Tough parenting makes children better

HOW far would you go for your child? Lie for them? Break the law? Turn a blind eye to their crime? Protect them from punishment?Is protecting your child come what may true parenting? Or is it blind stupidity and abdicating parental responsibility?A tough call of conscience this one but at the heart of the problems in Britain today.

HOW far would you go for your child? Lie for them? Break the law? Turn a blind eye to their crime? Protect them from punishment?

Is protecting your child come what may true parenting? Or is it blind stupidity and abdicating parental responsibility?

A tough call of conscience this one but at the heart of the problems in Britain today.

Too many parents don't understand what parenting really means. Or refuse to.

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Somewhere, bringing children up with authority and discipline, to know right from wrong and live a decent life has been overtaken by a parent desperately wanting to be their child's friend.

Too many parents - and you see it every day from parents of toddlers to grown up adult children - believe they must do everything to please their child. That's what makes a good parent in their eyes.

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They make excuses for them, never question their behaviour, are scared to say no and go out of their way never to upset them even when the child is in the wrong.

They might be trying to compensate - few of us spend enough time with our children because of work and broken families don't help with parents carrying burdens of guilt desperate not to fall out with their children.

But when a parent actually stands up to the child who has done wrong and does the right thing - like Great Yarmouth woman Carol Saldinack who shopped her two sons for a vicious attack on Neil Metcalfe, who shopped his 19-year-old son for hiding a gun - they're derided and ostracised for “betraying” their children.

No. No. No. Betrayal would be to cover up for their children. To know they carry a knife and turn a blind eye. To know they've stolen and say nothing.

Bad parents are those who let their children get away with murder - literally sometimes - because they profess to “love” their children.

If they truly loved their children they would stick by their parental responsibility to teach them right from wrong. Help their children face up to what they have done and accept the consequences and, hopefully, learn from them.

More than 40,000 people contacted GMTV after Carold Saldinack said she had no regrets in sending her two sons to jail for an unprovoked attack on a father-of-two Marc Parkinson leaving him blind in one eye and financially ruined.

Incomprehensibly, she was ostracised by her family. Neil Metcalfe too enraged his family by phoning the police and “grassing up” his son when he discovered 11 live bullets in his bedroom where police also found a pistol.

Mr Metcalf said: “Parents have a responsibility to do the right thing no matter how hard it is.'

Children have to take responsibility for their actions, he said.

“The violence and gun culture has got way out of hand. But parents must make sure they set the right example and lead from the front. We can't just leave it to the authorities. It all starts at home.”

And there it is in a nutshell. It all starts at home.

Parents must be parents, not friends to their children.

Making anyone face up to the consequences of their actions is not betrayal - it's doing what is right. Mr Metcalfe called his decision a “no brainer.”

Shopping your children isn't washing your hands of them. It's making them better adults for the future - and only then will the world start to feel a better place.

CANCER patients who choose to remortgage their homes, borrow vast sums of money or spend their savings on costly drugs to try to save their lives are being cut off by the NHS and left to die - or pay for every syringe, dressing and treatment themselves.

Obscene, horrendous and completely unthinkable but absolutely true. A Government that lays its store by its social conscience and free NHS treatment for all has blood on its hands.

Grandmother Linda O'Boyle is the first patient to die after her NHS chemotherapy and other treatment for colon cancer was stopped because she had the temerity to try to extend her life to enjoy her grandchildren by paying for drugs not available on the NHS.

The Government's view - if you can afford the drugs you can afford all the treatment. Ordinary people who are willing to sacrifice all they have for a few years' extra life cut off by the institution set up to care for everyone from cradle to grave.

It makes you feel physically sick to think that doctors dedicated to save people's lives are being forced to deny treatment because Health Secretary Alan Johnson blocked “co-payment” because he claimed it would create a two-tier Health Service.

Cancer patients don't give a fig about two-tier services - they just want to live. If they're willing to risk everything for a few extra years it's their business. To be punished for being desperate for a few extra months or years is cruel and wicked beyond words.

IT was a sight for sore eyes - a snaking queue of young boys in a bookshop, all clutching thick books, patiently waiting to meet an author.

These weren't the stereotypical bookish boys. The queue at Borders in Norwich was like a fashion show of surfer boy-cum-sports jock cool all waiting to shake hands with Young Bond book author Charlie Higson.

It was a delight to see boys enthusiastic about reading thanks to the action books of Higson, Anthony Horowitz and their ilk responsible for reviving a passion for books for boys, previously under-served by modern fiction.

All were desperate to find out when his next book was out. All wanted to meet the face behind the exciting words.

It's not that boys don't like reading - they just need the right stuff to read.

TUT, tut. Fern Britton, still a long way off slim, has been outed for being economical with the truth for not revealing she had a gastric band operation two years ago before her dress size dropped from a size 22 to a 16.

In her daily love-in with Philip Schofield she's talked about her new healthy eating and cycling regime. Her surgery secret , she admitted this week, was known by only five people. Why?

Why is taking drastic action to save her life something to be ashamed of? What difference is there between having a gastric band or doing some faddy Posh-style diet when you're morbidly obese.

Frankly, looking at the growing number of fatties waddling around today, the more gastric band operations the better for the future of the nation's health.

Rivita might now drop Fibber Fern from their adverts but there's a whole new gastric band advertising potential out there.

WAIT for celebrity chefs to pounce on this idea. Save money on soaring food bills and get healthy too - by eating insects.

Celebrity chefs will be crawling over each other to get to this first.

Scientists say crunchy crickets and chewy caterpillars are nutrient-packed and some dried insects have twice the protein of raw meat.

Somehow I can't see us all grabbing our kids' bug catchers and going hunting for red ants, grasshoppers, water beetles, crickets and silkworm pupae - but if food bills keep rising we might have no choice.

I give TV chefs until the end of the week to start touting their recipes to dress them up.

Credit crunch? Quite literally, folks.

WHEN will society see post-natal depression for the terrible real illness it really is?

This devastating depression - still trivially referred to as the “baby blues” - is still scoffed at by many, and not just men.

Women who have been fortunate enough to have their babies and float along in a rose-tinted world of happy fulfilment - I've yet to meet many of these - still swat the notion of postnatal depression as “attention seeking” or for mothers who can't cope.

Now another new mother whose undiagnosed illness has brought tragedy. Two children dead and a six-month-old baby with her throat cut with their Sri Lankan mother in custody.

Many sufferers put on a brave face because postnatal depression is viewed by many as failure. Sufferers feel a failure and sink deeper and deeper into illness, often behind a smile and an outward impression of total organisation and coping.

Inside the women are a mess, desperate for help but are too afraid to admit it.

But partners and families are to blame too. Many refuse to recognise the signs, offer little help and hope it will all blow over. Post natal depression never just blows over and needs urgent help before it's too late. We all need to take responsibility for friends, family and neighbours.

FOURTEEN-year-old freestyle dancer George Sampson's victory in Britain's Got Talent finals showed exactly where the nation's voting power lies - with impressionable young girls.

Girls' pink phones were red-hot on Saturday night voting for the boy with teenage crush factor.

Street busker hard-up George had a decent sob story and put on a good show but in no way showed the most pure talent - but he was the act with the biggest young girl appeal. And young girls love a phone vote.

The true winners - female string quartet Escala, Faryl Smith and Andrew Johnston - will still be in the public eye long after the girls forget the name George Sampson.

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