Real Life

Jude Dobson - Helping parents

The TV presenter is guiding other parents through times of change

By Aroha Awarau
Media personality Jude Dobson's three children are used to seeing their mother in different guises – as a TV presenter, producer and an NZ Women's Weekly columnist. But the funniest is as a beauty queen.
A recent TV rerun of the 1988 Miss Universe New Zealand pageant had Ella (18), Jack (14) and Rosie (10) in fits of laughter when they saw their mum parading around in a bikini, vying for the crown.
"It was hilarious," says Jude, who came fourth to the winner, Lana Coc-Kroft.
"They wondered why anyone would want to compete to win such crap prizes. I had to remind them that it was the 80s!"
These precious moments remind Jude how lucky she is to spend quality time with her family, especially since she's been busy for the last two years producing a TV show and DVD.
Titled Raising Children in New Zealand, the educational resource covers all aspects of bringing up young ones, from birth to the age of three.
Despite the project focusing on babies, the 46-year-old says it's her children's older years she is enjoying the most.
"You start with a baby that's dependent, and end up with an 18-year-old who's independent."
"When they are babies, you do the talking. When they grow up, it's learning to zip it and let them know you're listening."
Jude hopes to produce a second series, focusing on children from three to 12, and would eventually love to film a segment dealing with teens. And as her own "babies" grow up, she's preparing for the next stage, when eldest daughter Ella heads to university next year.
"I appreciate the relationship with my children. I'm all too aware they are growing up so quickly. I'm going to make sure I'm here to support whatever my children choose to do. It's an interesting age," Jude says.
She also loves being part of a TV show which helps parents raise their children. An updated DVD is due to be released next month, and copies are being given to all first-time parents, through Plunket and Tamariki Ora providers.
The former nurse adds being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs she's ever had.
"My kids challenge me every day, and I think that's a healthy thing," Jude says.
"It brings the best out of you. If they know there is someone out there that will always be in their corner, then you have done your job"
Visit the websiteraisingchildren.org.nz to view clips, buy the DVD, or for more information on bringing up your own family.

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