Parenting has been called the toughest job. When you're in it, you worry whether you'll produce kind, productive humans. The days are long and the years are short. Blink, and your baby rockets from learning to walk, to lurching for your car keys.

After countless loads of laundry, packed lunches, teacher conferences and tears, parents of adults are still on the job part-time, fielding phone calls, cooking meals and sometimes providing shelter. When the kids finally leave home, you hope you've set them up for success.

What are we doing right? What are we getting wrong? Bay of Plenty Times Weekend writer Dawn Picken spoke with local parents and experts to uncover strategies for successful parenting.

Vialoux family – celebrating milestones and role models

For the Vialoux family, faith and dinners together are important, as is belonging to a community outside the family. Photo / Supplied
For the Vialoux family, faith and dinners together are important, as is belonging to a community outside the family. Photo / Supplied

Elizabeth and Richard Vialoux have raised five boys, ages 18 to 29.

The Pāpāmoa couple started their family in Auckland, where Elizabeth was a stay-at-home mum and Richard was a police officer.

"Richard was a very hands-on dad, which was huge," Elizabeth says.

At one point, they were caring for three boys aged under 5. Having a large brood had advantages. "They always had someone to play with at home."

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They built a sandpit and an in-ground trampoline in their yard.

"We didn't need to go out and entertain the kids, because

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