We need space to find our own way of raising children

Cheryl was lucky enough to sit next to 1980s pop star Sinitta, pictured here at a previous event   Picture: PA

CHERYL GIBBS: An embarrassing moment at a celebrity shindig with Sinitta

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So the debate rages on about how much time mothers should devote to their children.

Now, I wouldn’t normally take much notice of this argument as my children are way past their toddler years.

I’ve come to the happy conclusion that my parenting skills are okay. I read one childcare book when I had my first baby and cried for ages afterwards because I felt so guilty about all the things that I was doing wrong (according to the author) and vowed never to pick up another ‘how to parent’ book again.

Twelve years later, the three of them are pretty sound. I believe I made the right decision.

But a couple of weeks ago a friend was telling me of her desperation about putting her baby into childcare so that she could go back to work full-time. She was pressurised into guilt by the non-working mothers around her who were warning of the damage which would be done to her son.

To them it was obvious. Children need their mothers full-time. And then, that same week, a parenting conference took place at the University of Kent with an opening session about how ‘child-rearing has come to be something parents can now apparently only perform with expert guidance and professional support’.

I gather the ‘experts’ are now dismissing those who say that children need our total attention from the start. Well Hallelujah.

What is going on with the world? Do we really need to be told either how to raise our children, or to not pay attention to the people who tell us how to raise our children?

It’s mind-boggling that so much effort goes into the parenting arena. Let’s face it, it’s not that hard to be a parent.

You feed and clothe them, spend time with them, show them the ways of the world to the best of your ability – and love them very much indeed.

It’s not exactly rocket science is it? Yes, there are parents out there who need additional support.

But most people are savvy enough to just get on with it.

We need space to find our own way and to let our resilient, amazing children find theirs.