Cherry Healey meets mothers with very different parenting styles, from a pro-smacking strict parent to a liberal single mum, to find out what being a mother is all about.
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'When I had a baby, the furthest thing from my mind
'was the growing pains that were just around the corner.
'And there's a lot more to come as a parent.
'You have to juggle teaching the ABCs...'
All done, hooray!
I'm literally ridiculously impressed.
'Dishing out all the latest gear.'
If they see something, by the end of the week they've got it.
'Keeping them out of harm's way.'
I just don't feel comfortable when there's so much knife crime and gangs, and things like that.
'And wiping away the tears.'
All she cares about is herself, and I don't know how you're meant to parent that.
'I want to meet mums across Britain who are passionate about the ways they bring up their kids.'
Two most important things are good manners and eating your vegetables.
'In the hope of becoming best prepared for my daughter Coco.'
You're definitely not equipped to deal with something like this.
I'm not, anyway.
This programme contains some strong language
'18 months ago,
'I gave birth to the little miracle that is my daughter Coco.
'She's the apple of my eye, and like every parent,
'I want to bring her up to be a safe, happy and successful person.
'But Coco is beginning to get a mind of her own, and starting to push the boundaries,
'so how do I actually do it?'
No, no. Coco, no!
Up until now, there's been absolutely no method to my motherhood.
I've just basically been winging it a bit, hoping instincts would be enough.
There've been a few times where I've thought,
"I don't know what I'm doing and how to handle this situation."
I actually need to decide now what kind of mother I want to be.
Am I going to be strict or am I going to be relaxed and happy-go-lucky?
I don't really know.
'My mum says she struggled most with me when I hit my rebellious teens.
'I was a nightmare, drinking, smoking and meeting boys.
'It might be a long way off for Coco,
'but even the thought of it fills me with dread.
'The first mum I've come to meet is Lindsay, an A&E nurse from Rugby,
'with two sons, Cameron and Logan, and a 14-year-old daughter, Abbie.'
Tell me about your family life.
It's good apart from my eldest, Abbie,
who, yes, is a teenager, and we all know it!
What are you finding hard?
Everything with her. She...
It's like she's got a tick-list of things to do to annoy your parents
and things you're meant to do as a teenager, and she's working steadily through them.
'The problems with bad behaviour and lying started when Abbie was 11.
'Lindsay's now resorted to inspecting Abbie's bedroom on a regular basis.'
In this pocket, she had a little bag of cannabis.
So, yeah, now I have to check her pockets as well.
Can you get inside her head?
I do remember what it's like.
I do remember that everything does revolve around your friends,
and that adults are just... Just do nag at you...
But I still had the respect that I didn't swear at my parents,
and I was scared if I was in trouble,
but she doesn't seem to care if she gets told off.
It just goes straight over her head and she'll go and do the same thing.
I don't trust her.
Everything that she says I just think is a lie now.
More than anything, it's just sad. It shouldn't have got to this point
and I'm not really sure...where you take it from here, really.
When you do your ante-natal classes and they teach you about nappies,
no-one really talks about the teenage years.
You're definitely not equipped to deal with something like this.
I'm not, anyway.
I wouldn't have a clue how to deal with this.
-Hi, I'm Cherry. Abbie. Nice to meet you.
-Was school all right?
-It was OK.
-Glad it's finished?
-Yeah, I bet.
-Cool, wicked. Shall we go?
'14-year-old Abbie is a popular and outgoing student with clear ambitions about the future.
'She wants to become a tattoo artist and move to the States.'
I like doing my art, which is like tattooing. I want to do that.
-I noticed on your hands...
I got bored and my mates just did it.
And they got bored and they got to do it.
What kind of tattoos do you want?
Quite a lot. I want ones on my hands, and on my back and everywhere.
And the piercings as well, and stuff like that.
What are things like with your mum at the moment?
I think she thinks quite badly of me.
She's told me she's not proud of me, she never will be.
She's told me I'm horrible, selfish, and so, so many things.
And then she'll say she loves me sometimes but I think I've heard that once in the past year.
And it's horrible. I just don't think she really likes me much.
She'd much rather I be a completely different person but it's not going to happen.
-Do you think you're badly behaved?
I try to be good sometimes but it's more fun when you're bad behaved, to be honest.
'In two weeks' time, there's a gig night in town
'that Abbie is desperate to go to,
'despite getting into trouble there in the past.
