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Researcher Urges Parents to ‘Calm Down’ and Stop Aiming for Perfection

All parents’ wonder if they do a good job raising their kids.

There are no perfect parents, but boy, do we try to aim for high standards when it comes to bringing up our kids.

A Perth researcher says love, time and good boundaries are what children need. Age, income or type of relationship parents have is less than important.

The findings come after Dr Bronwyn Harman completed her doctorate on what makes a good parent.

Parents are quite anxious about ‘getting it right’ and many felt judged about the way they were bringing up their kids.

Social media has also played a part in adding to that anxiety as they are bombarded with parenting advice and find it easy to compare themselves to other parents who are doing it ‘better’.

“Parenting is a professional sport now,” Dr Harman said.

“There is what I call the good-mother, good-father syndrome. What it means is that you have that horrible woman in the textbook who does everything right, perfectly, all the time.

“Women try to live up to that expectation and they can’t.

“What I would really like parents to realise is that nobody is going to win here so please stop trying to make it a competition.”

Parents need to calm down, says Dr Harman. Every parent needs to accept they are not perfect and that they are doing the best they can.

“Every parent makes mistakes because they are human and your kids are going to be OK.

“Just chill and enjoy your kids.

“Before you know it they will be all grown up and living their own lives.

“Is it really that important that Johnny eats peas and won’t eat beans? Does it matter that Jenny only wants to wear pink? They’ll be fine.”

Dr Harman found, through her research for her doctorate, that kids essentially need three things: love, time and good boundaries.

Good boundaries and routines make children feel safe, even when they rebel against them.

“It’s important that they are aware of what happens if they behave in a certain way and that there are consequences to that behaviour,” she said.

“That’s what gives us good and resilient adults.”

A parent’s love and time is more important than what children own.

“Tablets and phones and holidays and swimming pools do make life more pleasant sometimes,” Dr Harman said.

“But if you ask kids if they wanted those things or their parents’ time, I think nine times out of 10 they would choose time.”

“Age, wealth and relationship status ‘don’t matter.”

If parents feel judged or criticized online, they should cut themselves away from the social media page and forums that make them feel inferior.

“Close down Facebook, get off that parenting forum.” Says Dr Harman

“Playgroups and parents’ groups are really good for community networking, but you need to find the parenting group that is good for you, the one that makes you feel validated as a parent not worse when you leave.”

Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard is a plumber by day and stylist by night but these days she changes more nappies than washers. She is a happily married mum to three young daughters who she styles on a regular basis. Rebecca is not only an award winning plumber, she also writes an award winning blog called The Plumbette where she shares her life experiences as a plumber and mother. Rebecca also blogs at Styled by Bec believing a girl can be both practical and stylish. Links to the blogs are and

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