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By Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Learn to tame your anger, stop the guilt and reduce the stress – to raise calmer, happier children  

Sarah Ockwell-Smith is a mum of four teenagers. She initially trained in psychology and after the birth of her first child, she re-trained as an Antenatal Teacher and Doula. Sarah has worked with thousands of parents over the last 17 years, with a special interest in child sleep and behaviour. She has written 13 parenting books, which have been translated into over 30 different languages.

Sarah says: “Writing a guide to calm parenting is something that’s been brewing in the back of my mind for at least 10 years, but I didn’t feel I could do it justice until now. Why? Because, although I’m a so-called ‘parenting expert’, I was not a calm parent. I struggled hugely with anger outbursts and yelling. I yelled a lot.”

Sarah’s personal journey to calmer parenting started in earnest in the autumn of 2019 when she was diagnosed with cancer. Until then she was too busy to be ill. As she says: “I fought against my mind and my body, my doctors and my friends and family, as I tried to carry on as I had been, pushing the cancer to the back of my mind, focusing on everybody else’s needs and not my own.” As lockdown forced the whole world to stop and stay at home she came to her senses and realised that when it came to her own behaviour, something had to change.

Sarah’s latest book ‘How to be a Calm Parent’ combines professional experience with personal learnings, and today she shares her Key Takeaways with This Girl Is On Fire.


  • All parents deserve to be calmer, not just for their children’s sake, but for their own too, and beating yourself up and drowning in guilt when you lose your temper at your child helps nobody. Easier said than done though. Right?  
  • Why it is so hard to stay calm as a parent today and why there are so many obstacles in your way (in other words, it isn’t your fault you aren’t naturally calm).
  • Why breathing, yoga, massages, bubble baths and mindfulness are not the answer to becoming a calmer parent (and what really is). Thank goodness for this revelation! Realistically, we don’t have the time for this!

It doesn’t matter how old your children are, or how old you are. If you have children (or are thinking of having them), this will help! Lockdown has pushed our parenting patience to the absolute limits. So, let’s give ourselves a break and learn how to bring some calm to our parental lives.





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