-What you after?
-I don't know. Erm...
-You know FMR?
-Could I go?
-When is it on?
Erm... I don't know Abbie, cos last time you went you weren't there.
I know where I was and I was not at Found?
-Well, I don't know where you were and that is the point.
I'll think about it but it absolutely depends on your behaviour.
Cos why should I let you go somewhere when you haven't given us anything back?
I'm not going to magically change overnight.
Well, I'd like you to magically change just a little bit.
Sod off... Bitch.
And that's negotiation!
The atmosphere in the house when Abbie's around is very tense.
It's very stressful for Lindsay.
Communication has completely broken down, there is no trust.
There's a lot of anger and they are at stalemate.
'The challenges for me as a mum to toddler Coco are a bit more basic,
'so you'd think more straightforward.'
-Mummy's going to make your lunch.
'How to feed my daughter healthy food.'
Even the mention of the word "lunch" is enough to send her into a total whack attack!
So on the menu today is a delicious pasta, vegetable
and tuna baby-mush thing.
Look, yummy. Oh, delicious!
I'd happily eat it.
Have a little sit in your chair.
COCO CRIES AND SHOUTS
She's really strong!
COCO CONTINUES CRYING AND SHOUTING
'It's got so bad that it's turned into a daily battle.'
-Just a little bit.
-Would it make a difference if you knew this took me about four hours...
'And sadly it's one that Coco usually wins.'
-A little tiny bit.
Meal times can be a real battle and sometimes if I've had a long day,
'I can be really wet and give up,'
and we just end up on the sofa watching bed-time telly.
'OK, so it's not ideal,
'but letting Coco win sometimes doesn't feel that bad,
'and I don't really want to make food a massive issue.
'But I know some parents would think it would cause problems later,
'and that the key to a happy home is in setting very clear boundaries.'
'I've come to Sussex to meet a couple
who believe in an old-fashioned, disciplinarian approach to bringing up their two boys.'
-Hello, Cherry. Hi!
-Nice to meet you.
-Come in. And you, come in.
-Ooh, are you a shoes-off household?
-We are, but we don't mind.
-It's all right. Don't worry.
No. No. I like to play by the rules. I don't mind at all.
As long as I don't have to go barefoot. That's fine.
'From day one, Paul and Nicky have been very black and white about setting firm rules for their kids.'
What are some of do's and the don'ts of your household?
-Don't eat... You eat and drink at the table.
They never sit on the couch with any food.
The only time they can maybe sit on the floor is sometimes on a Friday
it's "sweetie" day and they can have a little bit of relaxation there.
We do pull them up every so often on manners. That's a very big issue.
That they know they've got to have please, thank you, et cetera,
and be very well-behaved.
The little things like the shoes off when they come in,
but it's instilled in them a lot of the time. They know that these are the rules.
I gave Nicky and Paul a camera to film over 2 weeks to show me how discipline is enforced in the house.
Right, you, listen.
I heard you say shut up to me.
I did not say that to you!
time out, you can go outside!
We have got them into a routine but we still get times where they keep getting up out of bed
and sometimes it gets too much and if they really are playing up, one thing we do do sometimes,
particularly at night,
is we bring one of them down and we put them just outside in the dark and shut the door.
-You going to go up to bed?
Well, then you better go out then.
You gonna get into bed or are you going outside?
What you doing?
People might think that's quite cruel or not right at all, but
the absolute amazing change you get after, I don't know, say 30 seconds
to a minute of actually doing that,
it's not long, you bring them back in, straight up to bed, no problem.
Right then, give me a kiss.
-Love you loads.
If you're going to say to them, "Look, if you don't shut up you're gonna be outside,"
it's quite easy as a parent not to carry that through,
but they're quite intelligent and they get to know,
if you don't carry that through, they know that, they know it's just words.
I don't like doing it but I know I'm going to get the result out of it
at the end of the day and that's why we have done that.
Right, well because you've been good boys,
-who wants to watch the Doctor Who DVD we got later, yeah?
Nicky and Paul's methods may not be to everyone's taste
but they are demanding of themselves too,
and have both chosen to work shifts so that one of them is always at home with the boys.
There are definitely a few benefits to being strict.
Children helping with the washing up,
I want a bit of that!
When either Lewis or Oliver don't toe the line,
Paul and Nicky also use smacking as their last resort,
and they're keen to show me when they do this.
