You know you're sucking pretty badly as a parent when your children behave so badly at the doctors that they suggest a parenting course.

I'm not saying I don't need one, it's just embarrassing having an actual medical professional prescribe one.

We'd made an appointment to have our daughter, four, checked for being a little blocked up downstairs after I noticed things had become ... difficult. This coincided with some pretty challenging behaviour. Hoping there may be an easy fix - or at least a quantifiable reason for my suffering - I took her to the doctor.

This generally means her two-year-old brother has to tag along. Sometimes this is fine. Sometimes it really is not.


When we arrived for this particular appointment the pair of them ran to the gated-off children's play area (which makes me want to sterilise everything and leaves me anxiously awaiting cases of Chicken Pox and Ebola for weeks).

As they started fighting over toys in front of some older patients - who probably raised their children properly - I wondered how the clinic could already be 15 minutes behind their first appointment of the day.

We got in to the doctor's office and both kids started complaining about how hungry they were - as if they hadn't just eaten Weetbix and toast.

While I was distracted by talking to the doctor, they found their lunch in my bag and started leaving sandwich crumbs on the clean floor.

But it was all was okay, until I had to sit my daughter on my lap for the doctor to check her ears.

My son took offence to being moved aside and began howling and sobbing. He hurled his sandwich across the room and threw himself down on the floor and started rolling around.

Seeing my exasperated sigh, the doctor showed me a technique for handling tantrums. It worked but I suspect was only successful because it wasn't coming from me.

"When you are finished, you can have a stamp," she told him as he wailed.


Yeah, a stamp on the foot, you little bugger. How dare you do this to me!

When I resolved a fight over a toy the doctor said I handled it exactly the right way. As if there is one.

So do I need to take a parenting course or not? I don't know. The doctor can't know. No one knows.

You speak to some people and they'll say you have a problem. You speak to other people and they'll say it's totally normal for their age.

Was that the worst my children will behave for the next few months, or is it just the beginning of bad behaviour?

Please don't tell me. I don't think I want to know.