Universal Parenting

Years ago in Jakarta, when I was deep in parenting books and spending just a little bit too much time obsessing over my very precious newborn, I joined a baby group.

When I look back I actually cringe at how intense I was with my perfect little traveller. I think I may have been that woman. The one who cornered you at the coffee shop and told you all about feed times, schedules, and how she’d tried putting mango in with the apple and pear that she’d frozen the evening before.

I was obsessed.

In amongst that obsession was thankfully a voice of reason. A girlfriend of mine was on baby number two and she was far more relaxed about it all. Her schedule had nothing to do with food mushing and everything to do with catching up for a glass of wine. She encouraged me to join her book group and it was on the way there, that she told me the story of a girlfriend of hers and her ingenious parenting skills.

Before entering anyone’s house, her girlfriend liked to have a little “pep talk” on what the behavioural expectations would be for the day.

“If you misbehave and I have to tell you more than once to stop, I will take off my shoe and belt you with it”.

I know, it sounds a little severe, but it turns out it was effective.

Each time the children began to wind things up just that little bit too far, their mother would make eye contact. And while she was applying the mother death stare, she would slowly run her hand down her leg towards her ankle as a gentle reminder that her shoe was right there. Waiting.

Worked. Every. Time.

It turns out, in some countries they actually take the threat a little further. The results are impressive!


Oh, and just before you do. Have you checked out the 4 kids, 20 suitcases… Facebook page? It’s just over there on the right, come over and say Hi. 

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