Having been a father for exactly a week now, I am clearly qualified to impart all kinds of paternal wisdom. But the wisdom is not mine - it is the baby's. As Will and Kate will no doubt discover, their little princess' grasp of what's important in life, will be more akin to an old yogi or bearded professor than an infant waiting to 'grow up.'
When my eldest was first born, I used to spend countless hours reading 'educational' news articles with titles like 'Why Women Mess Kids Up', 'Why Food is Evil for Children' and 'Why Mothers are to Blame for the Demise of Modern Society'. These conflicted 'expert voices' all agreed on just one thing; that 'whatever you do for your kids, it is WRONG.'
One of the best ways to foster creativity in children is to read to them or, better yet, to make up stories with them, and fathers in particular have an important role to play in this: it's long been recognised that the more a dad reads to his children, the greater their verbal intelligence, academic success and emotional wellbeing.
They need to understand that the legal processes can turn initially reasonable demands into a whole new set of game playing on an expensive scale, and as for who wins and who loses, I recommend a coin is taken into the court room and tossed, as that is about as accurate a way of guessing outcomes as any.
Only two in five parents said they only buy games that have the right age rating, and half of parents said they would let their child play a game that was bought for them by a friend or relative, even if it had an unsuitable age rating. This is worrying: undoubtedly the Christmas period is prime time for pester power, and sometimes it is hard not to give in to making inappropriate purchases. It is important, though, to remember that the power is in your hands as a responsible adult to make the right choices for families and children.
Individuals 'learn' because it serves them in some way, and children of course are more instinctive than adults. Regardless of learning style, a young child will want to learn something as a way of exploring the world, and will use all senses: this is because the rational brain is not yet in many cases ready to retain information merely from sitting down and 'taking notes'.
Parenting can be tough because it's not only exhausting at times, it also holds a mirror right in front of you, forcing you to face you beliefs, hopes and fears; but it's also an amazing experience and there is no shame in admitting that sometimes we have questions as parents, and if we reach out, the answers are indeed there.
The teenage years, a little like the 'terrible twos', are a stepping stone in the individual's development: from baby to toddler, and from child to young adult. They each indicate the transition from one important stage to a very different one: but why is it often so challenging to deal with teenagers?