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.

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…

Ep7 – The Play Age – Part 2

Playing with the kids is so much fun. Julie is getting old enough now that I can play with her and pretend to do all sorts of things, and her younger brother just sits there and watches everything we do. I try to find more time to sit down with her on the ground and play with her, but it doesn’t happen as often as I want. She seems quite happy at times to just to yack away to herself…

Ep6 – The Play Age – Part 1

The early childhood years have been described as the high season of imaginative play . This age, despite tantrums often being problematic, can be a lot of fun for both you as a parent and your child. We can keep our child in the learning zone is by participating in this imaginative play with them and handing over the lead of play to them and their peers. We can also help foster their language through encouraging storytelling, and getting them…

Ep5 – Tantrums

‘She just completely loses it. There is nothing that will stop her.’ ‘Do you think there might be something wrong with him? Surely it’s not normal to be doing this so often.’ ‘I just said her sister could get in the car first, and she just went ballistic. I mean, it was nothing!’ ‘I find that I am just giving in to her. It is just so embarrassing. Key points Tantrums are normal. Teach children other options to handle their…

Ep4 – The Second Year

Little Leo was waiting in the play area of the waiting room of the surgery with his Mum. They were both sitting on the play mat, waiting for Leo’s 18 month vaccinations and check-up. From briefly observing their interaction, I noted several aspects of Leo’s development that were reassuring. He was pointing at toys and looking back up at his mum to gauge her reaction. They were both pretending to have a tea party, using a plastic tea set. He…

Ep3 – The First Year

It was like I was emerging from a fog. A few months ago I really was struggling, but at last I am getting some decent sleep. My daughter seems to be doing something new every few days, it is really quite exciting. It is amazing how engaged she is, and how she seems to be so curious about everything. She is starting to get stressed every time I leave her now, and seems scared of everyone else except her father,…