It'll make me better.
I'm not arguing with you, you're not having any.
Oliver, you'll be straight back outside.
Don't you dare touch that fridge or that packet of crisps up there, no, no.
Now STOP IT.
Come on, bedtime.
Get off, don't do that, no!
Right, get upstairs, please, now.
You've been told.
Bed! Thank you.
Take your rag.
That last one's quite hard to watch, that last smack
was a proper smack!
Is that the hardest you do it?
Yeah, but it shocked him, didn't it?
Yeah, it did and I think that's what you need, the shock factor sometimes because I think a very light tap
he'd have laughed and it wouldn't have worked and you're losing
the message there so sometimes a little bit harder so he does realise we do mean business.
-How often do you smack the children?
-I suppose with Lewis maybe
two or three times a week and with Oliver again about the same.
You know, I'd rather see somebody discipline with a smack then watching a family,
"No, don't do that, don't do that" and the child walking all over them.
Do you ever worry that violence breeds violence and that,
by smacking your kids, you may be teaching them something unhealthy?
I can only judge it by my own personal experiences and the same
with Nicky, in the fact that we were smacked as kids and I don't think that did us any harm whatsoever.
I was only smacked twice as a child and because it was so rare
I remember it vividly.
Once when I cut the back of the sofa open with a knife
and once when it tired to run across the road
and I remember being really, really scared
and very sorry and knowing I'd stepped over the line,
but I think
doing it that rarely means that it has a huge impact.
I think two or three times a week and you're starting to step into a different territory.
So smacking's not something I want to do on a regular basis as I am not sure it works,
but a recent government survey found that two thirds of children in Britain
have been smacked by their parents,
although only a quarter of parents were happy to admit it.
If the government made smacking illegal, would you stop?
No, I'd rather go to court
and justify why I'm doing it than stop doing what I feel is right.
That's a really strong belief and I don't honestly think,
um, anybody has the right to say what you can and can't do with your child.
Kids learn by example, kids are like sponges.
They watch everything you do and they copy it, and if you're dealing with
your kid by smacking constantly they can't but learn that example, surely?
So if I'm not prepared to wield the stick for discipline, perhaps I can always encourage Coco with a carrot.
After all, a bit of bribery never did anyone too much harm.
I've come to Derby to meet Chantal.
She's a 28-year-old single mum, who works non-stop to keep a smile
on her three kids' faces and pay for everything they could ever wish for.
And when I say she works for it, I mean she really works it.
As well as lap-dancing, Chantal works as a beautician and waitress
to keep the money rolling in.
I like to make £200-300 a day.
I like to come to work and make 4, 5 6, 7, 900 pounds a night.
-Yeah, you know what I mean? I've made two, three grand a night
and who's making that?
I've got kids that want, if they see something, by the end of the week they've got it.
I do this for my kids to have the best. I couldn't
do it sitting on the dole. Who could live off £100 every two weeks?
As long as I'm young, fit and able to work and I can give them
what they want, there's no way over my dead body they're going without.
Juggling three jobs to provide her children with the best
means that Chantal can work until 4am to earn the big bucks.
Wow, how do you feel?
It's so early in the morning!
How are you feeling?
I'm tired. This is what I do all the time though.
And how much money did you made?
About £300, it's not the best but it's Friday night and it's hit and miss.
What time are you gonna get up?
What time is it now?
-I'll get into bed about five and be up at about seven with Kameiya for breakfast.
See you tomorrow.
Bright and early, make sure you're there.
It's 8am and I am bushed!
But there's no rest for Chantal, as her five-year-old daughter Kameiya is definitely ready to play.
How are you feeling?
I feel like death.
My head's spinning, I have a headache in my eye,
I feel like I'm dying.
Chantal's incredible work ethic has paid for sons, Ma-kyi and Kamarl to have every computer console
they could ever want,
and daughter Kameiya gets anything she could possibly think of.
So it's not always easy deciding who's first in line to play a game.
Kameiya, give Ma-Kyi...
No-one's going to play with you in a minute.
I wish I knew how to do it.
Ma-Kyi, come here, come and do it quick please.
Why is she upset?
Because she's spoilt, if she doesn't get her own way, because she's got to have player number one,
she obviously feels like she's got to say it all.
She's just showing off.
Gosh, she's really shouting, isn't she?
Are you going to bed?
Come on then, right come on.
