Why we know best

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - MICHELLE COLLINS

PAR­ENTS to­day have more ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion than ever be­fore – there are li­brary shelves stacked with books on how to raise healthy, happy kids and ad­vice from par­ent­ing “ex­perts” is only a few key­strokes away on­line.

But as our ac­cess to help has gone global, for many mums and dads there are fewer peo­ple in the com­mu­nity we can go to “to tell us like it re­ally is”.

Wel­come to The Sun­day Mail’s Mum and Dad Know Best panel.

Each week, Dani West­port, Elisha Casagrande and Nic Bonas­tre will dis­cuss the is­sues fac­ing mod­ern mums and dads as they nav­i­gate par­ent­hood.

Ms Casagrande, is a cer­ti­fied health coach and per­sonal stylist and has two chil­dren, Scar­lett, 5, and Enzo, 2, with hus­band Si­mon.

She says she was a big con­sumer of par­ent­ing books.

“I have done the hard yards,” she says. “I have done the re­search; I have read nu­mer­ous books to do with par­ent­ing and my kids are very rou­tine-ori­ented, very struc­tured, and that is what works for us.

“There is so much in­for­ma­tion out there but it is about tak­ing it with a grain of salt and see­ing how it works for each kid.”

Mr Bonas­tre and his part­ner Danielle, have two girls, Eloise, 3 and Thea, 5 months. The site su­per­vi­sor for a join­ery com­pany, he set up a com­mu­nity group, Dad-Life Bris­bane to run six-monthly get-to­geth­ers for dads, and re­cently founded the Dads of Manly West group.

“The con­ver­sa­tion around par­ent­ing needs to be had and I think it is great that dads are get­ting more in­volved with their kids too,” he says.

PR con­sul­tant Ms West­port and her part­ner, Lyn­say, have a two-and-a-half-yearold daugh­ter Cleo.

“We come from a unique back­ground, be­ing same sex par­ents,” she says.

“But we have the same thoughts, views and ex­pe­ri­ences that other par­ents do. And I like giv­ing my opin­ion even when it is not asked for.”

This week the Mum and Dad Know Best panel dis­cusses the ap­pro­pri­ate age for leav­ing a child home alone. If you have an is­sue or topic you would like to see dis­cussed email michelle.collins@news.com.au

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