I believe that childhood is the most sacred time in our life span, a little window of time where the world is explored with unfathomable joy, wonder and curiosity. My every-cell mission is to grow practices in families, schools and communities that honour the slow-ticking clock of childhood, removing the too much, too soon that’s such a deeply engrained part of 21st Century life, and being accelerated exponentially through device access.
As a therapist, the privilege of being asked to share a family’s journey as they work to understand and improve the wellbeing of their young one is indescribable. It’s an honour I have experienced many thousands of times in my 3 decades of clinical work. I have learned as much as I’ve taught and for that I am deeply grateful.
Having the opportunity to take all of that learning and to turn it into resources that children, families and schools use around the world is… remarkable. I’ve co-authored 16 award-winning books with Helen Davidson, including the whole school Social & Emotional Wellbeing program called Highway Heroes. Most recently I’ve launched DiGii Social – a world first application that teaches children how to be safe, civil and savvy online. DiGii Social has been used in 6 countries and is helping children in every geography regardless of distance from metropolitan area to learn all the skills they need to be safe, kind and steady digital citizens.
I believe that children’s access to digital devices is by far the greatest threat to the sacredness of childhood. It’s here to stay so, together, Iet’s learn about the best parenting practices that improve our home lives and that keep our children safe and steady online.
It’s a curious thing that so much of what lights me up in life is closely tied to my philosophy of parenting.
As a gardener
I love my garden. I adore that everything I grow needs love and attention to flourish. That not everything grows at the same rate, in the same soil or for the same purpose. I delight in protecting my little plants from bugs and pests while they’re getting going so that they have the best possible start. Most of all I love that I can get planting or care wrong and I can change everything up to give them a better go at being healthy and productive.
And all of that is what I truly believe is the foundation of good parenting…
– Every child needs unconditional love and attention to flourish.
– Every child has their own beautifully unique way of growing and developing with some children romping ahead while others take the slow and steady path – and that’s ok.
– Not every child flourishes in the same ‘soil’ and what works for one child in a family or school may not work for another – and that’s ok too.
– Every child deserves an environment that honours childhood and protects them from harm.
– Every child is a learning experience waiting to happen. There’s no one-size-fits all in parenting and there’s always time to choose a different approach that better suits a child.
As a bee keeper
There is nothing as magnificent as a healthy hive in full swing. The hierarchy with the queen at the top means everyone works together, pulling their own weight and knowing how to run in their little bee-lane.
We know that children thrive in enviornments where there are clear and fair rules and expectations, where there’s at least one big person who’s well-regulated and running the ship and where there’s a healthy give and take that teaches relationship, resilience and regulation skills. A family does best when they’re a little colony that functions well together.
Above all else, I am the mum to four young men. They are my greatest teachers, joy and, let’s be real, sorrow at times. Nothing I have done or ever will do will come close to mothering. Nothing.
Digital life has had a massive impact on our family and many times it’s been like stumblig through the dark until the light comes on. To be honest, sometimes when the light came on I really wanted to turn it back off again and not to have to face to outcome of the parenting choices I made. The learning that’s happened over many years with my own gorgeous and very normal, curious and cheeky lads is a big part of what I share. Call it a parenting shortcut. You get to learn from my mistakes and then go forth and make your own.