Chantal's taking the kids out for some good old retail therapy, something they do most weeks.
But it's not quite the fun and games I thought it would be.
You boys look a bit sad, what's wrong? Are you all right?
They've been so excited but if you don't smile I'm not taking you shopping.
This might cheer you up a bit.
How is it?
Where are my kids going?
Come here. Don't just walk off.
If you don't eat your dinner, we ain't going shopping.
Ma-Kyi, no, come here now.
I've noticed that when things get really bad,
you say to the boys "I won't buy you this, I won't buy you that,"
do you then follow that threat through successfully?
I think I'll take that as a no!
What about these?
After three hours, the kids have managed to spend 130 quid of mum's money.
Can I see your loot?
You got an umbrella,
a music book,
and some aqua beads,
they look really fun.
Boys, what did you get?
Is that what you wanted? How do you feel now you've got it?
You wanted that game for ages and you're not smiling.
Why do I bother because they don't appreciate what I do.
They got everything they wanted and
yet they were still really unhappy.
Chantal is either a saint or completely mad.
I certainly want Coco to be happy but I don't want it to come at the expense of her walking all over me.
She can't be the boss, I've got to take charge, so I'm going
all out to tackle the point when I give in most - mealtimes.
Today it's all about that high chair and this Bolognese, and unless those
two are part of the equation there will be no food passing Coco's lips.
Cos I've been a bit silly, haven't, just I letting you eat what you want
but now, my friend, the worm has turned.
It's not just about food at the moment, it's also about who's boss
and I've just been a bit wet and kind of relaxed and
I'm slightly putting on my mummy hat at the moment and bringing out the big guns.
So far, so predictable, but this time I'm not giving up.
You want some of this?
She really doesn't want it.
Surely she can't go on like this all day...
Poor cow. The phone's next to get it.
I'm really tired of this game.
OK, I'm throwing in the towel on the high chair,
but I really want to stay strong on the Bolognese.
Coco hasn't eaten now for 11 hours, it's 6 o'clock
and the food is right there.
..definitely not gonna eat today,
I'd put money on it.
MOUTHS: Oh, my God!
OK, she only had four mouthfuls...
but after 11 hours
I'm actually pretty happy with that.
When Coco and I leave the house, my number one concern is keeping her out of harm's way.
I obviously don't let her out of my sight, but, with constant reminders in news of abductions like
Jamie Bulger and Madeline McCann, I worry if I'll ever eventually be OK with cutting the apron strings.
So where should I draw the line between keeping her safe and living a life governed by fear?
I've come to meet mum of two Faye, who's made the decision to live in
a rural, gated community with her husband and daughters Eli and Brooke.
Do you like the area you're living in, is this somewhere you feel safe?
This particular flat, yeah I feel safe in here, outside this flat, no, not at all.
I just don't feel comfortable letting my child roam the street
when there is so much knife crime and gangs and things like that.
I can understand people do think I keep them in my own little bubble,
but at the end of the day that is up to me and that is how I want to bring my children up.
I don't want them to grow up too quick.
The only place that Faye does let 10-year-old Eli play is on the tennis
court next to her apartment, right where she can see her.
Is this where you like to come and play?
-Why don't you go other places?
Because my mum won't allow it, she's very protective between me
and Brooke, and if we go somewhere else, she'll just worry and panic.
Who does your mum tell you to look out for?
Well, gangs might jump out and say, "Give me your money!"
And if you refuse, they might stab you,
or people that you don't know, especially strangers,
those are pretty scary, or babysitters,
they could be very dangerous,
people in shops that are standing round and you're scared
and you walk past them and they cover your mouth,
so you scream and they can't hear you or anything.
Is kidnapping something you're scared of?
Yeah, like Madeleine, that scares me,
because I see that or stabbing and being shot and everything.
'Listening to Eli, I found that really, really shocking.'
She is terrified of the world.
She is completely petrified of really, really scary grown-up things, like murder.
When Faye does go out with her daughters, she makes sure that they always stay within reach.
When I was younger, I was able to go out and play with my next door neighbour
and get our bikes and go riding round the block.
They could never do that now,
they could never ever in a million years do that.
Why can't Elouise walk down the street on her own?
Because it's just far too dangerous. I'll show you the sort of things that scare me.
All she was doing was walking a dog
and she got slashed 41 times.
She wasn't out in a club,
she wasn't partying, she was out walking a dog.
