A Manawatū clinical psychologist and mother is offering free classes to pregnant mums to help them manoeuvre through the minefield of how-to parenting advice.
Clinical psychologist Leith Pugmire said new parents were often “bombarded” with advice for child-raising, but finding what was reliable and proven could be challenging.
In an effort to change that, Pugmire, who is herself pregnant with her fourth child, is developing workshops, as part of a Massey University doctorate course, to give parents a solid head start.
“It came from my experience with my first child, she said. “I’d spent years at uni studying psychology and I wanted good parenting information. I wanted to know what mattered and what didn’t and to have evidence-based material, and it was incredibly difficult to find.
* Why do we listen to celebrity parenting advice
* How parenting information has changed over the last 30 years
* Terrible parenting advice from the 1920s
* The worst baby advice ever
“Parents are bombarded with conflicting advice they have to make sense of, but you can’t possibly because it contradicts. It took months of searching in places like the scientific databases most people wouldn’t have access to. I’d find a little gem here and a little gem there.”
Using research from a range of disciplines and cultures, she has created one-day Parenting From the Start workshops.
She is offering these free to pregnant mothers and their whanau until January. Two follow-up appointments with the mothers will then gather information about how the guidance is working.
She will talk about early brain development, attachment, why parenting is important and “the big questions parents have… like what do babies need”.
“We don’t tell parents what they ‘should’ do – just present the evidence and pros and cons for them to consider.”
Some early choices could narrow alternatives later, so her information gave a long view, including about how to change direction if needed, she said.
So far feedback was positive. The workshops were supported by a number of Manawatū organisations that were awaiting the data from the study.
“We know that we’d get better outcomes if we supported parents right from the start, rather than waiting for problems to occur,” she said.
The Palmerston North-based workshops include talks, discussions, demonstrations and activities.
To find out more, contact email@example.com, or visit the Facebook page.