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Faces of parenting

Faces of parenting

Following a nation-wide search that attracted entries from parents right across Wales, four families have been named as the new faces of the Parenting. Give it time campaign.
Ein hwynebau magu plant

The families, from across Wales - Rhydyfelin, Rhyl, Newport and Swansea - were selected by a panel of parenting experts from more than 200 entries to the online competition. The chosen families will be sharing their personal experiences of the joys and challenges of bringing up a young family, in the hope that other parents can benefit from their stories.

Meet the families

Van and Mark Goodbody live in Swansea, with 2 ½ -year old Lily. Although they are both working parents, they try to organise their schedules to spend as much time with Lily as possible, so they don’t miss out on her development. They describe parenting as “the most challenging and rewarding job in the world” that nobody can prepare you for.  

Lily speaks English and Vietnamese (her mother was born in Vietnam) and has a strong personality. As parents, they have learned how to cope with her more challenging behaviour by staying positive and showing love and affection, especially on days that have been tiring and stressful. They try to set a good example for her by working hard, looking after themselves, helping people and leading a happy and healthy life. 

“Be patient with your child and try to see the world through their eyes,” says Van. “Spend time with them, enjoy and treasure this time, as there is nothing more rewarding than seeing your child happy, playing and growing. Don't be afraid to admit that sometimes you might make mistakes with your parenting.  Just try to learn from those mistakes.”

Natasha and Dean Jones live in Rhyl with their three children, Sebastian (6), Imogen (4) and Eliza (9 months). A bilingual home with a Welsh-speaking mum and an English-speaking Dad, the Jones family live in a “parenting whirlwind”, trying to pull off the ultimate balancing act to ensure all the kids get enough attention, cuddles, playtime and chats. 

Sebastian has mobility problems, while Imogen has a rare type of lung disease, which makes it challenging to balance health needs and hospital appointments with having a fun family life. As parents they have always felt it important to give praise and attention for good behaviour, rather than thinking up punishments, as a way to build up confidence and prepare their children for the future.

“It's all just a phase” says full-time mum Natasha. “Whenever we're going through challenging times, whether it be disturbed sleep, feeding problems or hitting, I remind myself that it's just a phase and before long we'll be on to the next one.”

As a midwife and secondary school teacher respectively, Naomi and Sam Price-Bates from Newport thought they were well prepared for the arrival of little Myla, but 16 months on and parenting continues to provide its little surprises.

Although they admit that they are still getting to grips with their whole ‘life adjustment’, they now feel able to embrace the rewarding moments, while accepting there are lots of things they can't control. Pressure to bring up the ‘perfect’ child has been replaced with a ‘trial and error’ approach – as well as the realisation that it takes time to get to know your child and your own parenting beliefs. 

“Communicate, communicate, communicate,” says Naomi. “Talk to your partner, other parents, friends and colleagues - anyone! Talking things through always makes things better, whether it's a ranting session or a proud-mummy chat about new words your toddler can say. Sharing is the best way to support yourself and others.”

Stephen Smyth lives in the village of Rhydyfelin, near Pontypridd, with his daughter Ayda (6) and son George (3). He described the birth of his daughter as “emotional and life-changing”, and becoming parents as the missing jigsaw piece for him and his late wife Teresa. Together, they embraced the parenting challenge, agreeing they would give it their best shot and “enjoy the ride”.

As parents, they put time and patience above everything and gradually settled into a routine that worked for them Ayda. When Teresa fell pregnant again, they received the devastating news that she had cancer. They vowed to fight it together, with Ayda and George as the glue that helped them to hold it all together. Sadly, seven months after George was born, Teresa passed away, but Stephen had promised to raise their two kids in a way that would make their mummy proud and is now determined to do just that. 

“Nobody can tell you how to parent your kids,” says Stephen. “It's about finding your feet and what works for you and your little ones. Any parent would be very lucky if everything fell in to place, so be patient, give it time, and you'll get there.”

Get to know the families, through reading their own accounts of life as parents of young children, as well as photographs, videos and posts on this website and on our Facebook page.

In their latest blog, the families write about choosing childcare, coping with tantrums, ideas for outdoor activities and where to go for parenting advice. Check out the latest blog posts from our four Faces of Parenting families:

The Goodbody family: The challenge of childcare

The Jones family: Dealing with temper tantrums

The Price-Bates family: Getting back to nature with your children 

The Smyth family: Can Parenting be taught? 

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Parenting. Give it time.

This website has been developed by the Welsh Government with the help of a range of organisations and professionals. Every child and every parent is unique. This website gives parents ideas so they can make decisions about what can work for their child and family. It aims to help parents to build a positive, healthy relationship with their children.

About Parenting. Give it time.