And this one, this happened the other day.
He came out of a train station and they hunted him down
and stabbed him to death, because they went to two different schools.
Do you think the papers are blowing it out of proportion?
No, I don't. You can't make something like this up.
You just can't and, unfortunately, its just going to get a whole lot worse.
Before you had children, did you think your fear would be this powerful?
No. If I knew ten years ago
what it was going to be like now, I wouldn't have had kids.
'I'm so surprised'
at her huge level of fear at the world.
It must be completely exhausting for her and I'm not sure she needs to be that worried.
Although I don't think the world is as hostile a place as Faye does,
I can relate to her protective instinct.
It is really difficult to learn to let go, but eventually I know I'll have to.
Back in Rugby, and Abi's been grounded since I last saw her.
But mum Lindsay's told me that, after two weeks of squeaky-clean behaviour,
she's allowing her to go out to the gig tonight with her friends.
How come you've decided to let her go? I know you were really questioning whether to.
We've actually had quite a nice, sort of, week and a half.
I know she's been grounded and it's kind of forced family time,
but it's been quite nice really, so I don't want to spoil it
-and everything to flare up again.
-Are you nervous?
Hmm, a little bit, yeah. I haven't got the energy for more arguments really, so I just hope she behaves.
So do I, as I've been invited along tonight to observe what Abi's like when she's with her mates.
-That looks sick.
-Does it look all right?
-Yeah, it looks good...and it works well with your nose piercing.
TEENAGER-ESQUE: Ah, yeah, like, whatever.
-OK, wicked. Great.
What are the rules your mum has set in place for tonight?
Don't come home drunk or lean.
-Drunk or lean?
-High, on drugs.
Oh, God, I feel like your grandma. GRANNY-ESQUE: "What does lean mean?"
Nah, most people don't know.
-OK, so, no smoking pot and no drinking.
How do you think that's going to go?
It's like watching a car crash about to happen and I'm, kind of, stuck in the middle of it.
I just hope tonight doesn't go as badly as I think it's going to go.
I'm picking you up at quarter past 11. The gig finishes at 11.
I expect you to be in the car, at the back of McDonald's,
-at a quarter past 11.
-And no drinking or smoking.
-Can I go now?
I've literally never seen so many teenagers in one spot, in my life.
Suddenly, they've just gathered!
There's no cannabis in sight, but an older boy has bought Abi a bottle of vodka
and she wants to neck as much as she can before going into the gig, where she won't be able to drink.
Can you drink it straight out the bottle?
-It tastes a bit grim, to be honest, but I can do it.
-Is it worth it?
Yes, without a doubt, it's worth it.
What do you want out of tonight?
Tonight, I want to get as...
Have as much fun as possible and get fairly drunk,
because it's been a while.
I've had a break, I've been grounded, it's been a while. I want fun.
Grounding Abi doesn't seem to have taught her anything.
In fact, she's seems even more determined to have a blow-out.
THEY CALL OUT AND SWEAR
She's definitely off on one, isn't she?
Yeah, she doesn't know her limit, really, I don't think.
-Is that normal?
-Erm, that's quite about normal for her.
You're a fucking muppet, where the fuck are you?
DEAFENING ROCK MUSIC
The gig's in full swing, but the girls have been refused entry and I'm starting to wonder
what Lindsay would think if she knew that the ground rules were being flaunted.
-Are you worried about her finding out?
-Where the fuck is my phone?
No, well, yeah, but, you know.
Do you think she'll be cross?
-Of course she'll be cross. She's a bitch.
-Do you care?
No, well, yeah, I do care, because if I'm really, really drunk...
But mind you, I've got... two, three hours to sober up,
because they took my fucking alcohol,
so I really don't give a shit, because I'll be sober by then, with any luck.
Oh, my God, there's Kirsty.
JAMIE! Can I have a hug?
Who said my name?
Oh, it was Charlie. Fuck me!
So she's basically going to hang around outside
for three hours, on the streets, pissed.
The thought of Coco hanging around
in a busy town, completely wasted, for three hours on her own...
I'd want to lock her in a cupboard.
I'd agreed not to take sides, but it's proving increasingly difficult not to,
especially since the venue have called the police.
-Abi, are you all right?
-What's going on, mate?
-Can you just leave me, because if I get told off then my mum's going to kill me.
-I need to take some details off you first.
-No, you need to listen.
