How can you find reliable parenting advice?

Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man. – Francis Xavier

It’s the very early years of life that will have the most influence on who a child will become. That can be a frightening revelation. When our children are “brand new” we’re just “brand new parents”. At the time we most need to be getting it right, we’re just feeling our way into this strange new experience of parenthood.

How do you know how to be a good parent? What parenting advice can you trust? Why does it always look so much simpler on television?

Thankfully help is at hand. Every fortnight as part of my morning radio program I speak to David and Charissa Scotford on a range of parenting issues. I’m always impressed by their down to earth, common sense solutions to parenting problems.

They’ve just launched their new website, 4 The Family. If you’re a new parent or even quite a few years into the process, you’ll find some really helpful hints and resources at the site.

Whether you are expecting your first child or have several children at different stages, 4 The Family is a website filled with Resources to help you.

You will find materials grouped according to the main stages of parenting. Some of them overlap and you’ll be able to see a complete list of everything that’s available in our Online Store.

We also have several Resources you can download for FREE.

While they’d be the first to admit that they’re not perfect parents, or that perfect parents even exist, the Scotfords are people who ‘practice what they preach’ and the results are obvious in their own family. I’ve spent extended periods of time with David, Charissa and their four children and I can assure you that the principles they talk about work.

If what you need to know isn’t on the site, they’re always happy to be contacted with questions.

Do your kids, your marriage and your family a favour and check out 4 The Family.

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Getting adventurous with your family

It’s a wonder that I don’t have constant back pain, or at least deep psychological issues, after being cramped in the back of an EH Holden station wagon for days on end.

Back when I was about 8 years of age, we packed up our family for the holiday of a lifetime. Dad, Mum and five kids with luggage all packed in station wagon for a memorable drive across Australia to catch up with relatives on the other side of the country. We were towing a trailer with what was called a ‘caravanette’. It was pretty much a glorified tent attached to the trailer frame. Dad shared the driving with my eldest brother who had recently turned 17 and got his drivers license. (The photo in this post was taken much earlier with the family leaning against what I remember as an EK Holden wagon. Yep, I’m the cute little one.)

The five children, of which I’m the youngest, slept in the tent thingy while Dad and Mum dropped the seats and slept in the car each night.

The trip across was cramped but not too bad. On the way home we’d bought all kinds of things that took up even more room (such as a kitchen bin with a swinging lid) so one of brothers and I were forced into a small area in the very back of the station wagon.

The conditions weren’t ideal but I loved that trip. It was a family adventure and all these years later I still think about that trip.

This morning during my radio programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM I was joined by David and Charissa Scotford for our Growing Families segment. We discussed family adventures and looked at those experiences that make great memories for our families. They see great importance in adventures of various kinds in enhancing family life.

As we are about to become parents of a teenager, we’ve been encouraged to keep the ‘lines of communication’ open and to make sure our teenagers have a chance to talk to us as they wrestle through this time of change.

Whether you pack up the car and head off around Australia or simply make time for an evening walk as a family, we need to be intentional about making time to spend together as a family and giving them opportunities to talk, before our children have all grown up and left the family home. – David and Charissa Scotford

I wonder what family adventures you remember from your childhood. Are there memories made many years ago that helped shape you? What kinds of adventures are you planning with your family?

If you’d like to hear our discussion about adventures and making memories, as well as some great input from listeners, click the pkay button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.


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Growing Families DVDs

If you’re looking for some good, Australian, parenting resources, you really can’t go past the stuff that David and Charissa Scotford are producing. Have a look at the promotional video in this post and you’ll get an idea of what they’re producing in their efforts to help families.

David and Charissa are guests on my 98.5 Sonshine FM radio programme every fortnight and they have some great practical tips to becoming better parents and growing great families. You can check out the range of DVDs they’ve produced at the Growing Families DVDs Website.

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Show some respect

graffiti.jpgI’m sure you’ve heard it and you might have even said it yourself.

“Teenagers have no respect these days.”

Is that really the case or have we forgotten our own teenage years? Are you a teenager? What are your thoughts when people make blanket statements like that?

Joan Grosser returned to the Morning Programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM today and we tackled the issue of teenagers and respect.

The Basis of Character – the quality of your character and that of your children is best exemplified by the presence or absence of three attributes: respect, honour, and honesty. These are action terms. Having an attitude of respect, honour, and honestly is not enough; there must be an ongoing demonstration of the three.

Respect, honour and honesty are critical fibres in the moral fabric of our being. To respect others is to honour them and to honour them is to live honestly before them. The parent’s job is to take the intangible concepts of respect, honour and honesty and make them tangible – to take their abstract meanings and make them concrete. – Gary Ezzo

If you’d like to hear this morning’s segment just click play on the audio player in this post.

I’d really enjoy hearing what you have to say. Is the perceived lack of respect just a problem for today’s teens or have we failed to model and teach respect? How do we show our children how to respect others? Is respect only something we display to those we feel have earned it or is it something deeper than that?

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