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Over the course of last year the Bringing Up Great Kids Facebook group has been filled with thoughtful discussion and debate on a huge range of topics from whether you should bribe your kids to do chores to the reasons why Dutch teenagers are the happiest in the world. In case you missed them here’s a run-down of the top 7 articles which provoked the most discussion…

1. The Guardian – Star of the week…do some primary school rewards do more harm than good?

This article provoked really emotional reactions for parents, some sharing stories of their kids feeling overlooked and demoralised when they didn't win a primary school award.

“Star of the week makes me want to weep.”

There were also some great examples of schools using “Star of the Week” in an empowering way through peer nominations.

“I see it used at the two schools I’m involved in (one as a governor and one as a parent). I think having children be able to nominate peers and set some of the terms is really empowering, and it promotes really interesting discussions about what people have done to exemplify good citizenship, etc.”

2. New Statesman – writers reflect on their roles in the school nativity

This piece conjured up plenty of festive nostalgia. Who knew we had such a talented bunch of parents in the group – from angels to donkeys, innkeeper's wives to swans…?!

3. Should I introduce the idea of Santa to my daughter?

Continuing on the festive theme, although not an article, this parent’s dilemma over whether to start introducing the idea of Santa to her daughter stoked up quite a discussion.

There was thoughtful debate about the balance between creating “magic” for children vs. the uncomfortable feeling of lying to your kids, and concerns about the impact on them when they do find out the truth. Won't it destroy trust?

4. Daily Mail – My columnist mother just couldn't keep mum about my teenage years!

This article was a opinion piece from a daughter of a journalist. She discussed her feelings about columns her mother had written about her and the impact it has had on her.  

This made us ponder: How much of our children’s lives should we share online? With the rise of social media, it's something a new generation of parents are having to navigate without historical precedent. The discussion highlighted how conflicted many parents in the group feel and how tricky it is to find the right balance when we don't yet fully understand the consequences.

5. Aletia.org – How to diffuse a tantrum with one question

What parent wouldn’t want to know the answer to this? This was one of the most practical discussions we had. Many parents went and tried the method, reporting back to the group with varying results.

“Have tried it this morning, everything was a large problem and no solution worked!!!”

6. Stratford festival reviews – Should you introduce your 5-year-old to Shakespeare?

New research suggested parents should introduce young children to Shakespeare as they are at an optimal place in their neurodevelopment to engage with and learn the language of the Bard.

The group shared some brilliant recommendations of child-friendly Shakespeare events and videos. There was also an interesting discussion about the risks of introducing a hobby or interest to children when they aren’t ready. Parents shared experiences of pushing things too early and then struggling to get their kids to re-engage with that same activity in the future.

7. UKTN – What it's like to raise £3.5m and have a baby at the same time

This article is a brutally honest account of having a baby at the same time as raising money for a startup, written by the CEO of Koru Kids, Rachel Carrell.

Rachel shared her fears of writing the article with the group.

"I was really torn about whether to share this story on a public forum. I wrote it ages ago, mainly because I kept being asked about my own story by pregnant women who were running their own business. I was always being introduced to people for coffee so that I could 'advise' them on how to combine birth and work. I say, 'advise' because I really did not feel I had advice!

My own mum said, 'Definitely do not publish this.' She was concerned about what people might think of a mum who went back to work really quickly. She said, 'What if it gets picked up by the Daily Mail?'

Then I asked my PR friend Holly, and she said, 'You know what? If you are going to live your life according to what might get picked up by the Daily Mail, they've already won.'

And so I said fine. Publish.”

The response from the group was — as expected — thoughtful, supportive and encouraging.

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