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“They are the most fun parents ever”: does ‘Bluey’ put mums and dads to shame?

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If your family is anything like mine (and many others across the globe), by now you’ll be completely hooked on the hilarious and extremely popular kids’ show Bluey. However, while the show holds a mirror to everyday family life, some busy and over-worked parents feel that it highlights the shortfalls of their own parenting styles.

Created by Joe Brumm, Bluey is about a family of four with a mum called Chilli, a dad named Bandit, and two young daughters, Bluey, 6, and Bingo, 4. It could be any family navigating the world of play, adventure and relationships – well, apart from the fact that they’re dogs. But this doesn’t stop them sharing familiar activities, playing fun games and dealing with the ups and downs of life’s many lessons.

The show is an absolute delight and hugely successful, however Chilli and Bandit’s attentive hands-on parenting left one parent feeling a little less than perfect. Turning to Mumsnet, the parent shared a light-hearted post about how the show makes them feel a little inadequate about their own parenting, which they describe as “semi-negligent”.

“How do they have the energy to play with their kids ALLLLL the time,” they posted. “All the kit. The little games. The fun ideas. I do play with my kids obviously but good grief. More than 10 minutes role play and I want to to gouge my eyes out.”

While the post is a humorous one, there is some truth to it. Bandit and Chilli encourage fantastic imaginary play, which includes a host of innovative games, many of which have been adapted by families everywhere. You only need to say the words ‘Keepy Uppy’, ‘Magic Xylophone’, ‘Hotels’ or ‘Taxi’ and parents will know exactly what you’re talking about.

Bandit and Chilli are open, imaginative and playful, with never-ending time and patience for their kids. Plus they successfully guide their kids through emotions, disappointments or issues family issues such as sibling squabbles. Sometimes, it can feel hard to keep up.

“I want to be them”

Other Mumsnet users agreed with the sentiment of the post. Everyone loves the show, some even more than their children. And many secretly wish that they too could be a bit more like Bandit and Chilli. As one viewer said, “They are the most fun parents ever.”

“Bluey is my absolute favourite but I do sometimes worry my kids are watching it thinking I wish my mum and dad were a bit more like that,” said one parent. Another said, “Bluey is fab but does make me feel like an inadequate parent.”

One parent found that the show had such a positive effect on their children, that they too wanted to be more like Bluey’s parents. “My kids have fought like cat and dog their whole lives (almost 6 and almost 5) despite me trying everything to get them to play nicely together,” they posted. “8 weeks after discovering Bluey it’s like we live in a different house! They’re actually nice to each other! And they can play co-operatively and solve their own disputes! I love it! Bandit and Chilli are awesome parents and I want to be them.”

How to be more like Bandit and Chilli

While some mum and dads feel they can’t compete, much has been written about the show’s magical effect on today’s parenting and what we, as parents, can learn from the show. On The Conversation, expert psychologists from the University of Queensland, Koa Whittingham, Amy Mitchell and Ben Mitchell discuss the many pearls of parenting wisdom that Bluey offers.

One aspect explored is about acting like the sort of parent you want to be, whether you feel like it or not.

“Bandit and Chilli frequently give a sigh and a skywards glance before playing yet another game of ‘hospitals’ or ‘hotels’ with their children – it is clear that it isn’t always easy for them – yet, being a fun and playful parent is clearly a core value for both of them,” they reported. “So they jump right in regardless.”

So while some of us may feel like we fall short in the Bluey parenting stakes, luckily we have the show to remind us about what’s important. And what’s most important is that we’re all doing our best and nobody’s perfect, even Bandit and Chilli – although most agree, these wonderful dog parents do come pretty close.

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