A great future

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My crystal ball is still broken so I can’t see what the future is going to be. But if I could see you with your kids when they are little, then research done by Dr Burton White would tell me how your kids are likely to turn out.

You’ll be delighted to know that the most important things are things every parent can do. The things they need really are quite simple – low stress, and hugs and closeness are biggies. So is lots of talking directed to the child. I know they might not seem to be understanding much, but children who are talked to a lot seem to do really well. Just overhearing conversations or being propped up in front of the TV doesn’t seem to do it – it’s the actual face-to-face talking that seems to make a lovely difference. Another simple idea makes huge difference was having free access to the living areas of their home, rather than restricting their movement. Those that could roam and explore progressed faster than those who were mainly penned or confined.

Dr White says the parents who did best were the ones actively organised their child’s world. They didn’t just tumble through the day – they actually thought and planned the things coming up, and thought about activities and the things that their children could play with. He also said that these parents allowed short focused interruptions, so that they could answer questions and give information. And the final thing is the style of the parent – firm in their discipline while at the same time showing great affection.

So anybody can be a great parent. The reward is, you’ll have great kids.

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John Cowan

Writer, speaker and broadcaster, John Cowan shares his insight and opinions about the latest in parenting and family news in New Zealand. Hear John speak on radio stations every week throughout the country and regularly on national TV.  Follow @JohnCowanNZ on Twitter

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