Author Archives: SarahOckwell-Smith

About SarahOckwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Parenting author and mother to four.

The power of self-forgiveness – and why it is important for your parenting.

I have made parenting choices that I am not proud of now and I would not make again if I knew then what I know now. I’ve also slipped up, many times, ‘in the moment’ and said and done things I regret. Everyone has, but I welcome my guilt for it teaches me to be a better parent. When we know better we do better. Continue reading

Posted in Mothering | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Starting Childcare When Your Baby has Separation Anxiety

I have often seen well-meaning nursery workers peeling a sobbing child or screaming baby off of an equally distressed parent with reassurances of, “It will be okay, don’t worry.” The parents walk away with tear-stained cheeks, desperately trying to not look back, whilst the childcare workers speak in jolly voices trying to cajole toddlers with the promise of a sticker or story, or bounce babies whilst playing peekaboo. Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Mothering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to be a Gentle – Not Permissive – Parent

I come across this misconception time and time again; that if you don’t make your child do something (in an authoritarian way), then they will never learn and will grow to be rude and feral. People seem to forget (or perhaps don’t realise in the first place) there is a sweet spot in the middle – something known as Authoritative Parenting. Continue reading

Posted in Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Separation Anxiety – What it is, Why it Happens – and How to Cope

You may notice that your baby starts to become more clingy as they get older, crying if you leave the room for only a few seconds or needing to be held by you all of the time. Separation anxiety is a normal stage of psychological development for babies that usually starts at some point between 8 and 18 months old.  Separation anxiety is actually a good sign of an emotionally healthy child, however it can leave many parents wondering if they have done something wrong and somehow created an unconfident baby. Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Toddlers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

5 Ways to Reduce Tricky Behaviour From New Big Siblings

Remind yourself that your child is not jealous, they are grieving, and they are hurting. They are not being deliberately malicious. Their behaviour shows they are struggling and they need your help. Continue reading

Posted in Mothering, Toddlers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Two Most Important Steps to Coping with any Behaviour – and why so Many get it Wrong!

Coping with behaviour ‘in the moment’ is important, however it’s only half of the discipline. Unless you look at the cause of the behaviour and work to remove or reduce it, the behaviour is going to keep recurring. Continue reading

Posted in Mothering, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Talking to Children about Death

Children often become interested in, and preoccupied with, death around the ages of three to five years and parents can really struggle with explaining it to them – the natural instinct is to down play it, so as not to scare them. I am firmly of the belief that we should expose children to death (ie they should attend funerals) and discuss it in a factual, honest way with them. In other cultures death (and birth) are a normal part of everyday life that children are not shielded from, I think we could do well to learn from these societies. Continue reading

Posted in Preschoolers, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

5 Ways to Encourage a Positive Sibling Relationship

Comparing children is possibly the most destructive mistake that parents of two or more children can make. If you have a sibling, how many times did you hear “why can’t you be good, like your sister?” or “your brother is so much easier than you!”? How did it make you feel when your parents compared you to your sibling? Resentful? Hurt? Angry? Not only can comparison drive a wedge between parent and child relationships, but it can also cause animosity between siblings. Labelling children can have similar unexpected negative consequences. Continue reading

Posted in Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , ,

Is Screen Time Ever OK for Children?

Recently a new study was released, looking into the impact of screen time on toddlers and preschoolers. Predictably; the mainstream media picked up on the research and were all reporting the perils of screen time and how it should be avoided as much as possible for young children. The trouble is, these dire warnings were not supported by the actual findings of the study. Continue reading

Posted in Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Second Time Mother Guilt – The Emotional Toil of Welcoming a Second Baby

One of the toughest things about becoming a mother for the first time, is learning to cope with feeling guilty. We feel guilty if we don’t ‘love every minute’ (nobody does by the way!), we feel guilty if we lose our temper, we feel guilty when we desperately need a break away from our children, we feel guilty about parenting choices we  make, or those that were made for us and we feel guilty about not doing enough self-care. We just can’t win. Physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation aside, the guilt must be one of the worst things about new motherhood. First-time mother guilt is hard, really hard. The second time around, you have the same guilt you had the first time around and so much more. The good news is though, that it is normal. You’re not alone. Continue reading

Posted in Birth, Mothering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,