We've had a call from the club, because of concerns for your welfare,
so I need to get some details and get it sorted.
-I can't just leave you. You're underage and you've had a drink.
-No, I'm fine, don't ring my parents!
-I'm not going to ring your parents. Can you make sure someone picks her up?
No, don't be sorry, just trying to make sure you get home safe.
-Where the FUCK is my vodka?
-They took it away.
You WANKERS! I hate you. I hate you.
With Abi now unable to even stand up, I make the difficult decision to call Lindsay.
Hi, Lindsay, it's Cherry.
I thought I'd just call you. Things have gone a little bit pear shaped.
Abi's not in a good shape.
Abi, get in the car.
On one hand, I think, I think Abi's a teenager,
loads of the other kids are drinking and going wild and...that's what teenagers do,
but on the other hand, I feel frustrated,
because I think, "Abi, you know, this is your last chance.
"Your mum's trusted you to go out...
"..and you've really broken that trust tonight."
After seeing Abi rebel, I am really lost as to how us mums
can keep our kids on the straight and narrow, or if it's even possible.
Perhaps the only way to stop teens rebelling
is to trust our kids to make their own decisions, from day one.
Brighton, the home of all things eccentric and alternative.
It's a place where anything goes and no-one bats an eyelid.
I'm here to meet Kate Magic, a vegan food writer who tries to foster
a stress-free, happy home for her three boys.
Hello. Are you Kate?
Nice to meet you.
It's amazingly calm in your house this morning.
You've got three kids!
-How is that possible?
-It doesn't usually stay like this.
We just wake up naturally, usually around 9 o'clock.
They can just choose when they wake up?
It's really important to start the day without stress.
How have the kids responded to having a more relaxed morning and no alarm clocks?
Sometimes they're too relaxed!
They're really happy and so I have to work to try and get them to focus
and remember that there is stuff to do during the day,
because they wake up and every day's a holiday.
Ethan and Zac are allowed to wake up when they want to because mum Kate home schools them,
and under her ethos, the school day begins with the least stressful lesson - colouring in.
-So is this a normal typical day in your household?
-Yeah, this is how they usually start.
I think, if you said to them, let's do maths first, they'd probably be really resistant.
Do monkeys have whiskers or not?
I don't think so.
An estimated 50,000 British kids are home-schooled and it's becoming ever more popular.
In Kate's unique take on it, lessons include tidying their rooms
and washing up - chores which she sees as key to teaching self-discipline.
It's only in the afternoon that traditional learning begins.
But what's the number in category four?
So in total, every day, how much academic work do you think
they'd be able to really do, like properly focus on?
Their patience really wears thin after half an hour.
I can't really get much more than half an hour out of them,
then they need a break, something else, then come back to it.
Kate believes in kids' independence, and 13-year-old son Reuben is even allowed to manage his own education.
He's chosen to go to a self-learning college most mornings and spends
much of the rest of his time writing a sci-fi novel.
So how long is it at the moment?
-Umm, 95 pages.
"Something exploded, men dived to the ground, then jumped to their feet
"and started firing at an unseen enemy. Laser bolts flew off into the smoke.
"Someone cried out in pain, then another explosion went off, killing soldiers.
That's great. That's really good! Do you enjoy writing?
-Yeah, I'd like to get published one day.
I'm genuinely really, really impressed.
-I'd never... How old are you?
I'd never have been able to do this at 13, on my own. I'm so impressed.
There definitely is something to this independent learning.
Anyway, I love the outdoor gym.
This is absolutely the opposite of what my school life was like.
Right now, I'd have been in double French,
definitely wouldn't have been by the seaside.
After a blast of fresh air, I'm in need of a coffee.
Sadly, it's only healthy living wheatgrass on offer.
Urgh, that's really disgusting.
OK, ready, steady, go.
Urgh, that is so gross.
Eat the strawberry, the strawberry helps.
What was your education like?
I went to a private girl's school which was very strict and very, very academic.
At assembly, we had to all kneel down to check our skirts were regulation length.
We even had regulation knickers.
You had to wear grey knickers.
So even your pants had to be regulated?!
If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that,
then that is the education you need, but that's the minority, isn't it?
And, for anyone else, it was just really intense.
Do you worry that, although you're giving your kids these wonderful life skills,
the qualifications won't necessarily be there?
Are you worried that one day they'll come up against a brick wall where they need the qualifications?
