The Smartie cure
The Smartie cure
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Last week we had two intruders- one got into the car and one jumped the wall into the back garden- both at 3.30am. We managed to disturb them and they ran off, but we were all a little shaken up.

My eldest son was still quite emotional the next morning, even though we tried to downplay the shock and chat about it. I gave all three children a healthy dose of pink pills (okay, they were Smarties) to take to school to help distract them. Later on, I was thrilled to find out that my eldest had spoken to a peer counsellor at school, and then been referred to the school counsellor for a trauma debriefing. The trauma counsellor had then sent a discreet note to all the teachers explaining what he’d been through. What a great system!

Also last week I read of two young kids, one eleven years old, and the other thirteen. Both had, in separate and completely unrelated incidents, taken their own lives during the school holidays. Imagine the pressure each must have been feeling for whatever reason. I don’t know the background to these tragedies, but it made me look at my own children more closely: Are they REALLY doing okay, or am I missing any indication that they’re feeling overwhelmed?

I’m not all that great at reading the everyday signs that something is wrong. I know some clues: When they’re excessively tearful or emotional, it’s usually an indication that my kids are tired or getting sick. I’m no psychologist, and it’s not part of the regular parent’s job description to be one.

What does help is reading that other parents are also trying to figure out how to provide a safe, loving environment for their kids. I have come across some amazing tips in our comments sections, forums, reader’s letters and blogs. I don’t have all of the answers, but reading up on many of the challenges we face as parents (and our kids face as kids) has given me a little more armour when it comes to tackling issues or at least being aware that they’re out there.

Paranoia? Yes, we can get too obsessed with smoothing over every single wrinkle, sometimes even creating wrinkles where there are none, but sometimes that extra attention can be appropriate. It could help to save a life.

In case you’re starting to fret that parenting is just one insurmountable problem after the next, it’s not! We also have endless amounts of fun with all of you on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, and love to receive your happy snaps or encouraging stories.

It’s not really about us here at Parent24, it’s all of you who help to create this a place where parents like you can come to get tips, share jokes or simply vent…

Would you like to share your happiest photos or happiest parenting stories? Why not send them to and you could win a R250 voucher.

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