My parents both suffered with mental illness when I was growing up. As a young child I can hardly remember any issues and look back through rose-tinted glasses at a golden childhood. Yet, with hindsight, and as I grew older, the impact of those mental health difficulties becomes more and more apparent.
Allowing failure, embracing it even, and building up self-esteem are not mutually exclusive. It is perfectly possible to do both and I would argue if we don't allow our children to fail on occasion and learn from that, then the self-esteem we spend years nurturing is very precarious indeed and at great risk of disintegrating in the adult world.
The children's entertainment enterprise is a thriving industry with studies showing that 70% of children (between the ages of 0-8) spend their time watching nearly 2 hours of TV a day. The comic book industry is a multi billion-dollar enterprise with many popular annual events like Comic Con being dedicated to comic book fans and enthusiast alike.
When we first made a decision to home educate, only a handful of our friends were supportive. For the most part, we were met with either mild bafflement at us suddenly turning hippie-like, or rather rude comments labelling us irresponsible parents who will surely ruin our child's future, because school is the best thing ever since sliced bread, and isn't school compulsory anyway?
One of my fondest childhood memories is of clambering over rocks along the undercliff with my grandfather one gloriously sunny day during school holidays. My family emigrated when I was still a child, so I spent too little time with him and did not know him well. He had passed away by the time I returned to the UK as a young man.
It is hard to give a good example to our kids when our own eating behaviour and body image have been skewed by years of yo-yo-dieting, misleading health advice and media pressure. If we develop a better relationship with healthy eating and exercise, then not only will our own bodies benefit, but our children will have a great example that they can learn from.
Colouring books for adults is now the latest craze. Apparently, the Tate Modern now stocks colouring books for adults, as does Waterstones and Amazon. It may sound utterly ridiculous, but some actually think it's a fantastic idea and have been singing its praises. It's said to be a great stress-reliever.