations in places where they can’t escape eg the car. Works well for reciting tables too.
4. Don’t compare your children’s achievements with others – or your own with other parents. We’re all different. Thank goodness.
5. Put yourself in your child’s shoes every now and then. Get them to do the same by asking what they would do if their children didn’t eat or wouldn’t turn off the computer or swore at their parents....
6. Children arguing? Don’t immediately assume it’s someone’s fault. Divide them by giving them different jobs to do.
7. Throw them by laughing when they expect you to get cross about something.
8. Tell them about mistakes that you made as a child. There’s too much pressure on kids to be perfect.
9. Give your children space every now and then.
10. Try and work with your partner before laying down the law about what your children should or shouldn’t do. He or she might have had a completely different childhood from yours which might lead to a clash of opinion. Listen to each other. It can make you stronger as a team. (Or not....)
11. Kids driving you mad? Get cooking with them. They might make a mess and you probably don't have time but it's amazing how it can make you all laugh - and improve their self esteem. (Just as long as they don't give you food poisoning.)
12. Do you despair that they will ever get potty trained/sit at the table/do what you want? Remind yourself that most adults are continent/go to restaurants/end up by toeing the line. You'll get there in the end even if you have to wait until they're grown up.
13. Try and spend a short time once a week, with each one of your children. Call it your 'special time'. It doesn't matter if it's just ten minutes, curled up on the sofa in front of their favourite programme.
14. Keep a magic shoebox in the kitchen, full of interesting things to do for rainy days. Allow the children to have a 'lucky dip'. This could also be used as a reward.
The publishers of Happy Families are running a parenting survey. You can take part by clicking here