By Maria Cilona

How do you plan on raising your children? Do you have a vision for how it will all work out? Sometimes, especially for those of us with very small children, we can’t see the achievement from the avocado smears. We’re in the trenches and victory often comes in the form of “My child didn’t die today.”

Sixty percent of parents admit that they won’t do any formal planning in the lead up to 2020 which would identify their parenting approach or focus for the coming decade. Of the parents who do plan, over 60 percent will only chalk out a year into the future, according to new research from Cluey Learning.

But having a plan, however vague and protracted, can give us perspective on days when our kids refuse to eat pasta because it’s the wrong shape and it feels like this parenting business is all for naught.

Maria Cilona headshot

Maria Cilona from Cluey Learning

“I’d love to plan more but struggle to find the time”
Kathy Bandounas, Mum to Alana, 8, Teah, 4 and Evie, 3

“In an ideal world, I would be thinking strategically in all of my interactions with my kids. But in reality, my three little people are constantly vying for my attention while I’m rushing dinner, prepping for tomorrow’s activities and of course attempting the highly-challenging bedtime routine.

“There are a few things that I focus on. I allow my kids to make small mistakes and then discuss how it felt and what could have been done differently next time. I’m also constantly reminding them that we need to help and support each other without motive or expectation of something in return. I want them to understand how much easier is it to overcome something when we know we’re not alone.

“My biggest goal is to make them thinkers. One of the ways I do this is to involve them in as many extracurricular activities as possible. The other is to avoid giving answers. I always aim to answer questions with a question.”

The Bandounas family

Kathy and Nick Bandounas with daughters Alana (8), Teah (4) and Evie (3)

“I’m raising boys who have a modern sense of masculinity”
Julie Sarian, Mum to Xavier, 7 and Remy, 4

“I was raised by hardworking immigrants who came to Australia having experienced a childhood defined by cultural trauma, civil unrest and real daily poverty. Though I never experienced this first hand, our family story has made me a more grateful person.

“My only real plan for my two beautiful boys is that they grow into men who are compassionate and resourceful — strong individuals who are creative, fearless and emotionally connected to others, while also understanding their physical capabilities.

“Being prepared for a future that is only just revealing itself is so important, but I try not to overthink things or over plan. The pace of city life can be insane, so I focus on the boys being agile and flexible in their thinking. I believe that nurturing their growth mindset will prepare them for what’s to come. Day to day, this means encouraging them to solve problems themselves while living their lives with a sense of ease and joy.”

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“Our vision has been consistent for seventeen years”
Stephen de Jager, Dad to Jai, 14 and Noa, 17

“My wife grew up in a happy family that did parenting right, while I grew up in a contentious household that did parenting very wrong.

“Our goal has always been to be both attentive and affectionate parents. My daughter was once asked in front of a room full of people what she liked most about me. She answered that she appreciated that I “sometimes said things that were hard for her to hear and difficult for me to say”. Contrary to popular belief, attention and affection does NOT need to diminish the older they get (they still get help with homework and get bedtime kisses at 14 and 17).

“We have also always focused on consistency. If I’m ever asked to give just one bit of parental advice, consistency would be it. Consistency doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible or pivot as a parent but it does build trust and dependability between you and your children if you’re consistent with your expectations of them, your values and conversations.”

Cluey Learng Future

Cluey Learning has launched 2020 Vision, a campaign which explores the future of education.

“We want to show our kids as much of the world as possible”
Ross Lees, Dad to Maya, 4 and Isla, 1

“We don’t have a plan set in stone for how we want to raise the girls, but we want them to be grateful for what they’ve got and have the confidence to make their own choices.

“A few years ago, my wife said, “you can’t be what you can’t see” and it’s become an overarching principle in our parenting vision and something I think is really relevant, particularly with girls. Ultimately, we don’t want them to be limited by certain expectations so we do what we can to give them exposure to a broad set of people, cultures and environments so they understand the opportunities that are out there and can pursue things they might be passionate about.”

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