Friday, August 24th, 2012

Concerns disempowered parents impacting negatively on children

WE NEED to stop telling parents what they are doing wrong and instead support them to raise their kids with confidence, a psychologist and parenting author says.

Parent Wellbeing director Jodie Benveniste said parents were lacking confidence and feeling disempowered when raising their children, due to too many ``rules’’ around how to parent. ``When you lose confidence in your parenting skills, this can impact negatively on children’s outcomes,’’ 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.”

Benveniste advocates empowering parents to create their own approach for better parent and child 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. 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.”

Adelaide mum Kate Burr of Recharge Comedy Shows for Mums, who has been through Benveniste’s Parent Manifesto online parenting program, agrees. ``There's so many people telling you what to do that I got too scared to do anything! Jodie's program has helped me to actually enjoy parenting, and our family is a lot happier.’’ Ms Burr said.

The Parent Manifesto takes parents through a step-by-step process to create their own parenting approach. Parents identify their values, decide how they’d like to tackle typical parenting problems, and gain practical tools to achieve this. More than 200 parents have been through the program. The next program begins September 10.
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For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Jodie Benveniste, Parent Wellbeing, mobile: 0412 088 804, email: [email protected]

Contact Profile

Jodie Benveniste

Jodie Benveniste, director of Parent Wellbeing, is a psychologist and parenting author. She has been featured on TV, in newspapers and radio nationally and all major parenting magazines. Jodie is Affiliate Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide, Editorial Advisor for Family Fun magazine, and mum to two young children. For more information on Parent Manifesto, visit
Jodie Benveniste, Parent Wellbeing
P: 0412 088 804


families, parenting, advice on raising kids, children



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