How do I handle other mothers who make me feel like a bad mum whether it be in relation to my food choices for my kids, their school, my fashion choices/appearance etc?

Firstly, and most importantly, no other person can ever make you feel a certain way.  This is an important foundation to live yourself and thus teach your children. You are the only person who chooses how you feel and what you subscribe to.

Yes, it is true, that people make comments that do not feel so great as they lack understanding, support, love and are fueled with judgment. However, if I told you the grass was pink, when in fact it is green, would you believe me? No. So why do you subscribe to the belief that someone says you are bad mum, when in fact you are the opposite?

Mothering is not who you are, it is what you do. Mothering requires A LOT of skills, albeit mothering/parenting does not come with a manual that is free of judgment. Everyone has their own opinion of what makes a good parent and what doesn’t.

Hindsight is a great thing with parenting. Often we look back and say “If I had my time again I would do that differently”. But what a beautiful thing is hindsight. An opportunity to reflect and see what we have learnt while appreciating what we have offered.

There is no one perfect parent thus my advice to you is stop listening to other parents and learn to trust yourself. You do innately know how to parent when you parent from your heart and not your head.

How do I carry on a friendship with someone whose parenting ideals are so different to mine and my husbands?

Accept the other parents, children, family for who they are and don’t judge them for what they do. You too like to be accepted for who you are.

Bring understanding. There is no right or wrong way of parenting. Everyone is on their own learning path.

Offer support if and when they so choose to ask, and

Reflect a way of parenting that offers a way for them to observe, learn and apply in their own life when they so choose to.

My best friend’s child is mean to mine and it’s affecting our friendship. We’ve been friends since high school and I don’t want our kids to be the reason our friendship fails after all these years.

My best advice is to never judge children for what they do; rather see them as forever students of life. Firstly, each person in this world has their existing strengths (parts of life they have already developed skills to respond to) and their current areas of weakness (parts of life they are YET to develop the skills to respond to). A child is never mean; albeit they may use mean behaviours. But the question is WHY? Why could someone who at their core is an awesome, amazing loveable being have the capacity to use mean behaviours? Simple. It’s because there are parts of life this person does not YET perceive they have the skills to respond to. The so-called mean behaviours are their way of reacting to what life is presenting. ‘Mean behaviour’ is simply a person saying “Adults, please listen. I would like support to learn how to respond to this part of life”. With this in mind, when your children are together you could approach this as the ‘classroom of life’, while you and your friend embrace your role as the ‘teacher of life’; thus supporting each others children to develop on-goingly.


Tanya Curtis

Tanya Curtis  

Tanya founded Fabic (Functional Assessment & Behavioural Interventions Clinic) in 2006 with a vision to support people to understand and change unwanted behaviours. Tanya is an author, writes and presents behaviour specialist DVDs, and has developed online behaviour support programs // www.fabic.com.au