'Be in charge in a kind way.' Parental Guidance's Lara on her Five Golden Rules for parenting.

Mamamia’s Five Golden Rules series takes a pervy look into the lives of Australian families. From parents of toddlers to parents of teenagers, the series asks parents to share their golden parenting rules, including the rules for their kids, and rules to just get through each day.

Lara and her husband Andrew recently appeared on Channel Nine's Parental Guidance with their two children, seven-year-old Raphael and five-year-old Chaya. The couple follow an attachment parenting style.

This week, Lara shares her Five Golden Rules for parenting. 

I haven’t always been focused on secure attachment in my parenting, but after spending many hours studying at the Circle of Security parenting course in London, I was convinced I needed to try a new model of parenting.

Secure attachment parenting was not natural to me at first, but it has now become the new normal in my home. 

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Video via Channel Nine.

Here are my Five Golden Rules for parenting based on what I have learnt about raising securely attached children.

1. Let your children feel the freedom and confidence to go out and explore the world around them. 

When they are out exploring the world, they need to know we are there encouraging them, delighting in them, offering help only when needed, and sometimes even playing with them on their adventure. 

2. But your children also need to feel assured that they can come back for comfort and protection. 

Children need our help organising their big feelings and emotions. They need to know we welcome their feelings and hold space for them to express them in the same way an adult in a relationship needs to get their feelings out without the other person trying to fix them. 


I seek to protect, comfort, and help my kids feel understood by me. I am aware that my kids' behaviour is always affected by how safe and secure they are feeling. They behave so much better when I am tuned into their needs as they explore and experience the world around them.

Lara and her family. Image: Supplied. 

3. Be sure you are in charge in a kind way.

We aim daily to not raise our voices, yell and lose control when our children misbehave. We have learnt to tune into ourselves and listen to our own reasons for reacting and getting so affected by our children’s behaviour. 

We seek to be the bigger, wiser, stronger and kinder person in the room. Circle of Security described this as being aware of our own hidden shark music playing underneath what would otherwise be a beautiful scene of the beach. 


4. Connect and redirect. 

Deal with emotions first and behaviour second using whole brain parenting.

When my kids feel lost, confused or out of control, I don’t try to discipline (for me discipline means to teach). I wait until they are in a receptive and calm place. I connect with them and hold space for their meltdowns. I never walk away or punish them for having feelings. 

My kids are familiar with the upper and lower brain. I teach, correct and guide when they are ready to hear me, and seek to redirect their behaviour to what it should be. 

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5. Replace consequences and punishments with getting your kids to problem solve themselves. 

My goal is to raise whole brain children who know how to use critical thinking or problem solving. For example, I might say, "I see the Lego tower is knocked down, what happened here?" Then I move into, "Can you tell me how you can fix this?"

I am far from a perfect parent but I have worked hard to change from my default authoritarian model to a secure attachment model by applying lessons learnt from the Circle of Security course as well as the books that have transformed my whole approach to parenting: The Whole Brain Child and No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Tina Payne Bryson PhD, as well as Calm Parents, Happy Kids by Dr Laura Markham. 

Over to you, do you have five rules that you won’t bend on? To share your Five Golden Rules, email with 'Five Golden Rules' in the subject line.  

Feature Image: Supplied.

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