Why it Helps to Think of Parenting as a Three-Wheeler: Part 1

Why it Helps to Think of Parenting as a Three-Wheeler: Part 1

Supporting people in their role as parents has been my job for more than 25 years, and I say this: if you’re not medically crazy, intellectually challenged or emotionally broken, it is within your ability be a good parent, maybe even an amazing parent. Really.

It’s not that parenting is easy. Not at all. I’m also not saying that most parents are doing well.

All I’m saying is that it can be done.

The problem is that life is changing so radically that today’s parents are less confident.

What worked for parents of earlier generations no longer provides clear answers to many of the parenting challenges of the 21st century. Nowadays, having your first baby often feels like being appointed to a key leadership position in a foreign company without previous experience, without a clear job description and with only the vast internet to guide you.

Having a basic framework is crucial because it gives people hope and direction.

It’s very reassuring to look at the big picture of what is expected, and think: “Hey, I’m actually not at square one at all! Look at me! I have this and that down already. I can do this!”

So, please allow me to break the role of a parent down for you and say this as a starting point:

All good parents have 3 things in common: they organize well, they teach well and they support well.

That’s why lately, I like to think of parenting as a three-wheeler. And, for fun, I’ve named the wheels.


There is simply too much information out there about parenting for one person to process in a lifetime.

But nowadays, whenever new information, a theory or research is brought to my attention, I look at it through the lens of how it may possibly help our Practica Parents in their roles as managers, teachers or supporters. Whatever doesn’t fit into this framework, simply doesn’t make the cut.

On the other hand, if something does pass the test, I know exactly where to file it for future reference.

You won’t believe the extent to which the three-wheeler metaphor uncomplicates things!

That’s why I believe it’s high time for me to share the idea with you and position my writing against this backdrop. That way, we will be on the same page and it will be easier to communicate.

I hope you find this as useful as I do.

*Note: This will be the first in a series of four short weekly posts, and I will be sharing handy facts and tips about “The Parent as Manager”, “The Parent as Teacher” and “The Parent as Supporter” as we move along. Please join me on the journey.

Written by Lizette van Huyssteen (Founder of the Practica Program and Head of the Practica Advisory Service)

Parents who know better, do better.