Parenting for Today

What is this thing called parenting?
Am I doing it right?

Welcome to the website of Dr James Best, one of Australia's leading paediatric family doctors. Here you will find his weekly blog posts on parenting issues relevant to the modern Australian parent, complete with videos of Dr James Best explaining each topic. There is also available on this site his comprehensive e-book, Kidsense, a nearly 300-page guide to all important aspects of child growth, development, safety and health.

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The fried egg of communication

Can you communicate effectively with your child and not let their or your emotions get in the way? It can be difficult to do this, especially when things are tense. What are you actually trying to say? What are they actually trying to say? Are you hearing each other? Key points Define the problem and the emotions around it State calmly what the problem is Teach your kids to look beyond emotions The fried egg of communication When we are…

Ep16 – Communication and Nagging

There is listening, and then there is really listening. If two people are talking to each other, or even communicating without actually talking (you know, using all that non-verbal stuff), the effectiveness of this communication depends on how much respect you give to the other person. How well do you listen to your child? How much attention and respect do you give to what they have to say? Key points Listen without a filter Mirror back with words and gestures…

Ep15 – Siblings and Gender

When we brought the new baby home, everything seemed to be going well at first. Davy seemed to be very fond of his new younger sister, even if he did try and pat her on the head a little too firmly! Over the next few months, however, things went pear-shaped. Davy’s behaviour deteriorated. The frequency of his tantrums dramatically escalated, he became so clingy, and if I dared pay attention to his younger sister, boy, he would just lose it.…

Ep14 – Connecting with kids

What we do together It may sound obvious, but we need to spend time with our child so we can model and connect. Over-scheduling and multitasking can be barriers to this connection. I like to call the minutes and hours we spend engaged in this mind to mind connection ‘connection time.’ How much connection time do you have with your child, and how much are you planning to have in the future? Key Points Effective parenting requires time. Spend time…

Ep13 – Emotions and Identity

How do we deal with our child’s negative emotions? It can be very confronting. There can be what can seem an ‘ocean of emotion’ in front of us, that our child and perhaps ourselves have little idea about how to approach the situation. Acknowledging the emotions, understanding that they are a part of every human being’s life experience and helping them to learn how to explore and learn from these negative emotions will help your child learn more about who…

Ep12 – Acceptance and unconditional love

I am so proud of my daughter, and I try to make sure she knows that. I know she has some aspects of her personality that are not perfect (and at times can be very frustrating!) but that’s ok, I suppose we all do. I am determined that she will always look to me as someone who totally believes in her. There are probably going to be times she is going to stuff up, but when she does, I want…

Ep11 – Nurturing and Attachment

Hey there little person, welcome to the world! Let me take your bags; oh, I see they are full of genes. I wonder how they will influence your temperament. I also wonder what type of person you will become under my nurturing. I suppose we will find out over the next few years. I hope I can give you the strength to deal with the world and the people you will meet.. Key points Nurturing is central to how we…

Ep10 – Parental baggage and expectations

My  husband and I have really clashed about how we deal with Tom when he misbehaves. I really didn’t see this coming, we hardly ever fought before we had a child. He was brought up very old school, and finds it hard when Tom doesn’t do what he is meant to. I am the opposite, but then he thinks I am being too soft and Tom will end up spoilt. Recently, we have had a few really good chats about…

Ep9 – Temperament

I just assumed that my child would be like myself or my wife, or somewhere in between. It took me a long time to realise and accept that she was in fact her own little person with her own little idiosyncracies. Some of these I found, at first, a little hard to handle, but I think I am getting better at accepting her for whom she is. She also can really surprise me with some of her positive attributes. I…

Ep8 – The Primary School Years

Sending a child off to ‘big school’ is often an emotional event for parents. Seeing them on their first day in kindi, wearing an actual school uniform and heading into a playground with children up to twice their age is a big leap for children and parents alike. It is also a step down in the supervision and support they are receiving. How will they cope? How do I know they are going to be safe? What if they get…