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.

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,…

Ep2 – Babies and crying

‘I had no idea this was going to happen.’ Jenny stumbled up and down the hallway, carrying her first born, now 3 months old, in her arms who just.won’t.stop.crying. Nothing seems to work, and it seems to be going on forever. Her husband tries to help out as best he can, but hey, he can’t breast feed. He knows she is exhausted, and is worried about her. Maybe there is something wrong with my son? Maybe I am doing something…

Ep1 – Have you ever wondered what kind of parent you want to be?

Do you think how children turn out is determined more by nature or nurture? How do you think you are going to effectively connect with your child? Key points Nature and nurture work together. Provide authoritative parenting delivered in the right tone. Provide guidance that builds on their existing skills. Be warm and reassuring. Parents often find these type of questions ones they only reflect upon as they are about to become or have already become parents. Let’s reflect on…