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Seriously, that’s pretty much it.

We’re not sure who needs to hear this – consider it a Public Service Announcement. The ‘secret’ to parenting is that there is no secret, no matter how many keyboard warriors and mummy bloggers and parenting guides tell you otherwise.

In a world where letter boards, perfect pantry organisation and “educational” toys are all definitive markers of parenting success, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like this. At least, we don’t have to let it.

We usually drown out sentences that start with ‘Back in my day…,’ but there is actually a lot to learn when we compare the seemingly rule-less childhoods our parents had – and even our own – to the lives our kids lead now.

Sure, things felt simpler back then – without iPhones and constant Internet access and never-ending demands to ‘cook better,’ ‘plan better,’ ‘be better.’ But if you told your grandma how many things you have to do to call yourself a ‘good parent’, what would she say?

We’re pretty sure that, somewhere between our childhood and parenthood, no one wrote a rule book that told us we had to burn with guilt when we let our kids watch TV for longer than the recommended daily limit, or feed them something from the frozen food aisle, or let them go to bed without a shower.

Instead of worrying about how to parent by today’s crazy, mixed up standards, why don’t we borrow the best parts of our own childhoods? Here are five things we could all learn from the way older generations parented.

Success couldn’t be quantified in a report card
Nor a sports medal, for that matter. Do you know how many successful people were denigrated in the ‘Teacher’s Comments’ section of their primary school report cards? There’s more to life than straight A’s and praise – don’t let your children think those kinds of achievements are more important than kindness and respect for others.

Traditions and rites of passage
Some of us may remember when our age was measured in milestones rather than years – you were either old enough to ride bikes with your friends until dinner time, or you had to be back before dark. Nowadays, when kids seem to have their very own iPad before they leave the womb, there is very little they have to actually wait for. Delayed gratification is a powerful thing, folks.

Raise them to know the value of a dollar
On that same note, if your kids really, really, really want something they definitely don’t need, let them work for it. Whether it’s weekend chores or saving up their birthday money, they should be aware of how much money they have, how much they need if they want to purchase what they want, and how much they’ll have after. Also, make them aware of the fact that you can’t just buy them anything they want at the drop of a hat – tell them how much you have in your wallet at that time, and how you need to spend that money on less fun, but more necessary things. This article reveals some interesting reasons why you should carefully consider how your kids think of money.

You don’t need to listen to anyone but your kids
No amount of viral Facebook posts and internet forums can tell you how to parent your kids. Sure, they may reveal the coolest IKEA hacks and a bomb spag bowl recipe, but the moment you start letting other people’s opinions interfere in your relationship with your kids, it’s game over.

But at the end of the day, you’re still the parent
When it came to punishment, compromise never used to be part of the equation. It was ‘go to your room,’ not ‘I’m going to count to 437 and you’d better give me your iPad otherwise you’ll have to go and play with your toys in your room instead of watching TV out here.’ We’re not saying your children should be afraid of you – although we certainly had a healthy appreciation of the lengths our parents would go to teach us a lesson – but certainly shouldn’t expect you’re going to back down any time they turn on the waterworks or throw a fit.

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haven  

haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.