Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crossing the Tees

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crossing the Tees

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sue Woolmore

I can recall the moment so clearly.

It was about three in the morning.

My tiny baby Kate was crying loudly and non-stop. I had terrible mastitis and felt utterly miserable.

The sense of complete exhaustion and sleep deprivation was overwhelming; it felt like torture.

Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and the sight just made me burst into tears.

I have another vivid memory of an experience a couple of years later that was almost as bad.

I was with my mum and dad when three-year-old Kate threw the mother of all tantrums (in a cafA, of all places)!

I took her outside to reason and argue over her screaming. Bystanders must have thought it was an attempted abduction, except we weren't going anywhere!

It would have been so easy to smack her, and I guess that most of the passers by thought I should do, but that would have been exactly the wrong thing to do.

The reality is that parenthood isn't the blissful, glossy-magazine bed of roses we would love it to be.

Children of all ages can be demanding and challenging and parenting must be the hardest, but potentially most rewarding, job on earth.

Although I was smacked myself as a child, the one thing I have never done is smack my children.

My working life in the caring profession, first as a nurse then as a social worker at the sharp end of child protection, has convinced me that hitting children is a bad thing.

And my own experience as a mum-of-two has proved to me that the alternatives work better.

So what is positive parenting - the alternative to smack? And how does it work?

My top tip is to notice and praise the good things your child does. Children are almost "programmed" to seek attention and if they get praise and attention for good behaviour they will keep up that kind of behaviour so that they keep getting attention. …

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