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Raising Children

TVNZ Heartland

Q & A with Jude Dobson

Jude Dobson

We caught up with the lovely Jude Dobson to talk about her new ‘baby’ Raising Children.  

Tell us a little about Raising Children.

In essence, it’s as close as you’ll get to a ‘recommended user’s guide’ to parenthood. Terrible expression as children are certainly not a piece of machinery they are all so wonderfully unique – but it struck me that it seemed really odd you got a “how best to operate” DVD with your new washing machine but there was no really good video material available for parenthood…and there’s a lot more at stake than a shrunken jumper or wrong spin speeds.


What did you enjoy most about making the show?

I have loved working with all the people, both crew and those in front of camera, who are keen to bring the vision to life. It’s been great to slip back into the presenter thing too – bit like riding a bike, and wearing a comfy old shoe… and in fact the bit of the job I find the easiest, having first done it over 25 years ago. Bit scary when I say that! I love interviewing people and finding out what makes them tick.


What was the motivation behind Raising Children?

Essentially to do my bit in a small corner of the world that might help children in NZ get off to a good start in life – by resourcing their parents. I started working life as a registered nurse at National Women’s Hospital in the postnatal wards and was intending to do my midwifery before I got side-tracked into telly. I recall at the time thinking there needed to be some sort of useful guide I could show a new mum on things like breastfeeding and how much sleep a baby needed. Later I became a parent myself and thought the same thing. After a few years presenting, I became a producer and set up my own production company. It was always my passion to bring those areas of my life together – medical, telly and parent and make something useful for other parents while working in with the agencies that help parents so it is reflective of ‘best practise’ and well researched so it’s trustworthy.


What do you hope parents will take away from the show?

The overarching notion that they are doing a really good job most probably and this will just reaffirm that and tell them why it’s so important! It’s an empowering, useful watch and I hope there are some good take home tips on subjects that most parents will have faced.


What was the best piece of advice you were given as a young mother?

‘This too shall pass’; Make dinner at the beginning of the day – or at least think about what you will make well before you need to; Don’t drive after 2pm if you’re trying to get them to drop the day time sleep as they will fall asleep, then they are up too late; Don’t worry so much about what they eat… and don’t fuss about the dummy either – never seen one at school.


And the worst?

Let your baby cry themselves to sleep. Load of rubbish and I ignored it. Although I did try it once or twice for a few minutes in moments of trying to harden up to say I had actually tried it, but it was not something I could do.


Is there anything that may surprise us?

The candid nature of our well known families.


What’s the best thing about being a parent?

It finds you out – it brings out the best and the worst in you – it exposes you fully. It can bring you immense joy and pride, yet sadness and grief too. I love seeing them blossom and become their own people, reach their goals and see them develop a bit of resilience as they ride the bumps on the way to getting there.


Don't miss Raising Children, Sundays at 10pm on Heartland.