What takes nine months to deliver, requires tens of thousands of hours of work and costs several hundred thousand dollars to develop, for which there is no training, little preparation, no licence, sometimes with little support and often with little or no thanks?

A child.

I am sure none us will regret having children. However, we have our moments, and so do they. We do our best, but we are never perfect and neither are our children. No one has ever said having children is easy. Raising them is even harder.

Michael Grose is one of Australia's leading parenting and educational writers and speakers. Michael writes:

Children will belong with their families in one of two ways: either through a positive contribution, or through misbehaviour. Children need opportunities to belong in their families, through useful ways.  There are three conditions which need to occur in families, for children to feel a positive sense of belonging. 

Condition 1: Opportunity
Opportunities to belong are endless. They may include helping to make family rules, preparing dinner, or researching where the family can buy the best value mobile phone. 

Condition 2: Skills
Teach or help children to acquire the necessary skills to contribute successfully. If children are going to prepare a meal, help them to extend their skills through direct teaching or shared cooking experiences. 

Condition 3: Recognition
Children need to be recognised for their efforts to contribute successfully. Some type of recognition or sign of appreciation is good management practice. Children are more likely to behave in ways that gain positive recognition. Reward the behaviour you want, ignore or give little attention to the behaviours that you do not want.

These three conditions are simple but powerful in terms of bonding families. The same conditions also must apply to schools and other communities to which children belong, to enable them to feel a sense of connectedness and belonging.

Parenting can be a thankless and sometimes isolating experience. The Carey staff and I want to be part of your children’s journey, share the highlights and lowlights and provide you with the tools, support and guidance you might require.

Raising engaged, responsible, respectful and thriving young people is a three-way partnership between the home, the school and the child. When the school, home and child are singing the same tune, so much can be achieved. 

Philip Grutzner