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19th Jan 2024

Parenting expert claims just four words will completely change how you parent



If you type the words ‘parenting tips’ into Google, your search will yield upwards of 290 million hits.

Yup, that’s right.

We’re all so anxiety-ridden about not messing up this parenting thing that we devour anything written on how to parent to such an extent that there are now millions upon millions of books and blogs and podcasts and ‘experts’ and column inches dedicated to just that; telling parents how to parent.

Funny – if only babies came with a goddamn instruction manual, life would be so much easier, no?

The trick, I think, is to trust your gut instinct, lower your shoulders a little (like, chill – they will be fiiine) and learn how to tune out the vast majority of ‘noise’ and ‘expert advice’.

Simplicity is almost always better when it comes to advice on how to parent, and so I must admit that I did actually pause when I came across this 4-word sentence from Rebecca Eanes, the author of Positive Parenting.

What is it, I hear you ask?

Here is Eanes’ simple advice when it comes to dealing with behaviour:

“Accept Feelings. Limit Actions.”

The key, Eanes explains, when it comes to raising emotionally intelligent children – kids who will eventually grow up to self-regulate, remain calm and think clearly during conflict or under pressure – is to validate their feelings while teaching them the ideal ways to respond to those feelings.

“Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They simply are what they are,” she writes. “We feel what we feel. What we do with those feelings, though, is extremely important, and that is a large part of emotional intelligence. It’s not about just understanding and accepting feelings but also teaching children appropriate actions around those feelings.”

Makes sense, I suppose. We can’t really helping feeling what we are feeling – nor can our children. But it is how we act once feeling those feelings that matter.

We can make sure our children feel they are allowed to feel the full spectrum of feelings – and tell us about what they are feeling at any given moment or situation.

And then we can make a lesson out of talking to them about how they act once they are feeling certain feelings. And I suppose, as with most other things when it comes to parenting, leading by example will always get you further – so practise what you preach.