Musical chairs
Musical chairs
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Did you know that parenting can be like music? No matter what your taste in musical styles, you’ll probably find yourself jamming in all of these at some stage in your efforts to raise your kids:

Orchestral stability

This is how you hope it will be when you daydream about having kids. Neatly scored, strictly adhered-to symphonies. Sometimes you’ll have busy movements, and sometimes quieter parts where you can almost hear yourself breathing. It’s beautiful, rhythmic and almost predictable. We adore orchestral parenting. You may even feel like you’re the conductor, completely in control.

Jazzing it up

But then, just when it feels predictable, you need to get ready to jam. That means responding to life’s hiccups with imagination and in the right key. A sick child or car trouble can throw everything out, but, with a few Plan Bs or Cs, you’ll keep that music going, and, in the middle of the storms, you may even discover something delicate, amazing. Moments which can never be recreated.

Rock n’ roll

When it’s busy, it’s not just busy, it’s hectic. An adrenaline rush of loud guitars, crashing drums and yelled-out lyrics. Wild and carefree, but still feeling like the ultimate road-trip. You and your kids are going somewhere, and having fun along the way. Life, just briefly, feels like a party with no responsibilities.


Ever felt alone? You may feel that way occasionally. As if there’s an audience watching, but you’re the one having to do everything. You have to keep the music going, tap out the melodies, even write new themes. Those moments may be daunting, but, after you’ve played the final notes and rejoined the orchestra, you’ll have learned something deep about yourself: You can do it alone.


Gradually, you learn to read your child’s moods. That’s a bit like discovering how to move with a dance partner. Some toes may get squished initially, but it’s worth the effort when you can move as one. You start to anticipate changes in direction, and, discreetly, lead in a more positive direction.


The thing about pop is that it’s short-lived. The bands you listened to as a kid are long-gone. Pop parenting is being able to make the most out of being a mom or dad by learning from your child. Picking up a communication style which allows your child to express their personality. Appreciating the details which make them special and even learning to understand the actual music and technology which will become their passions. Keeping up with your child’s Top 10.
Maybe you have a particular style which I haven’t come across, or even a musical instrument which you think reflects your parenting style or theme at the moment. Crashing drums or peaceful harps? I find it’s often all styles in one day, which keeps life interesting!

What song or piece of music suits your parenting mood today? Tell us why, and you could win a R250 voucher. Send your story to

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