What Makes a Perfect Parent

4oz of Love, 3oz of Brains and a Heaped Tablespoon of Fun. English children unveil their recipe for the Perfect Parent. The world’s most sought-after recipe has finally been revealed by the nation’s children – how to make the Perfect Parent!

More than 1,000 children across England were interviewed on behalf of leading parenting support groups Dad Talk and Netmums, and asked what they think makes the ideal mum and dad;


77% agree the best mums give lots of cuddles

75% said the best dads play with them

·         Cheering along at school activities such as plays and sports events is also a vital part of being a good parent say half of England’s kids (51%)

·         While nearly half (44%) wanted parents to help them with homework

And despite nearly all parents, whether mums, dads, step-parents or other carers, believing they failed at times to be a good role model, the majority of children (70%) said they would be just like their mum or dad if they were parents.  64% even said their parents were clever enough to run the country!

However despite this confidence boost, English parents put themselves under real pressure to be ‘perfect’ themselves.

98% felt they fail to be a good role model at times, despite 62% striving to be the best they can.

Nearly half (49%) admit to feeling stressed or anxious at the thought of being a role model to their children

Six out of 10 parents (61%) feel they’re not patient enough with their children. One in five (21%) believe they’re not successful enough to be good parents and 46% agree they’d like more time with their children.

Netmums believe that by placing unnecessary levels of pressure on themselves parents are risk forgetting who their children admire the most.

“Being a parent is arguably the hardest jobs around but I urge parents to remember that no one’s perfect, and that’s ok,” explains Siobhan Freegard from Netmums.

“Children learn more from their parents than anyone else, so it is a big responsibility, but the most important thing is to try to relax and enjoy spending time with your child. A happy, loving parent is a much better role model than an anxious, self critical one.”

To help take the pressure off parents trying to be the role model role, the experts at Dad Talk and Netmums have listed some simple steps parents can try:

When you talk to your children really listen to what they have to say – give them twenty minutes of your time each day to focus purely on them. If you treat them like this, they’ll also learn to respect others’ opinions as they grow up.

Catch your child doing something right rather than doing something wrong.  It can be something as simple as, ‘That’s lovely to see you sitting at the table’.  Praising positive behaviour leads to more good behaviour.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re feeling stressed or anxious – there are lots of organisations out there who can help. Try ParentlinePlus on 0808 800 2222, www.netmums.com, or log onto the DadTalk forum, Pub Talk, on www.dadtalk.co.uk

Try not to lose control in front of your children – or they’ll learn that to get what they want they need to shout and scream. Count to 10 and focus on calming down or, if the child is older and you can, remove yourself from the situation. You could try and call a supportive friend or family member to help you calm down before dealing with the problem or meet other parents in the same situation as you at netmums.com or dadtalk.co.uk

Show your child how much you love them.  You know your child best, so think about what means most to him or her – whether it’s cuddles and kisses, holding their hand, or just watching them while they play.

Don’t try to be a perfect parent. Instead, aim to be a happy parent, which means building in a bit of balance and a bit of time for you! And happy parents = happy children!

This Sunday, Netmums and Dad Talk are also calling for a National Bonding Day. Matt Buttery from Dad Talk explains, “This research reminds us that it’s the simple things that children crave more than anything else. Taking time to relax and making our children feel loved and special is one of the most important things we can all do so this Sunday we want everyone to take time out to spend with their children – whether it’s a kick about in the park or just giving them lots of cuddles and kisses!”