So, according to the latest piece of parenting wisdom doing the rounds on Facebook, saying 'no' to your kids is an absolute no-no. As is raising your voice any higher than the tinkling tones of Iggle Piggle, or denying your darling offspring any of their human rights - such as posting toys down the toilet or crayoning the walls. And don't even mention the naughty step.
No, what you must do is communicate and observe. So the next time your little angel hurls spaghetti at the ceiling, just take a deep breath and say:
''This is hard for you so I'm going to help.'' Then gently remove your child from the object or the area.
Just who are these pious parents, perpetrating impossible standards of parenting? And why are they so intent on making the rest of us feel sub-standard? It's time to stand up to these bastions of patience, because there's only thing that gets on my mammaries more than Lego in the toilet and 'artwork' on the walls, and that's other parents berating me for berating my kids.
Call me a bad mum, but I can barely make it to 8am without shrieking NOOO!
Take this morning. The oldest two are slopping Weetabix down themselves. The toddler, as usual, decides eating is not really her thing and launches the whole bowl at the wall.
'Nooooo!' I shriek as beige slush splatters across me, the kitchen and a pile of clean washing I hadn't quite got round to taking upstairs.
Face awash with fury and whole wheat cereal, I turn to the culprit.
'No! Don't throw your food!' I yell.
Fail. What I should have said, according to these self-appointed role models is:
''I'm here to help. Ready? Let's try again.''
Seriously? Do these people live in the real world? Do they actually have children of their own?
What's more my daughter isn't interested in 'loving communication.' All she wants to do is get the hell out of that highchair and lay into Mr Potato Head. No amount of reasoning is going to get her to stick that breakfast where it's supposed to go.
As a mum of three fantastic, but at times patience-stretching children, there are moments when it is my prerogative to shout, or occasionally lose my cool. Weetabix showers being one of them.
Far better to get it out of my system and get the floor wipes out, rather than enter into some protracted dialogue with a small human who is still getting to grips with the English language.
Why can't these supposedly flawless parents, just admit that bringing up kids is at times stressful, messy and infuriating? Why can't they just show a bit of empathy, instead of urging us all to follow their methods of peaceful, positive, punishment-free, or whatever denomination of parenting they practice?
Of course I want to be a peaceful, positive parent, just like every other mum and dad I know.
I don't need some holier-than-thou prefect to tell me I shouldn't shout at my kids or use the N word. All that does is suggest I've got it all wrong and should enrol on the nearest parenting course.
What's more, there are times when only a firm and unequivocal 'No!' will do. Like when my four-year-old is about to step into the road without looking, like when my seven-year-old wants to watch another episode of Pokemon when we're already late for school, like when the youngest tries to catch a bee, or insert a random, filthy object she's found on the floor into her mouth. In these situations and more, those two letters are the safest, quickest and most effective way of getting the point across.
Yet according to the anti-no campaigners, telling children off or saying 'no' only fosters a sense of shame and guilt.
Fortunately, they have come up with a great alternative. That's right, the next time I catch my daughter scaling the work surface for the biscuit tin before dinner, or applying nail varnish to the furniture, I just need to take a deep breath and recite the following:
''You're excited. It's hard not to touch when you really want to. It takes practice to control our bodies. Let's take some deep breaths. ''
Pleeease. Has any actual parent ever uttered those actual words? Personally, I can't think of anything I'd be less likely to say, or anything that would sound more ridiculous to my children.
No one wants to yell and scream at their kids. But there are times when 'No!' or 'I told you not to do that!' is surely justified, especially when it's a case of protecting our children from harm or setting boundaries.
I'm not denying I don't occasionally lose my rag, just because I'm knackered and I've had enough, and hey, just because I'm human. Giving birth made me a parent not a saint. I didn't expel all capacity for anger and frustration along with the placenta. But if ever I do lose it unduly, I simply hug them and apologise.
Because even if I could make myself be a better, calmer parent, I couldn't possibly love my children any more than I do already.
More on Parentdish: Shouting at your children
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