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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

Parents Panel: Readers share the parenting rules they always end up breaking

A little TV-time-while-eating never did anyone any harm…

parents-panel-banner-final1.1 Source: Shutterstock/

AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

Make sure kids get the right amount of sleep for their age group, don’t let them have too much screen time, make sure they eat a healthy, balanced diet at all times. There are many, many rules you’ll encounter as a parent – and there are also many times you’ll end up breaking them.

Whether it’s pushing out bedtime because you got home late from work, or sitting them down with the iPad while you sit down with your book (finally), sometimes life can get in the way of the rulebook.

This week, we asked our panel…

What’s one parenting rule you always end up breaking?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source:

Rule #1 Don’t allow too much screentime

If it means that Charlie (2) eats a balanced meal without a fight, we’ll put him in front of TV. Or if we’re out and about, the mobile. Let the judgement begin!

- Kait Quinn 

Tymek is definitely watching way too much TV than I was hoping for. He watches up to an hour every day which I think is a lot for an almost-three-year-old.

- Marta Lisiecka 

Rule #2: Don’t spoil them (no matter how cute they are) 

When I found out I was pregnant with Ellie Mae after a 14 year gap from my previous pregnancy, I promised myself she wouldn’t be spoilt, but who was I kidding? From the moment she made an appearance, that was it. Her older brother and sister (14 and 18 at the time) were besotted – every time she made a whimper they were over lifting her. When they got jobs, they were buying her little things every week with their wages.  She turned four last week and is still every bit as spoilt – except now she knows how to play her brother and sister to get what she wants.

- Denise Cumiskey 

shutterstock_1256170207 Source: Shutterstock/Antonio Gravante

Rule #3: Ensure they keep up their after-school commitments

If I had to pick out one, it would be letting them skip music practice.  Sometimes it’s not worth the battle. But we tend to not break rules continuously. We only have rules that matter and so we believe in them.

- Alan Dooley 

Rule #4: No more night-time bottles

Clíodhna (22 months) still has a bottle at night. I don’t know when this was officially supposed to have ended, just that it should have. What I do know though is that I have a very healthy and happy little girl who loves her bottle in the evening. It is on the ‘to do’ list to tackle this but up until now it just hasn’t seemed right to do so… and I believe a lot of good parenting is what feels right and works for you and your family.

- Ríona Flood

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More Parents Panel: What’s one life skill every kid should have?

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