Preschoolers with Jesse Griffin and Jackie van Beek

Jesse Griffin is an award-winning comedian and a sought-after comedy director, writer and actor. He is married to Jackie van Beek, an award-winning actress, writer and director, and together they’re mum and dad to June (7), Emmett (6) and Cassie (almost 3). Jesse put up his hand to answer these questions for Raising Children.

How has becoming a parent changed your life?

It has enriched my life beyond all measure. All those things you hear about your heart growing bigger and your capacity to love increasing - has been 100% true. Life suddenly made more sense after having a child. I felt quite a deep sense of purpose that I hadn't felt before kids - that I had become a Man and that I was doing what I'd been designed to do. A biological coin drop.

What do you love most about being a parent?

The random nature of the kids' minute to minute experience of life. The best days I have parenting are when I'm not sidetracked by other things and I can totally commit to being in the moment with the kids. Their mad little butterfly heads flitting around from thing to thing is a joy to immerse oneself in.

What do you like most about the preschool stage?

The emergence of their independence, their personality and especially their sense of humour. There is nothing cuter or sweeter than a three year-old pulling a gag on you. I love their mischievous minds, and the development of their self-awareness.

What are some of the challenges of the preschool stage and how do you deal with them?

The mood swings and high drama. Oh, the drama! Our three year-old is pretty stroppy and likes to throw her weight around a bit. This impacts on the two older kids in that they often feel like the little one gets everything her way. Even though we explain to them they were once like that too, it doesn't lessen their upset or hurt over a particular scenario. The three year-old is also quite demanding of our attention and distributing that evenly over the three kids can be a struggle.

What are your hopes and dreams for your children as they move forward in their lives?

That they are happy and fulfilled in whatever they choose to do. And that they have enough of a planet to enjoy for their lifetime and for those of their children and grandchildren

Why did you become involved in Raising Children and what do you like about the project?

We got involved because it's such a good resource and sounding board for parents of kids and babies. Normalising the experiences of child-rearing is vital - everyone goes through tough times adjusting to new things and when you're a parent, the new things don't stop!

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