Home » Blog » Parenting

Sorry you’ve been living your life wrong, according to Enid Blyton

Tuesday August 29th, 2017 in Enid Blyton, Parenting | No Comments »

Old fashion blue upholstered wing chair with red wings drawn onto legs.

Enid Blyton lived before the age of the blog, internet article or listicle. She wrote narrative fiction for children with paragraphs and no headings, except for chapters. Who has the attention span for that? Not me really, but I’ve come up with some article ideas to impart Blyton’s wisdom in a more accessible modern form.

1. The 5 best foods for a midnight feast 

They are all sausages.

2. Should you be elfing you children? 

There’s a new parenting trend of allowing mythical forest folk to care for children for up to twelve hours each day. Experts quoted in the article are divided but strident on the subject.

3. Why I won’t elf my children

In a follow up personal piece a mother details how her mothers group nearly shamed her into elfing her children. She’s glad she didn’t, because her friend’s fairy-carer turned out to be a real estate agent with no access to the magical realm.

4. Do you know the signs of a toxic friendship?

Is your friend different to you in any way? If so, don’t put up with it. Hit them with a hockey stick until they fit in.

5. These life hacks will change the way you fly your furniture forever

Who knew you were supposed to land the back two legs first! But it makes so much sense now! Share!

6. The 10 worst things about travel and why I won’t stop

Everyone wants to go on adventures and then complain when they get there. This article will validate that instinct.

Five things to avoid when visiting new parents

Sunday June 25th, 2017 in Parenting | No Comments »

Val and Leo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Poo on the carpet

Yes, their carpet will almost certainly be pooed on in the next two years, but that doesn’t mean you should be an early adopter. The last thing new parents want to do in their sleep-deprived state is to dab at your excrement with a sponge until they decide to pretend that it’s clean. If you must do a poo while visiting, use the toilet for once.

2. Set anything on fire

Most modern houses have working smoke detectors because of the law. Even a small bonfire in the lounge room can set these contraptions off and they make an infernal noise. If this wakes the baby the parents will be cross and won’t appreciate the effort you made bringing marshmallows to toast and kindling.

3. Bring the gift of a puppy

It’s political correctness gone mad, but people these days want to choose their own pets and when they get them. I know from personal experience that a puppy presented to the new parents of triplets is not always met with the grateful squeals you would expect. Remember, these people have read many, many articles about how parenting is the hardest job in the world, and they actually believe they’re too busy for a golden retriever.

4. Begin major structural renovations

I know this sounds weird, because they say you should help. However, unless you can stay to see the job through, it’s probably best not to rip up floor-boards or dismantle the portico on your own initiative. Someone will eventually make you a cup of tea, and then you’ll have to stop with the job half done and who knows when they’ll get around to finishing it.

5. Remove any parts of the baby

It can be tempting as well as useful for spells and cooking, but this is not the time for souveniring. Think of it like visiting a national park – what grows on the baby, stays on the baby.

Questions for Barbie

Friday December 2nd, 2016 in Parenting | No Comments »
SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

(Picture shows the first Barbie wearing a black and white striped swimsuit with white sunglasses on her head.)

This week a child showed me her Barbie doll. Quick as a flash I said, ‘That’s nice. What job does she do?’ Child looked confused but eventually agreed Barbie is an engineer. The child then wandered off presumably to play a game of Suspension Bridge.

I felt triumphant to have used this simple interaction as an opportunity to spread my radical feminist agenda. With that in mind I have prepared this list of questions to ask about Barbie.

So, Barbie?

What job does Barbie do?

What kind of super fund does Barbie have?

Does Barbie have any good tips on how to ask for a pay rise?

What sport does Barbie play?

Which AFL team does Barbie play for?

What’s Barbie’s favourite science?

What’s Barbie’s favourite physics sub-field? (If Barbie says string theory, gently suggest there are better options, but don’t be strident about this.)

What is Barbie reading at the moment?

What book does Barbie think should win the Stella Prize this year? (If Barbie thinks there shouldn’t be women only prizes for literature, this is a good time to get strident.)

 

(This next one’s genius. Hold on to all hats.)

Have you ever met anyone in real life who has legs as long as Barbie’s, a waist that small and boobs that go out that far? No? That’s okay Barbie. It’s good to be DIFFERENT.

 

The Baby-Sitters Club as Parents

Friday June 3rd, 2016 in Baby-Sitters Club, Parenting | No Comments »

The Baby Parents ClubThe other day I was thinking that Claudia Kishi probably has Type 2 diabetes by now due to all the Twinkies and Hershey bars that she secreted from her room and then consumed. This is nice because it will really help her relate to her best friend Stacey.

That got me thinking that the Baby-Sitters Club members are also probably parents by now (assuming that time applies to them in the usual way, although it doesn’t. I do understand that they’ll be in eighth grade forever).

