AD – Wild by Anette Demetriou and Dawn White

Growing up is tricky. Friendships are hard. Navigating social situations is a minefield. Especially when you’re three.

Three year olds are still learning how to be kind with their words and how to be inclusive. One day they will be devastated that X didn’t let them play their game. You’ll want to wrap them in cotton wool and stop the hurt. The next day they will tell you how they wouldn’t let Y join in and you will want the earth to swallow you up, mortified by their ability to be hurtful.

But you will remind yourself they are three. They are just beginning to get that sense of self and identity; knowing what they like, what makes them laugh, who makes them happy.

So how as a parent do you develop empathy, self-confidence and identity? How do you help three-year-olds become secure in who they are?

‘Wild’ by Annette Demetriou and Dawn White is a great start point. I’ve always found books the best way to open up discussion and the tale of Wolfie and Wilfie, who don’t conform to the pack mentality, does exactly that.

It’s never too early to explore the issue of peer pressure and ‘Wild’ does not shy away from the feelings associated with this. Fear. Intimidation. Anger. All these emotions are explored in a sensitive way but honest way. You are placed in Wolfie and Wilfie’s paws as the snarling pack close in on them, ridiculing their behaviour. You sense their fear as they are bullied and cajoled. You want to rescue them from the gang.

But ultimately you share in their victory as they stay true to their morals. They don’t bow down. They don’t compromise what they believe is right. And they come out on top.

And that’s my ultimate goal as a parent. To develop a kind, moral and mannerly young man who is comfortable in his own skin. At three, I’ve still got time on my side but thanks to Owlet Press for the chance to review this book and open up these conversations.

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