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Raising school-aged children

In his latest book, renowned psychologist and internationally acclaimed child and adolescent behavioural expert, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, reveals some worrying trends he has identified in modern-day parenting.

Michael-Carr-2Through his work, Dr Carr-Gregg has seen many children running wild and parents running for cover. He asserts that in the desire to give their children the very best, parents sometimes give them too much and fail to set adequate boundaries.

In his book Strictly Parenting, Michael asks parents to “take a good hard look at the way they are parenting – to toughen up and stop trying to be their kids’ best friends”.

He reveals that the idea for this book came about during a visit to the dentist. A mother and her six-year-old son were in the waiting room, and the young boy was running amuck – screeching and throwing toys. When the receptionist politely asked the child if he would mind putting the toys away, his response was, “Why should I? They aren’t mine!”

Chatting with the receptionist after his check-up, he learnt that scenes like this were repeated there far too often.

Strictly-parentingDuring Dr Carr-Gregg’s many years of experience, he has come across so many different styles of parenting. As he bluntly reveals in Strictly Parenting, “Protecting them from failure and never allowing them to ‘miss out’ means we remove the capacity for them to develop resilience by overcoming adversity. The result will be a generation of young people incapable of assuming adult responsibility.”

Dr Carr-Gregg also quotes some very alarming statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare relating to the rising rate in young women being admitted into hospital after self-harming; and the number of young men who have had suicidal thoughts. He attributes this to a generation unable to cope with stress. Strictly Parenting aims to equip parents with the know-how to help make their children more resilient and confident.

Various styles of parenting are identified – autocratic, neglectful, laissez-faire and authoritative – and a short quiz assists parents in identifying their parenting approach.

This is followed by a chapter called ‘The Unfortunate Rise of Crap Parenting’, examining some unhealthy styles that have come to the fore, particularly in recent years – the helicopter, the hot-houser, the best friend, the trophy and the bubble wrapper. In his words, “If you want to land your in kids in therapy, then by all means give them everything under the sun.”

Dr Carr-Gregg goes on to provide advice about what parents need to know at various stages of a child’s development, along with what parents need to know about their own issues.

shutterstock_215963680In the second half of the book, Dr Carr-Gregg details some insightful parenting tips in what he labels ‘My top parenting tips of all time’. These tips are centred largely around expectations, responsibilities, boundaries, listening and establishing routines. He also provides advice on ways of dealing with a range of tricky situations in his ‘A to Z of parenting stuff’. This section of Strictly Parenting covers everything from homework and bed time, to sex, drugs and tattoos.

Strictly Parenting is published by Penguin Australia and was released on 27 August 2014. RRP: $29.99.


About the author

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is a family psychologist, who runs a private practice in Melbourne. He is a consultant to a number of schools and national organisations including ReachOut and beyondblue; as well as being on the board of The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, The Allanah and Madeline Foundation and Smiling Mind. Dr Carr-Gregg is also a community ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Playgroup Victoria. To add, he is a regular on Melbourne radio station 3AW and is the resident parenting expert on Channel 7’s Sunrise and Morning Show. He is also the father of two sons and has written several best-selling books on parenting including Surviving Adolescents, The Princess Bitchface Syndrome, When to Really Worry and Beyond Cyberbullying.

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