But let’s say they did grow up and reproduce this is what I imagine:

#1 Kristy’s Big Idea
Kristy creates a colour chart to map the activities of her high achieving children. This improves the efficiency of her household (although it’s really more of a business) by 92%.

#2 Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls
Claudia’s toddler, who has almond shaped eyes, keeps making ghost phone calls to people in her address book. This is hilarious! until he calls her new boyfriend from the bathroom while Claudia is doing a poo. Can a pair of fluorescent leggings and some wild earrings win back Claudia’s dignity?

#3 The Truth about Stacey
She has not done a sneeze without weeing for a decade.

#4 Mary Anne Saves the Day
A strange man is taking photos of children in the playground. Mary Anne films him at it and then posts the video on Facebook. The man is hounded out of Stoneybrook by an angry mob and dies alone. It turns out he was taking a photo of a park bench where he met his late wife. Still. Mary Anne is allowed to wear hair however she wants but she still prefers a manageable bob.

#5 Dawn and the Impossible Three
Dawn can’t flipping stand her mother’s group because they use controlled crying and feed their children non-organic food. Dawn cuts them with a knife.

#6 Kristy’s Big Day
Kristy’s son is headlining at his piano recital. Kristy wears a dress instead of a turtle neck and hates herself.

#7 Claudia and Mean Janine
Claudia’s sister Janine is always comparing their children and criticising Claudia’s parenting. Then Janine’s son is diagnosed with childhood depression and Claudia feels smug about it and keeps sending Janine links to mindfulness articles.

#8 Boy-Crazy Stacey
Stacey has an affair with her teenaged son’s friend. Some people are really judgey about it and she has to go to jail.

#9 The Ghost at Dawn’s House
Dawn wakes up in the night and can feel a ghostly presence at the end of her bed. It turns out to be her son holding a dead rabbit. This is not the first time Dawn has suspected he’s evil.

#10 Logan Likes Mary Anne
Mary Anne calls her first born son Logan. Will her husband Derek find out the truth behind why she chose that name? Probably not because he’s always ‘working late’ and never speaks to her. Oh well. At least someone called Logan still likes her.

How Modern Parenting Authors Are Getting it All Wrong

Sunday May 1st, 2016 in Parenting | No Comments »

If you’ve been into a modern book store recently, you will have noticed shelves upon shelves of parenting advice books. If you’ve browsed through them you may have realised that they contain wildly contradictory advice, bizarrely specific routines and provide little or no hard evidence for the opinions they present as facts.

You have also probably read opinion pieces in newspapers and on-line publications where so-called parenting experts deride the parenting of anyone who is not following their strictures. Suffering from border-line or full-blown god complexes these parenting authors believe they are the only ones with the correct formula for raising children, regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

In the past, parenting books were written by experts and contained advice and information based on empirical evidence and scientific knowledge. (Of course, there were a few small missteps like advising the use of whisky to help with teething and telling fathers not to do women’s work to avoid effeminising boys.) On the whole, the parenting books your grandparents had access to were wonderful, and the ones parents read today are awful.

In my 40 years as a Coach for Parenting Authors and their Publishers I have noticed a huge increase (I can’t say by how much, but trust me, it’s huge) in the number of publishers coming to me, at their wits end, not knowing how to cope with their parenting authors who are running amok.

Last week a woman sat in my office and sobbed. She is currently working with seven parenting advice authors. ‘They all say completely different things,’ she wept. I feel sorry for these publishers, but really it is all their own fault.

These days publishers work in a tough industry and are constantly busy. They are perfectionists and see their authors as a reflection of themselves. This leads them to spending too much time looking at their phones, and if they’re not doing that they are hot-housing or helicoptering their parenting authors.

Publishers sometimes say to me that authors will simply self-publish if they don’t work with them. This excuse is used to absolve themselves of any responsibility. No-one these days wants to take charge and make it clear to parenting authors that they need to STOP MAKING UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS AND PRESENTING THEM AS FACT. It’s that simple.

Publishers these days also use too much tanbark in their offices, when we all know bitumen would be more appropriate below the monkey bars because nothing helps people learn better than an acquired brain injury.

The worst part about this situation is that no-one is benefiting. Modern publishers are at the end of their tether and modern parenting authors are teetering closer than they realise to collapse. Typically, after enjoying a period of supremacy most parenting authors are knocked off the perch by the next parenting guru. Having been mollycoddled with an ‘everybody gets a prize’ mentality from their publishers they are surprised to find that in the real world not everyone is interested in their hard and fast rules about co-sleeping or independent bush camps for toddlers.

As a society we have let our parenting authors lose the plot, and they are anxious, narcissistic and possibly gluten-intolerant as a result. Let’s hope I can fix it.

Penny Tangey is the author of Save Our Contented Little Baby Whisperer.