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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Ep22 – When and how to discipline

Why am I always shouting at my child? He just seems to take no notice of either of us. We just seem to be getting angrier and angrier, and giving him more and more consequences, but nothing seems to work. Our house is turning into a battle zone. I shudder to think what the neighbours think. I wonder if there is something wrong with him, or maybe I am just a hopeless parent? Key points If we discipline too much,…

Ep21 – Why we Discipline Children

Of all the topics I discuss with parents about their children, discipline is by far the most contentious. Some parents have a lot of trouble accepting that their own opinion may be wrong. Others have a lot of trouble reconciling different attitudes of their spouse to those of their own. Yet the paediatric and psychology worlds have well developed principles in regard to discipline based on decades accumulating a vast array of research and thinking. So let’s have a think…

Ep20 – Praise

I think I am starting to get the idea of how to praise Andy the right way. Before I was just going over the top and doing it too much. He just didn’t seem to believe me. Now I am being more selective, and really thinking about what exactly I am praising, and making it more believable. My husband and I are trying to build his self esteem, which has been dropping at times,  and it seems to be working.…

Ep19 – Negativity

We can often see our own communication skills through rose coloured glasses. How aware are you of how you talk and communicate with your child? What percentage of your interaction is positive or negative? How are you perceived by your child? Do you want to improve the style with which you get your messages across? Doing an audit on your own communication style can help you understand where you are now, and also help you improve how you connect with…

Ep18 – Stretching Out and Showing Respect

I find myself barking at and ordering Jennifer all the time. I don’t know how or why it happens, but she doesn’t seem to take what I say seriously. Sometimes I wonder if she hears me at all. Where did I go wrong? I don’t talk like that to other people. Am I a bad mother? I wish we could just get along a bit better. Key points Let them talk. This will help them figure out things themselves. Sometimes…

Ep17 – 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…