Parenting ABC

Educational consultant Stephen Coventry talks about the fundamentals of raising a family

LAST UPDATED: 30 Mar, 2016 @ 12:06
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Stephen Coventry
Stephen Coventry

IT’S fair to say that every parent wants to be the best they can possibly be.  

The trouble is, it’s not that easy.

There are no formal qualifications required or training provided for new mums or dads.

Few parents have the time to read lots of books on the subject of parenting and rely on friends and family for help and advice.

Some people simply  use the ‘role model’ provided by their own parents to bring up baby.

Sadly that is not always the best approach.

For example, my parents thought children should be ‘seen and not heard’.

They thought all learning happened in school and their job was to feed me and keep me safe.  How things have changed.   

Today children are growing up in a complex, fast-changing world.

The internet is still in its infancy and the rate of technological advancement is staggering.  

Most of the jobs children in nursery school today will do when they become adults have not been invented yet. Change is the new norm! However some things remain the same.   

Over the next few weeks I shall be talking about the BASICS* (coined by Alistair Smith)

That is, belonging, aspirations, safety, identity, challenge and success.

In my view the most precious thing you can give your child is your time. And it all begins with the basics!

Everyone needs to belong.   

Children need to feel valued and loved, both at home and at school.  

This requires parents to make time to be with their children and listen to them.  

But there is more to this than just showing you care.  

You should establish family routines, e.g eating meals together, reading with your child and bedtime routines. Find time to discuss events of the day.

Your child will know how you expect them to behave. This will help them to feel a sense of security and belonging.  

Children with a strong sense of belonging are more likely to make friends with those children who also have clear guidance from their families.

They will be more trusting in making friendships and less likely to be shy.  

Children at any age need to know they can talk to their parents and that their parents will listen to them. That’s absolutely vital for those of you with teenage children.

Tips for developing a sense of belonging

  •        Show your child what you want them to do, rather than criticising them.
  •        Show your child unconditional love
  •        Remind your child that they are loved for who they are, not what they do.
  •        Be positive and praise them when deserved.

Being a good parent is not easy.  However it is, arguably, the most important job in the world and the most rewarding. Good luck!

Contact Stephen Coventry on [email protected]



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  1. Keen observation of children’s responses to social situations can be learned. One needs to base parenting on what children actually do, as opposed to what you think they are doing. The same goes for listening: don’t assume you know what they are thinking or their motives, and finish their sentences. Actively listen (E.T. Gendlin teaches this in his books.)
    In the child development course I taught for many years to young adults with infants, I suggested watching Cesar Millan, the originator of the TV show ‘The Dog Whisperer.’ He show how much can be learned through careful observation and positive interaction – not intrusion.
    As one of my therapy clients quipped, “It occurred to me that my dog has never once spoken a word to me in 8 years, yet, we understand each other perfectly.’
    Millan is also instructive on remaining calm, compassionate, patient, positive and consistent. But to do that, it is imperative to learn who you are, and which buttons set you off onto the wrong path.

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