This month’s issue of Good Health magazine features insights with various parenting experts, including me! Others interviewed include Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Dr Tim Hawkes and Andrew Fuller ( Andrew and I are both also keynotes at the 2015 Critical Agendas Girls Education Conference which will be held in Melbourne).
The following are the tips I offered for this Expert Guide.
Cultivating gratitude is really important – research shows that grateful young people are more connected to community, more resilient, happier, and less stressed and anxious.
However, we’re not born grateful so it’s something we have to model for our kids. It really helps if your children see that you appreciate the little things in life.
The key is to find creative ways to make gratitude a daily practice. You can encourage gratitude in children by having them write thank you cards, donate to a charity, keep journals or post pictures on Instagram.
Let them know that one mistake is not the end of the world.
While it is true it’s hard to keep control of images you post online, the reality is we are dealing with new technology and mistakes will be made. The last thing you want is a young person to believe, because of what they posted online their life is over.
We really want to tell young people that there’s always a solution and that everything does pass. We need to give them the skills to move on.
You can say to your kids: even if you do post something inappropriate and an employer sees it in the future, the best thing to say is, ‘yes, I was silly to do that and this is what I have done to show I have learned from that’.
Mothers need to love and value themselves
Body image is still the biggest issue facing girls. We need to show girls that they’re valued beyond what they see in the mirror. But girls can’t do what they can’t see, so mothers need to love and be kind to themselves as women. We need more positive strong role models for girls, to show them what being a whole, multi-dimensional and connected woman looks like.