Mum Becky Evans and her 12 week old son, Alexander.
Mum Becky Evans and her 12 week old son, Alexander. Christopher Chan

Parenting can be guilt trap

GUILT-RIDDEN, confused, judged and scrutinised - this is the reality for many parents.

Information overload is to blame for leaving mums and dads in a pit of despair, an expert has warned.

Psychologist and author Jodie Benveniste says parents were lacking confidence due to too many rules and conflicting information.

She is urging society to stop telling parents what they are doing wrong and instead encourage and support them.

"When you lose confidence in your parenting skills, this can impact negatively on children's outcomes," Ms Benveniste said.

A survey of 350 parents from the Parent Wellbeing website found they were experiencing guilt, information overload and scrutiny from others, contributing to a lack of confidence.

"Parenting influences how children develop, which is why so much pressure is put on parents," she said.

"But we've been so focused on telling parents what they can and can't do that we're causing confusion.

"When parents aren't confident, it's difficult for them to be loving but firm, which is what kids need."

Ms Benveniste advocates empowering parents to create their own approach for better outcomes.

"We shouldn't be scared to allow parents to come up with their own parenting approach, as long as it fits within some broad guidelines," Ms Benveniste said.

"Parents who come up with their own plan are much more likely to achieve family harmony than if they try to live by someone else's creed."



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