Jeff Brazier has opened up on raising sons Bobby and Freddy since the death of Jade Goody [Getty]
When Jade Goody tragically died of cervical cancer in 2009 Jeff Brazier became single dad to their two sons Bobby and Freddy, who were just five and four.
And while the presenter – who has recently admitted he plans to propose to girlfriend of eight years Kate Dwyer – has faced challenges dealing with the resulting emotions and grief following the loss of the Big Brother star, he says he’s always stayed positive for the sake of the boys.
Jeff explains: “I’ve done parenting the hardest possible way I think you can do it. From the start, in that I didn’t have a successful relationship with Jade, there was some contention at times although gladly that didn’t last, and then doing it on your own.
“I don’t suppose really there is a tougher way of doing it. But I’ve never felt sorry for myself, because ultimately I’m still here and I’ve got my health and my two children – I love them and I’ll do anything for them so to know I’ve done it with a smile on my face, I’m really proud now.”
Jeff Brazier confessed bringing up his two sons alone has been ‘hard’ [Jeff Brazier Instagram ]
Speaking about how proud he is of his two sons, Jeff adds: “Their strength is what makes me most proud of them. To lose your mum at any age is devastating, but at the ages of 4 and 5, is traumatic, absolutely debilitating.
“But their strength and resilience and their ability to look after each other and their ability sometimes to look after me, these are products of suffering a traumatic loss, but they will use this as motivation and strength for their adult life and I see it all the time – it always makes me proud, but also sad – sad that they had to acquire that.
“I’d obviously prefer they had both dad and mum but we deal with the reality and the reality is they have extra tools and it will always put them in good stead in the future.”
Here are Jeff’s tips for communicating with your kids…
Jeff Brazier had two sons with Jade Goody before her tragic death in 2009 [Wenn]
Many parents, including Jeff, find dinner times a struggle from time to time.
Jeff, who is working on Dolmio Drama Free campaign, explains: “Many parents struggle with dinner times. We waste at least six days a year to the domestic drama of meal times and getting children to eat certain things. It’s something I’ve struggled with over the years, at the moment though they’re teenagers and it’s a case that they’re eating me out of house and home.
“They’re very active so I don’t mind – Fred does his boxing, Bobby is all over football and they both have a go on the punch bag that we have.”
Jeff Brazier appeared on Loose Women to discuss how he helps his sons cope with their grief [ITV]
The solution to family drama before dinner? Jeff recommends getting the kids involved.
He explains: “Freddy has always loved helping me, and they both help out in the kitchen. They’ll do anything you give them praise for, so saying that’s really amazing that you’ve helped make that – they just really respond to that.”
Jeff Brazier encourages sons Bobby and Freddy to sit down as a family at meal times [Instagram Jeff Brazier]
Jeff says: “What meal times promote for me is communication, and one of the biggest things that will strike a chord with most parents is our enemy these days is our children’s inability to communicate on account of their social media and screen time usage.
“So I’m aware of the fact that if I don’t make a point of banning the devices from the table and turning the TV off and making sure we have a conversation where we ask each other about our day, and what other people think and feel, then I would feel like I’ve let them down.
“Generally in your adult life, you either do exactly as your parents did, or the complete opposite and i feel like I’ve done many opposites, and meal time is one of them. I don’t know if we couldn’t afford a table, or we didn’t have a place big enough for one, but I remember as a kid we used to eat on our laps in front of the TV. In some respects that’s fine, but what it’s promoting is less conversation and more of a worship of the box.”
Freddy and Bobby were still very young when Jade passed away [Getty]
Jeff explains: “They learn from us. My kids are far from perfect – they’ll get away with whatever you allow them to get away with and if the boundaries aren’t consistent, which mine haven’t been in the past – I say this as someone who has really, really learnt over the years. I’ve bided my time and I know that if I’ve been consistent we’re in a really good phase.
“There’s one less person in some respect – I have to try and do everything at once. What it really encourages is that we grow together as the three of us. We have become something different to what we would have been if mum was here for sure, but that’s only a good thing. It’s a good thing that they’ll always be aware that dad needs a bit of help from us. Even when they were younger, I personally developed the ability to multi task.
*Jeff Brazier is taking part in the new Dolmio “No drama” campaign- which highlights how a family favourite like Spaghetti Bolognese can bring families together and help diffuse dinnertime dramas.