Are you letting your children run feral? Michael Carr-Gregg thinks so!

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 20 October 2014

Wowww! I personally have a lot of respect for Michael Carr Gregg. I always think his solutions to parent's dilemmas are very practical, sensible and effective. That is why I was VERY surprised to read this report. It sounds like he has just had enough! I have added some ideas to help you say no at the end.

Following is a report written by Sarah Sedghi
A prominent Australian psychologist has warned Australia is currently raising a generation of spoilt brats, because their parents are "crap" and "never say no".
Dr Michael Carr-Gregg believes today's parents have a lot to answer for, and there may be serious long-term consequences for Australia.
Dr Carr-Gregg attributes the rise of poorly-behaved children to five major parenting problems.

"The first [problem] is that there are too many parents being doormats for their kids. They have got what I call a vitamin N deficiency, which is a failure to say no.
"It's incredibly important that parents set limits and boundaries and I don't know that that's happening at the moment."
Dr Carr-Gregg identified the "helicopter parent" as another "model of crap parenting" he was targeting in his work.
"The high-strung, control-freak parents that want to smother their kids with so much love and attention and monitoring and supervision that they never, ever develop any self-reliance and can't solve their own problems later on."


The Australian psychologist said he has seen ample evidence of the consequences to these types of parenting, not just in his own clinic but in schools around Australia.
The short-term consequences you can see in restaurants, waiting rooms and airports, these kids who are just completely feral, running out of control.
"We've had people moving to these artificial villages called cities, primarily to get jobs and in doing so, a lot of the kinship networks have been destroyed.
"A lot of the wisdom around parenting, which was derived from grandparents, for example, has no longer been so readily available."
The consequences of bad parenting has both short- and long-term effects, warned Dr Carr-Gregg.
"The short-term consequences you can see in restaurants and in waiting rooms and in airports throughout Australia, where you have these kids who are just completely feral, running out of control.
"Parents don't do anything about it because they're frightened of being seen as bad parents or frightened to say no."
Dr Carr-Gregg said this style of parenting has major effects on the mental health of children and adolescents as they grow up.
"Long-term, I think what we're doing is infantilising a lot of children into incompetence."


I think, from speaking to the parents that I work with that the real difficulty is to KEEP saying no. I would like to outline a couple of reasons why it is so important to  persevere:

1. Children feel safe and supported when strong and fair boundaries are in place.
I always say to parents, imagine  being 2 or 4 or 6 or even 12 knowing that you always get to make the decisions and that you are in charge. It would be a bit scary wouldn't i? When children feel safe, knowing that a strong and fair adult is in charge, they can learn more, do more and are far more likely to develop at an age appropriate rate.

2. Saying no to your children will not harm their self-esteem.
In fact, research suggests that children with more freedom  have lower self-esteem,  whereas the clearer the rules and limits set by parents the higher the child's self esteem. Remember self esteem = feeling good + doing well. NOT just feeling good. Expect your child to follow your rules and meet your expectations and surprisingly, they will actually feel better about themselves!

What to do: Start small. Ask yourself some questions. What do you think your child needs to learn right now? What boundaries do you need to put in place to help them learn this?  Make this the area where you can be firm.

3. If  you feel as if you are saying no to everything, try this:. Find a way to 'yes'
On many occasions, children ask us for something, and we want to say no. Try using if . then or when .. then statements instead. For example, your child may ask, "May I watch T.V?"  Instead of saying no, you can reply, "When you finish your homework.. then you may watch T.V."

I hope you fing these ideas helpful as you continue to take a stand and say no.

Posted in:being assertiveMichael Carr - GreggSaying no to childrenChildren not listening to instructionsparenting tips  

Take the long view

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 19 March 2014
Dr Stephen Cowan's 11th and last insight for you is:

Take the long view. (Because it’s easy to get caught in the immediacy of a problem, especially at 2am.)

Having watched thousands of children grow into adulthood, what sometimes seems like a big deal at four-months old or 14-years old may be no more than a small bump in the road. Children have taught me how to take the long view of life. When we step back and see the big picture of our lives, we discover wisdom and compassion.

I hope that you enjoyed these tips and insights and that they might have helped you in your parenting or in your role as an educator.

Warm Regards,


Posted in:parenting tips  

Trust yourself: You're the expert on your child

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 12 March 2014
Dr Stephan Cowan's 10th insight for you is:


One of the most important things I teach new parents is how to trust themselves. Nowhere is this more daunting than when a new baby comes into our life. We’re expected to know everything and yet we feel like we know nothing. But children have taught me that this knowing-nothing can be a real opportunity to open our powers of intuition.
Mindful parenting begins by listening with an open heart to your child’s life without fear or panic. Studies have shown that a mother’s intuition is more powerful than any lab test in picking up problems. Unfortunately today we are flooded with so much scary information that it interferes with our ability to listen to our own intuition. (Just think of the arrogance of a doctor who acts like he knows your child better than you do!)

Take a tip from your baby. Look into your baby’s eyes. Imagine what it feels like to be conscious of the world before you have language, before all those labels that scare us and divide things into good and bad, right and wrong. Babies have no enemies. This is seeing from the source. It is what Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind.” Watch closely how your baby breathes with his belly. This is Qigong breathing. Stop thinking for a moment and try breathing this way. You may just find the answers you need waiting for you there.

Posted in:being assertiveparenting tipsanxiety  

The secret of life is letting go

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 5 March 2014
And insight number 9 from Dr Stephen Cowan is:


Life is a process of constantly giving way. Things pushed past their prime transform into something else. Just as spring gives way to summer, so is each stage of development a process of letting go. Crawling gives way to walking. Babbling gives way to speaking. Childhood gives way to adolescence. By breathing in, you breathe out. By eating, you poop.

Each season, each stage, each little rhythm of our life is a matter of letting go. This allows us to get rid of what we don't need to make room in our lives for new information. Learning to let go is not always easy and each child has his own adaptive style and timing. Nature favours diversity. Remember to honour your child’s unique nature. This is what my book Fire Child Water Child is all about.

Perhaps the most important way children teach me how to let go is in the way they play. Playing means letting go of our inhibitions; it frees us up and allows us not to take ourselves too seriously.

Posted in:dealing with disappointmentsgetting along  

Healing takes time

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 26 February 2014

Dr Cowan's 8th insight is about giving children time to heal, but I think it is a tip the adults in the family could benefit from. 

8. Healing takes time

The most alternative medicine I practice these days is taking time. As a society, we're addicted to quick fixes because we have no time to be sick anymore. As a doctor, I was trained as a kind of glorified fireman, looking to put out emergencies quickly and efficiently.

In emergencies, strong medicine is often necessary to save lives but most health problems in childhood are not emergencies. In those instances it takes more than strong medicine to get better; it takes time. I realize that taking another day off from work because a child has been sent home from school with a runny nose can add real stress to our already stressful lives. But children have taught me that healing is a kind of developmental process that has its own stages too.

When we don’t allow time to recover, we rob our children of the necessary stages they need to learn from if they are to develop long-lasting health. When we take time to recover, illness becomes a journey of discovery, not just a destination; we begin to see our health and illness as two sides of the same coin.

Posted in:healing from sicknessstressed childrengrowth and developmentsymptoms