Interview with Nigel Latta, author of Politically Incorrect Parenting: Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy
1. How is your book and approach different to other behavioural books and shows like ‘the Supernanny’?
My main focus is on making parents feel better about what they’re doing. I think we’re all a bit tired of having some expert wave their finger at us telling us what a crap job we’re all doing. I’m more about giving people some simple, effective tools to make parenting easier, and being a lot more honest about how we’re all a bit crap from time to time, and that’s okay.
2. You are a father of 2, what does and doesn’t work for your children?
All the stuff I talk about in my books is stuff I do with my own kids. I follow the same guidelines and philosophy in my real life that I talk about in the books. I use the same principles I talk about in the book, and I use all the techniques in there as well. So all that stuff works… what doesn’t work is when I get tired, grumpy, overworked, or generally stop thinking. Of course, it goes without saying that I get all those things on a semiregular basis so my boys have to cope with a dad who is just as flawed and imperfect as everyone else. All of which is the best training you can get for living in the real world.
3. Do you see a pattern in children’s behaviour according to their family unit stability?
Big question with complicated answer… but let me simplify it out a little. Basically, the saner you are, the happier they are. They crazier and more stressed you are, the worse off they are. So your big focus needs to be on keeping home as stable and sane as you can. At times you will live in crazytown, we all do, just try and visit as opposed to moving in and buying property.
4. Children don’t seem to respect their elders today, how can we teach our children respect?
Some children, don’t but some do. At the end of the day that one comes down to what we do as parents. If you tolerate disrespect it will flourish. If you don’t, it won’t.
5. Do you think its important for children to be ‘bored’ and find their own entertainment?
Boredom is good. I’m sure that most of the great ideas of human history haven’t come from people who felt really great because they were engaged in stimulating, educational activities. I’d wager most of the big ideas have come from things like boredom. Frustration, outrage, and occasionally even despair. Even if you don’t have ‘the big idea’ from some extended session of boredom our kids do need to learn how to be bored constructively because, sadly, a lot of life does involve dealing with tedium.
About the book…
Why is it so hard to be the parent you thought you would be? Do your kids sometimes make you feel your head is going to explode? Ever yelled at them until you were hoarse? Do you have days when you feel like making a run for the airport? For harassed parents struggling to understand why they end up screaming at their kids and tearing their hair out trying to make them understand that bad behaviour has inevitable consequences, this is the perfect book to help your family make it through the crucial first decade or so and still enjoy each other’s company.
Practical commonsense answers and real life examples, logical and realistic strategies, and innovative behaviour modification tools that work in the real world – all from a parent and family therapist who’s seen almost everything there is to see and offers some hard-won battlefield wisdom. Written in down-to-earth language, this book needs to be handed out at birth, an essential guide for the struggling parent who knows family life can and should be better.
Clinical psychologist, bestselling author, and father of two, Nigel Latta specializes in working with children with behavioural problems, from simple to severe. A regular media commentator and presenter, he has had two television series adapted from his books —BEYOND THE DARKLANDS and THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT PARENTING SHOW (both of which screen in New Zealand and Australia) – and has had a regular parenting segment on national radio.