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Leading parenting expert for Kilrush library talks

TWO free online talks with high profile parenting expert Dr Mary O’Kane are being hosted by Kilrush Library in the coming weeks.

Dr O’Kane will be offering advice on supporting teens starting secondary school and on raising resilient children via Zoom sessions organised by the library. The well-known psychologist is the author of Perfectly Imperfect Parenting, described as “a practical and accessible guide which will help parents get into the right frame of mind for effective parenting without making them feel guilty or inadequate in their desire to be the best parent they can be”.

“The book presents the idea of good enough parenting,” said Dr O’Kane. “The idea that children need to experience small disappointments to better equip themselves to face life’s challenges. As the child experiences these minor blips, they learn to tolerate some frustration. If we occasionally let them down, it helps them to learn to survive in an imperfect world.”

Dr O’Kane, a lecturer in Psychology and Early Childhood Education with The Open University is a regular contributor to shows including ‘Ireland AM’ and regularly shares her insights with audiences around the country.

“The important point to remember is that to be the best parent we can be means being human,” she said. “While we should be caring and empathetic, we do not have to be faultless. Our flaws are necessary for independent development to take place. The big take-away for parents is that it is in our children’s best interests that we are imperfect! But, in our quest for perfection, we sometimes deprive our children of learning opportunities. In our effort to protect them we, in fact, hinder them. We have become so focused on health and safety, and getting everything right, that we have created the perfect storm. We drive them everywhere, we overschedule their lives, we warn them about all the perceived dangers in the world. The need to get everything right can lead us to focus on controlling the lives of our children. Instead of controlling their development, we should be scaffolding them, just as scaffolding is used on a building to support it during construction. We should focus on connection.”

The book presents insights based on psychology and academic research in a parent-friendly way, and covers some of the common challenges from ‘parenting with patience’ to supporting anxious children, to navigating the online world.

“Good enough parents try to understand the needs of their children and understand their perspectives,” Dr O’Kane said. “Good enough parents know that the core of what we do is to create a strong and lasting connection that will carry us through the tough times.”

Booking for the Zoom talks can be made by emailing kilrush@clarelibrary.ie. The topic of the talk on Tuesday, August 10 is Supporting Teens Starting Secondary School. On Tuesday, August 26, the topic will be Raising Resilient Children. Kilrush Library can be contacted by phone on 065-9051504.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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