CityLife FEATURE STORY
National Spotlight on Outback Parenting
Images by Channel 9
Words by Stacey Carrick
The highly anticipated second season of Parental Guidance has hit our screens, this time featuring a Far North Queensland family.
Parental Guidance has captivated Australia once again and ignited nationwide conversations.
Building upon the phenomenal success of its first season, the show shines the spotlight on parenting – the world’s toughest gig.
In this fresh and thought-provoking series, parents with 12 remarkably distinctive methods and approaches to parenting take centre stage, including the ‘Outback’ family from Mareeba.
Guiding the families through the million-dollar question of “how should we raise our adults of the future?” are the returning dynamic duo: Ally Langdon, the esteemed host of A Current Affair, and Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s most trusted parenting experts.
This season will focus on raising children in the digital age, delving into topics such as the rise of influencer parenting and shedding light on the dark side of online gaming and the internet.
It will also explore the essentials of parenting in great depth, ranging from effectively managing tantrums and sibling rivalries to addressing bullying, discussing health education, and fostering a drive for success in children.
In this series, viewers will also have a unique opportunity to learn, reflect and even level up their own parenting skills as they watch the journey of these mothers and fathers when they undertake the greatest challenge of all under the gaze of an entire nation.
Our very own ‘Outback’ family encompasses Tency Tyler, 32, David Brennan, 39 and their three adventurous boys, Vance, 10, Wyatt, nine and Clancy, seven.
Tency, a stunt-double horse rider and business development coordinator, and David, a FIFO worker, embrace a rugged lifestyle as they raise their boys on a farm in Mareeba.
Their parenting approach allows the boys to engage in activities like shooting guns, riding horses and dirt bikes, and exploring unsupervised, where they learn important lessons through first-hand experiences.
Outback parenting emphasises respect, good manners and strict consequences for misbehaviour.
From a young age, the boys take on responsibilities and face the consequences of their actions, while also enjoying a significant amount of fun and freedom.
As soon as they can reach the pedals, the children are allowed to drive cars, fostering independence and practical life skills.
Tency and David prioritise their children’s development of essential life skills. They encourage hands-on learning, such as fixing motorbikes, feeding livestock and fishing at the river.
In certain situations, where a child’s safety is at stake and they refuse to listen, Tency and David resort to physical discipline, understanding that there are life-or-death moments that require immediate attention.
Parental Guidance is now showing on Channel 9 and 9Now
CityLife Magazine journalist Stacey Carrick caught up with the Outback family to gain an insight into their parenting style and experiences on the show.
What activities do the boys participate in on the farm and what age did they begin these activities?
Things the boys enjoy are driving, fishing, horse riding, motorbike riding, mustering, cattle processing and shooting, as well as just relaxing and watching a movie with mum and dad.
Ages for these activities change from child to child, but whenever we think they are ready for each new task or if they ask to try something.
How does learning these skills from a young age assist their independence and confidence?
We try to teach the kids a varying range of skills so they can work through life’s obstacles, they may not be an exact match to what they may come up against, but we are hoping that they can relate back to the wide variety of things they have learnt to get through whatever life throws at them. It helps them to understand right from wrong, risk and reward, consequences of our actions, how to treat people and how they want to be treated by others.
What are the values you instil in your boys and why?
The values we try to instil in our sons are respect for others, respect for your elders but above most, respect yourself. Meaning always be good to everyone around you, but if someone is giving you a hard time and is continually being disrespectful to you, do not tolerate that behaviour and respect yourself. Honesty is another huge value for our family, we need to be honest with them and we need our sons to be honest with us.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf was a story we used to bring up often when the boys were little fellas and we believe it has worked well.
What are your top parenting tips?
Teach your kids manners, teach them to be honest and respectful and not be bullies, but to not take crap from people who are bullies.
What responsibilities have they taken on, in the home and on the farm?
Responsibilities around the farm include helping to feed poddies, feeding horses, chickens and dogs, bringing the horses in for working or to take to their competitions, check fences, help fix broken equipment such as bikes or cars with dad, if they want to, they also help ploughing and slashing paddocks. House duties are helping with dishes and folding clothes as well as assisting with vacuuming. The boys love cooking themselves bacon and eggs or toasted sandwiches and crumbed steak for weekend lunches and on weekends enjoy bringing mum breakfast.
How do you balance discipline and tough love with freedom?
We like to explain to our boys what can happen before an activity is undertaken, the do’s, the don’ts and the potential consequences of being silly or doing the wrong thing, the boys are then given the reins as we trust in them that they have listened, understand and that their common sense is there.
Is living on the farm a dangerous lifestyle and how do you teach them the consequences of their actions?
Living on the farm there are always potential hazards, whether it be livestock, wildlife, machinery, the list goes on. These hazards can be fatal. As the boys have grown, they are aware of consequences and how to avoid bad situations, although accidents do happen. Also taking the time to sit down and explain how things work, sometimes learning by demonstration. Actions taken on the boys really depend on the individual situation. Boys will be boys and they need freedom to explore but if the boys were in a
hazardous situation and were told the severe consequences of bad actions and they still chose to follow through then we have no issues with giving them a good smack on the a***, then the discussion about the incident will take place.
What are the benefits of living on the farm versus living in the city?
We believe everyone has their own opinion and is entitled to their own opinion, but for us living on the land is the best place a child can really grow and learn in a variety of different ways. Understanding how to grow, gather and prepare food from scratch.
How would you describe the boys’ personalities and how proud of them are you?
Vance is very caring for his friends and family, can be quite the prankster, has a very active imagination and is very inventive. He shows love at every chance he can but will not back down if he believes in something or if wrong has been done against him.
Wyatt is a very ‘done by the book’ kind of person, his ducks are always in a row, he can be cheeky from time to time, but most of the time he is doing the best he can at whatever he is doing and making sure everyone is OK along the way, he cares for his gear and loves to save money.
Clancy is our little cheeky fella, he loves to have a cuddle, loves anything to do with trucks, trailers, four-wheel drives and cars, is very intelligent and quick-witted, his mum is his entire world.
We are extremely proud of all of our boys – every day we see them grow into young gentlemen, we try to teach them all we can, but at the same time we learn a lot about ourselves from them, we are thankful every day for every minute we
get to spend with them.
What are your goals and dreams for them for the future?
Our dream for the boys is that we can give them the tools they require to work hard and get where they want to be in life, that they put effort into everything they do, be a good human and to live their lives happy and how they want to do it, not how everyone else expects them to.
What was your experience like working on the show and how did you get involved?
We had a pleasant experience on Parental Guidance, the crew were so kind and all lovely people, Justin had a great deal of knowledge and Ally was so beautiful, Ally spoke with us off the stage as well and was such a laidback, friendly woman. We met some lovely families, learnt a lot about our own children and all round the experience was pleasant. We were approached on Instagram and asked to do an interview for the show.
Did you learn any tips from the other parents on the show?
With all the different families and the way they bring their children up, we learnt new parenting tricks but also learnt things we want to avoid.