What kids really need

JUST how can parents communicate with their children, what are the relevant topics and where do they go for the best advice?

JUST how can parents communicate with their children, what are the relevant topics and where do they go for the best advice?

Author, therapist and consultant Carleton Kendrick says JS Salt, a seasoned writer and father, needed some parenting advice. But after a few visits to local book stores he was less than thrilled with the bland advice of famous parenting gurus.

"That's when the big idea hit him. What if the parenting advice came from kids?" Kendrick says about Back To School with Family Education.

"Over many years Salt met more than 1000 children aged between six and 12 and asked them to finish this sentence: 'If I could tell my parents how to raise me, I'd tell them...'

A total of 147 of their handwritten responses, some with drawings, made up his book Always Kiss Me Good Night - Instructions on Raising the Perfect Parent.

The following lessons emerged:

lChildren want and need to know about your childhood;

lQuality time is a myth. Kids need you to spend different kinds of time with them;

lParents need to model the family's values;

lEncourage your child's spontaneity and your own;

lDon't "over plan" your kid's childhood;

lHelp children find their own voices;

lAppreciate your child's efforts rather than focusing on his accomplishments; and

lKids must have a say in the family.

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