OPINION: Kids: An Instruction Manual, Nigel Latta’s latest, is screening on TVNZ. Each episode runs for less than half an hour, is easy to watch, simple to understand and I’m a big fan.
If you are willing to laugh at yourself and pick up some common-sense parenting tips along the way, then tune in. If you purport to know everything, I look forward to watching your programme too.
The overarching message is there are three fundamental rules for us parents.
I suppose if we follow these we can make up as many as we like for our kids…
* Families filmed 24/7 for Nigel Latta’s Kids: An Instruction Manual
* Nigel Latta: most parents just do their best, and that is OK
* Nigel Latta’s Mind Over Money returns to ask the tough questions
One: We should Always Be Calming.
I get this. Consistently calming however, is totally up for grabs.
Two: All Behaviour is Communication (what’s your kid really saying here?).
Does Jimmy’s refusal to eat veges really mean Jimmy ‘‘hates’’ the veges – or is it much deeper than the broccoli?
Three: Plan. Always have a plan.
Our plan needs to be age appropriate so I’m guessing we need to know some stuff about ages and stages.
Episode One covers differing parenting styles and turns out there are basically four types, bearing in mind our children need warmth and they need structure. So do we to be fair.
Authoritarian style: Do as I say because I say it. Heaps of us grew up under this regime and have tried overly hard not to parent the same way, with very mixed results.
Permissive: Kids basically get to do as they please, loads of feel good chucked in – didn’t you envy these kids growing up? No dishes for them. How are they faring in the real world with all its feelgood?
Balanced: Dazzle the wee blighters with warmth, tell them what needs done and why. Clearly the desired style for good outcomes over time. Humour an optional extra.
Lastly, the style politely termed “Hands-Off’ in the show; there are no rules and no real warmth either. The saddest and most worrying style of all, to me anyway.
I’d like to say I was Balanced all of the time but turns out I’m human, so inconsistency is my jam.
I lose my puff then lose my way. I could cover the entire four in an afternoon.
A whole lot of ducks need to be lined up so parents can get it right all the time, huh.
Sadly, I asked my kids during an evening meal what parenting style they thought I mostly was. Dork.
Two of my kids think I’m sort-of balanced.
What’s this ‘‘sort-of’’?
Two think I’m defo authoritarian. Offence taken.
Lip down, they spent the rest of the meal listening to me spouting off every example of balance I could recall at short notice. Fun times.
They all think Bob is Authoritarian.
So I win.
I’m sure in Episode Two it says that parenting is a life-long competition? No? Oh bless – a life-long conversation dammit.
Oh, and the two of you need to be on the same page. Dear Lord. Exhausting on all fronts.
Tune in – don’t be put off by the “scenarios’’, there’s parenting gold in that half hour for us all.
Even you, perfection personified.