No-one's ever asked me how many O-Levels I've got. It doesn't matter that I've
got a load, because it's never been something I've needed to use, so I don't feel its important for them.
I think the two most important things
are good manners and eating your vegetables, do you know what I mean?
To me that is the most important thing - that they're nice people.
Personally, there are some things I really love about Kate's parenting style.
I love that she's so close to her children and wants to be part of their lives and understand them.
'Maybe I'm a bit more traditional than I realise I am,'
because I think for me, Kate's parenting style
is a bit too alternative and wouldn't suit me, particularly.
Whenever I've been away from Coco, I'm desperate to give her a hug and kiss,
which makes coming home late hard to bear.
As much as I love wine, it is a poor substitute for a cuddle.
I mean, I don't want to say it to its face. I feel bad, but, yeah.
Mummy's little helper!
When I am with Coco, I always prioritise doing fun things together and keeping a smile on her face.
But if I want her to do well in the future, am I holding her back by not pushing her more?
I've come to the City of London to meet Emily Apple, a grade A motivated mum, who has
already mapped out her daughter's futures to the best universities and the best possible careers.
-Hi, Cherry, I'm Emily.
Nice to meet you.
-How competitive are you?
-I can't help but be competitive.
You want your child performing better than everybody else. I think it's a natural instinct.
Even if I think my child was born a week early and your child was born a week late,
so my child's two weeks older than yours, even at that stage, there's a comparison.
My child was crawling or was able to sit unaided at five months,
whereas Billy down the road, he was only seven months.
At every stage of a child's life, you can't help but look
at your peers and see what their child was doing at the same age.
I would be willing to trade some of their happiness for good grades.
'Wow, that's quite a confession,'
'but not that surprising considering her achievements.'
I went to Oxford University and studied maths.
-I actually got into Oxford when I was 16.
-Oh, my God! What?!
-Yeah, I peaked at 16!
That's amazing. When I was 16, I was trying to work out which one of Take That I really wanted to snog.
Oh, I did that, as well!
Emily is a force of nature. She is fiercely competitive and used to success and achievement.
The question I want to know is, how does Emily's children respond to that type of focus?
Is it a negative thing or is it productive?
It's Sunday and whilst five-year-old Yael is at a four-hour Hebrew class,
Emily's attentions are focussed on her 18-month-old daughter, Roni.
-What does a cow do?
Moo, very good.
'Already, she's able to complete puzzles
'and match animal noises to pictures.'
APPLAUSE AND CHEERS
I'm, literally, ridiculously impressed.
Coco would never have done that, in a million years.
How many times do you think she would have had to have done this before she gets to this level?
I've probably done it with her 15, 20 times.
I'm more impressed that she can match them together, because that took a bit of training.
What do you think drives you to be a hands-on mum?
Nobody gives you a tree diagram, when a child is born, of what to do to get them through various hoops,
to get them to whatever outcome you're aiming for.
My biggest worry is missing a step and that being really crucial.
Is it stressful?
Yeah, I try not to think about it too much.
Emily is so passionate about achievement that she's enrolling
five-year-old Yael on Kumon, extra curricular maths and English tutorial classes.
-I've come to her first assessment.
-Hello. Hi, how are you?
Nice to see you, and who are you?
-Nice to meet you. It's quite a significant thing you're doing.
Yeah, it's hardcore brain training, so I'm told,
so lets see what that's all about.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight...
In addition to her full-time school-work, Kumon will involve
two extra tutorials per week, as well as homework every single day.
..18, 19, 20.
Fantastic. What comes after 20?
21, 22, 23, 24...
It's quite a bit commitment, it's two classes a week and homework pretty much every day.
Are you prepared to make that kind of commitment?
Yeah, I want to do it straight away.
Give me the homework straight away, because I can only see the benefits.
Two plus one equals...
-What does it equal?
-Erm... I don't know.
-Yes, you do.
You hear so much this days about how hard it is to get a job, how hard it is to get anywhere in life, how,
with inflation going up and salaries not going up and life is really tough, and the more I hear this,
the more I want to give my daughter, as much as I possibly can, the very best grounding.
If she's a willing candidate, why not load it on? Bring it on, that really is my attitude.
Yael is one busy young girl, with ballet, swimming, Saturday and Sunday school,
as well as these new sessions of Kumon, and I wonder if there is literally enough time in each day.
