You probably had firm ideas about parenting before you had children. Did you ever judge as you saw a parent managing a tantrum in the supermarket? Or tut as you heard a child arguing back or being bribed to behave well with sweets? Maybe you believed that "I will never do that."
There are few things more humbling than parenthood. It can bring reality crashing down to challenge what we thought we knew before the children arrived. And our parenting has such a big impact: we are raising the next generation.
So much has to be experienced and discovered along the way in parenting. What kind of person will they be? What kind of parent are you? What are the bits of parenting that you will find enjoyable and which bits of the job are challenging and torturous?
Have you used your upbringing as a model for your parenting, or as warning for how to be the complete opposite? And what are your dreams, plans, hopes and fears for your children's future?
One thing is certain: parents have to keep adapting to the age and stage of their children, and need to keep learning to manage each one. Parents have an easier job when they are supported by family or their community.
Each family has principles that are important in guiding its parenting, but there is no such thing as a universal set of parenting rules and best practice because each child and family is different.
Croydon has the largest population of any London borough – 342,000 people live here. The borough also has more children and young people than any other London borough. Some 82,000 Croydon residents are under the age of 18 and the school population census (Summer 2012) showed 52,000 are children of school age (5-16).
Our children are educated in 120 state schools and a smaller number of private ones. There are 120 parks and playgrounds. There are youth clubs, playgroups, after school clubs, children's centres and countless numbers of organisations and businesses which are providing services, experiences, education, entertainment and support.
It takes a village to raise a child. We are lucky in Croydon; we have a town. The aim of this page is to support you as a parent, and to bring you news, views, learning and resources, so that you can enjoy raising your children in Croydon. On this page, in our neighbourhood newspaper, we can come together as a community, to grow and learn as parents.
You can help to shape this page and make it useful for you.
Ask us your parenting questions.
Tell us the parenting issues that are worrying you.
Share a tip or strategy that works well in your home.
Invite us to review an event, club or business that provides services for families.
As Croydon parents, let's share, learn and teach together.
E-mail your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org