There is no definitive guide to being a good parent.
Until now that is. I’m frequently told by Rory that I’m the best daddy in the world and therefore this must be true.
I scoff at other dads wearing ‘Best Dad Ever’ t-shirts; they’re kidding themselves I think as I put on another Peppa Pig to keep Eilidh quiet or blackmail Rory to fetch me a beer from the fridge with the threat of no pocket money.
In the spirit of sharing, here are some of my top parenting tips:
1.Write regularly about their lives and publish this on social media as well as traditional printed press. They will definitely not hate you when they are older for that.
2.Fill every waking moment with extra-curricular activities – swimming, tennis, football and dancing. Winning the ‘most clubs’ award definitely outstrips the logistical nightmares, petrol costs and sheer exhaustion this brings.
Read more from David: We’ll keep on dancing...
3.Embrace television and movies. High screen time will almost certainly lead to a career in the creative arts. Also, you get to spend more quality time together as a family with no talking. Not even whispering is allowed.
4.Listen to and implement all the advice offered to you about how to raise your children by other parents (experts). They have done it before you so therefore they know best, and they will tell you whether you want to hear it or not. Become a better version of their own perfection.
5.Reward yourself. After a hard week of being an awesome parent allow yourself a small libation. “Daddy is it beer o’clock yet?” asked at one minute past five on a Friday is your child’s way of saying, “Well done dad, another week of top notch parenting delivered,” and in no way suggests you are drinking too much.
Back in the real world, where we are all just normal parents, it is easy to be hard on yourself. We had Eilidh’s first Team Around the Child meeting since starting school and it made for some uncomfortable discussions. The tough reality is that there are a number of challenges for Eilidh in the school environment.
You instantly question your parenting approach, asking whether you did enough to support her and get her fully prepared.
Did we do enough to help her communication, her independence, her writing skill ... the worries go on.
Fortunately, for my own mental health, I’m able to step back and see that Lynn and I have not been bad parents.
Read more from David: Our summer babysitter, Moana
Aside from the early years when we were, to be honest a bit lost, we’ve been too busy having a great time as a family to worry about being perfect parents.
So far we’ve raised two happy, confident and ambitious kids.
We’re also learning with Eilidh that we need to seek, and listen to expert help.
I’m hugely grateful for the support our team at school and across the health services brings. I know we couldn’t do this ourselves. We need to keep on learning how to support Eilidh as best we can.
It’s not always easy but she’s totally worth it, and I’m going to get a ‘Trying To Be A Pretty Good Dad’ t-shirt.