Do you feel like the commitment Yael's going to make to Kumon
is a big sacrifice for her, is she going to miss out on other things?
I don't think so, I don't feel she's missing out.
I think she gets pleasure from doing that sort of task.
There are many hours in a day and to sit down for 10 or 15 minutes doing that is just 10 or 15 minutes
less time of her pottering about with her toys. It's not meaning she can't play until Sunday.
Emily is a self-confessed pushy mum.
My only worry is, later down the line, with such high expectations on
her children and herself, if things go wrong and they are not academic,
how are they going to cope with that pressure and how is she going to cope with them not making the grade?
I love Emily's dedication to her daughters and her competitive spirit has really rubbed off on me,
so if you can't beat 'em, you've got to join 'em.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
I'm quite passive but, when you meet another mum like Emily, you do start to worry - am I doing enough?
Am I being proactive enough? Is my child getting enough stimulation?
Are you ready for your exams now?
In Rugby, Lindsay and Abi's relationship is now at rock bottom
after she broke her promise not to get drunk at her gig on Friday.
Lindsay's decided to try a mediation session as a last resort to rebuild their relationship.
We're not on the best terms again, we're not even talking
and stuff like that, so I kind of regret getting so drunk,
but I had fun, so, you know, it happens.
I don't know how
really how to get past it. I'm so angry.
I don't know, I can't even trust her to leave the house.
All she cares about is herself and I don't know how you're meant to parent that, really.
It'd be really good for the purposes of this session if we can try and keep it quite positive.
Because I bet we could probably spend a couple of hours just moaning about each other.
-Do you actually want to get better at listening, would that be a good thing?
What about you, Lindsay?
It just goes back to the truth, doesn't it?
There's no point listening if you know what you're being told isn't the truth.
What did you say to me on Friday?
Can you not see why I'm so upset today?
You promised me so many things on Friday,
like you have done in the past, and you just threw it back at me
and I don't know how we're meant to move on from that.
I'm not going to do it again. I'm not stupid.
But I don't understand why you did it in the first place.
Because I'd been stuck in the house for two weeks.
I wanted to see my mates and have some fun, for a change.
But you didn't, did you? You were out for three hours and you got
so paralytic that I had to pick you up from the street.
I really seriously don't see the point of this.
I just want to go home and find myself somewhere else to live.
I'm sorry, I don't want to do this any more.
I found that incredibly difficult to watch
and I felt really upset for both Abi and Lindsay.
There's so much pain between them and, obviously,
it is hugely overwhelming for Lindsay.
Sometimes you just want to run away, don't you?
And sometimes that's a good thing to do.
Yeah, I just needed some space.
After 20 minutes, Lindsay's decided to give the session another shot.
Mum's in tears, you're fed up,
there's nothing to be said for this at all, is there?
But there's everything to play for, if you start to break these patterns of behaviour between you.
Apart from today, when was the last time you two got some time together to do something?
A while ago.
Yeah, it is really, isn't it?
If you could go and do something, what would you like to do?
To that tree top place, you know?
Oh, yeah, that'd be cool.
And how committed are you to making that happen?
Yeah, we can do that.
Get somebody to look after Luke.
It sounds to me like it would be really great for both of you to have some time together.
'I think one of the things that I've learnt is pick your battles.'
Yes, it's your duty as a parent to make sure they're safe,
but actually, if the relationship is not there, you can't discipline them.
Can I actually ask you to give each other a hug?
Lindsay and Abi clearly love each other
and I really hope that they stay dedicated to rebuilding the trust.
Hello! Hello, bubba!
Hello! Give Mummy a cuddle.
From meeting the mums, one of the things I've learnt is that motherhood isn't easy.
It is wonderful, but it is full of challenges.
I think part of the challenge of being a mum is that you love this little thing with all of your heart,
but at the same time, part of your job is to equip them to live their own life, to grow up,
to be independent, to have their own thoughts, and, in a way, that goes against
the really strong instinct of wanting to keep them close and protect them.
And I think that's a really tough challenge for a mum.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Cherry Healey may be a proud new mum, but she is facing a battle of wills with her daughter Coco. In this personal documentary, Cherry goes to meet other mums with very different parenting styles. From a pro-smacking strict parent to a super-liberal single mum, and from a mum who works all hours to buy her kids everything they want to a mother in crisis with her teenage daughter, Cherry finds out what being a mother is all about.