Best of the Web: Michelle Obama on mum guilt and her golden parenting rules, and more

The former First Lady on raising a family in the White House, what to tell your kids about Santa, and life lessons for young people from surfing.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

‘Is everyone doing this perfectly but me?’ Michelle Obama on the guilt and anxiety of being a mother - and her golden parenting rules

(Michelle Obama, via The Guardian)

Parents know the anxiety that comes with the job. Essentially, it’s all about whether you are doing it right, giving your child every chance to blossom into a thriving adult.

Imagine the pressure, then, when your family is among the best known on the planet. Michelle Obama has provided a fascinating insight into what it was like parenting their daughters Malia and Sasha during their eight years at the White House.

In her new book The Light We Carry, the former First Lady writes of the anxiety she felt about the impact on the girls, who were seven and 10 when their father was elected US President in 2008.

‘An episode of even mild disobedience or misbehaviour from our adolescent daughters would set off a ripple of unsettling worry in me,’ she writes. ‘It preyed upon my greatest fear, which was that life in the White House was messing our kids up.’

Help was at hand in the form of her mother Marian Robinson, who moved into the White House and was an invaluable support.

In this extract from the book, she shares her mother’s golden rules of parenting. Rule Number One is ‘teach your kids to wake up themselves.’

Banner image courtesy of the Barack Obama Presidential Library. Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon.

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Three experts on whether we should lie to kids about Santa

(Kellie Scott, ABC Everyday)

The author, a mother of a toddler, is wrestling with seasonal thorny questions. Do you lie to him about Santa’s existence? Should presents from Santa be used as a bribe for being good? And what if his peers don’t get as many presents?

So in search of the answers, expert advice was sought from a university lecturer in philosophy and critical thinking, a university lecturer in psychology, and a well-known parenting expert.

Not surprisingly, there are a range of views. You can encourage kids to reach their own conclusions. The magic of Santa is worth the lie – let kids be kids. And it’s best to be truthful with them.

The author decides that Santa will be part of the festivities – at least until her son works it out.

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Why I'm glad my sons took up surfing - Maggie Dent

(Maggie Dent,

With the arrival of summer and (hopefully) plenty of beach weather ahead, you may have a child who is interested in surfing.

As this article by one of Australia’s leading parenting experts explains, there’s much more to it than some fun activity in the waves.

‘Surfing has given my sons lessons in life that I’m really grateful for and which I’m not sure we loving parents alone could have delivered.’ she writes.

She lists 10 lessons her four boys learned from surfing. They include a powerful and strong connection to nature.

‘No matter how confusing and stressful the adolescent journey was for my boys, the ocean could hold them with a sense of familiarity and reassure them that all was well in the world.’

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