Interview: Nigel Latta

Nigel Latta chat's to Chelsey's JJ about becoming a new parent, how to be the best parent you can be, and the biggest parenting myth of all.

People will get the chance to meet you at The Baby Show over the last weekend of October. What will you be talking about in your seminar?

I’ll be mostly talking about new babies, focussing on new parents. Most parents fret about doing the wrong thing, so I’ll be talking about what actually matters. It’s incredible how much stuff you are told before your baby is born. I remember when my first child was on the way, I was given a list of stuff we’d need - $20,000 worth! But you really don’t need most of it. People spend thousands on a baby-changing table, when a towel on the floor works just as well. 

If parents don’t need baby changing tables, what is it that they actually need? 

Sleep? And a comfortable bed to get that sleep! 

Babies just need their basic needs met. If you can do that, you’re on the right track. 

You’ve done a lot of work with teenagers, and even written a book about it, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers. What do you think is harder, parenting during the terrible twos or parenting during the terrible teens?

Neither is harder than the other – they are just different. Every child is different. I think that parenting is confusing, and parents just want some predictions for the future. They want to know that it gets better. And it does and it doesn’t. When you use that final nappy, that’s a milestone. Not having to wipe your child’s bottom is a huge leap. There is certainly a peaceful lull in the primary school years, which many parents come to an end in the teenage years, but as you teen becomes more independent, that gives you more freedom too.

You are often called a “parenting guru”. Would your children agree?

No. I don’t consider myself to be a guru! I’m not especially clever, I’ve just been lucky enough to work with thousands of families which has enabled me to learn.

What does it take to be a “good” parent?

Do the basics, have fun where you can and don’t beat yourself up for being a crap parent. Everyone is sometimes.

What’s the biggest parenting myth?

That it’s possible to screw it up. Of course it is possible, but if you are worried about screwing it up you are not the kind of parent who will mess your kids up… too much. You’re going to mess your kid’s up a little. How many family reunions have you been to where adults still complain about their parents? No one’s perfect.

What’s the best thing about being a parent?

The best thing is that you get to do kid’s stuff all over again. You can go to kid’s movies and go on school camps. Not only that, but there is something amazing about watching a little person develop. For me I loved watching their sense of humour develop from giggling at peek-a-boo to proper jokes.

What’s your favourite kid’s movie?

This is going to sound bad, but Zombieland… Most people would say that it’s not a kid’s movie, but my nine year old swears it is. I really like Up too, but I don’t really think that’s a kid’s movie…

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