She’s a royal, but that doesn’t mean Kate Middleton automatically had everything figured out when it came to becoming a first-time mom. During a private round table discussion at the Mental Health in Education conference in London on Wednesday, February 12, the mother-of three candidly revealed she was “very naive as a parent” when she welcomed son Prince George, 5, in July 2013.
“When I first started out — and I’ve learned a lot in a short period of time working with organizations — I was very naive myself as a parent of really just how important particularly the early years are for children’s futures,” Kate, 37, said. “And how critical it is, everyone looking after children at a critical time, teachers, parents and everyone who’s caring for them, how important it is that we get it right. I didn’t know what some of the issues that perhaps we take for granted here as experts know about, but it’s being able to translate it to those who don’t have the training in a way that the points come across clearly.”
The royal — who also shares kids Princess Charlotte, 3, and Prince Louis, 10 months with husband Prince William — said she was interested in knowing if monitoring the mental health and well-being of a child was part of the current training for teachers. “I know from a parent’s perspective it’s certainly not discussed, the importance of childhood development, and I know that’s a different challenge,” she said on the panel. “But also the importance of relationship building, empathy and resilience can also be taught and monitored at home as well.”
Before leaving the conference, Kate gave a speech and explained that scientific research has proven that the first few years of a kid’s life are highly important in their development. “I look forward to hearing how your discussions will lead to proactive steps and to an evermore resounding commitment to mentally healthy schools, teachers and children,” she said.
Late last month, the Duke of Cambridge, 36, spoke during a discussion about mental health in London at the This Can Happen conference. At the time, he revealed that his work as an air ambulance pilot affected him and the job really began taking a toll on him after he became a father and “worked several times on traumatic jobs involving children.” He said, “The relation between the job and the personal life was what really took me over the edge. And I started feeling things that I’ve never felt before. And I got very sad and very down about this particular family.”
William added, “You start to take away bits of the job and keep them in your body. And of course, you don’t want to share with your loved ones because you just don’t want to bring that sort of stuff home.”
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