The best piece of parenting advice?

When I read interviews with celebrity mums, I do so in anticipation of one question; the one that asks for the best piece of advice either learnt or received– sometimes phrased a little differently but always asked.

It’s interesting to read about what other parents prioritise when raising their children, and then compare it to one’s own parenting values – and perhaps even learn something new.

I recently read an interview with Heidi Klum, in May’s edition of “Mother & Baby”; and when asked what her best piece of parenting advice is, she replied:

“What works for one child doesn’t always work for another. Do your best to make your babies feel loved, safe and contented. That’s all that matters to me for my children’s futures – that they do what makes them happy.”

One thing I have learnt as a mum of two is that one has to adapt ones methods to suit the temperament of one’s children. My two girls (one and three) are like chalk and cheese and, most certainly, what works for one does not work for the other.

But I think that my top tip would be to agree on parenting style –even if this means hashing out a compromise.

My husband and I are lucky enough that our natural inclinations when it comes to our children are the same, and we make a great team – this may change as they get older and perhaps we’ll have to talk out our (potential) differences in ten years’ time when it comes to our teenage daughters but for the moment we live in (mostly) happy agreement.

But I know (and have known) couples who don’t agree on how to raise their babies and it makes life really difficult.

Dad wants to let baby cry it out, mum doesn’t; dad says it’s okay if the kids stay up until 10pm every night, mum says it’s not; mum says it’s okay if the babies eat sweets and chocolates, dad says it’s not. – These are big issues… because it’s not really about the matter at hand, it’s about the compromise that needs to happen.

Often one party will just give in… and then fester about it. Not good. Argue it out until you have come up with something that you can both live with – even if it takes third party intervention to work it out.

Parenting is about team work, and it’s about making the values of each parent work in a family dynamic. It’s like two personalities colliding but coming together for the good of the children and for the good of the family – just like when you got married and had to figure out how to accommodate your own ideas and identity within the scope of living with another person who has a separate identity and different ideas.

It’s hard work but it’s important. We need to do what it takes to present a united front when raising our children.

What’s the best piece of parenting advice that you would share with other mums and dads?