So you’ve got preteens or early teens. Congratulations, you’ve entered a fresh new chapter. (Some call it a fresh new hell! But it doesn’t have to be that way.) It should be an exciting relationship building time – fraught with challenges, conversations and collaborations.
When kids are under 10 and their behaviour is inappropriate we reprimand, discipline and when required punish. But as they get older how we treat them should change. Our relationship dynamics change and rightly so. We don’t want them to remain children we want them to grow into responsible and respectful young adults. Preteen and early teen parenting requires less to no discipline, and
more relationship building and communication – listening, a LOT, and using teachable moments to mentor, to guide and to provide insights
(which doesn’t mean there’s no phone confiscations, screen time modifications or increased chores at times – these can be great behaviour and attitude modifiers when a message isn’t getting through!).
Many will state they want more independence, great, that’s what you want for them too – help them gain this by giving them the independence to make their own breakfasts and lunches every day, the independence to contribute to the family by planning, cooking and cleaning up from a family dinner once a week, the independence to be doing their own washing, and the independence to go to the movies with friends without you (or whatever activity it is – within safe guidelines of course) using money they earned themselves from chores around the house.
In our home I look for teachable moments (okay so I don’t have to look they turn up every bloody day in a stack of different ways!) and address the real issues, the root causes and work from there. This is only possible by having open dialogue with them, keeping the lines of communication open, being in their lives, actively And setting a standard of respect in the home – respect for self plus respect for others.
If you find your preteen arguing back, this is a great sign that they trust you enough to dialogue with you (silence is never golden, silence is hard to break!). When it becomes an issue is when it’s done with disrespect. Teach them this. Teach them they can argue and disagree with anyone at anytime as long as they do it with respect and have done their research and can back themselves up with facts.
Remember especially preteen and teen girls have a host of self esteem and self confidence issues – help them improve their sense of self worth. Guard what they watch and listen to (and who). Affirmations and positive role models and influences. Encouragement from you – if you as their parent are not their greatest champion, you’re parenting all wrong.
And never be afraid to call in reinforcements. Parenting is not for the faint hearted – consult others – friends, psychologists, articles, coaches, other people of influence in your child’s life.
Seek to build relationship and use teachable moments, putting behind you the years of punishing and disciplining. Let them see you vulnerable and human. Say you’re sorry when you need to and be the type of person you want them to be. We teach people how to treat us, if you don’t like the way your preteen or teen is treating you, change how you respond and teach them how to treat you with respect.
And we do this by building relationships with them: discussions (where they’re allowed to disagree with you!), hugs, encouragement, building a family team environment, listening, loving unconditionally, expecting and setting respect as a standard, and being their greatest champion (when they KNOW you have their back you’ll have a different child on your hands).
You’ve got this xo
PS Have you joined our Facebook Group: HERE
Parents, don’t be afraid to be proud of your kids, and especially don’t be afraid to let them know just how proud of them you are. Not for what they do, but who they are. Teach them to be proud of themselves and even more important teach them to be proud of and for their friends and family.
I’m proud of you.
I’m proud when you give things a go, (regardless the result).
I’m proud when you stand up for yourself.
I’m proud when you stand up for others.
I’m proud when I hear you counselling/helping friends who are anxious, scared or worried.
I’m proud of you when you overcome fears and obstacles to achieve your goals.
I’m proud you set goals.
I’m proud you follow your passions, regardless of what others say.
I’m proud you know who you are and aren’t afraid to be exactly that, you.
I’m proud you rise above negativity and leave it behind.
I’m proud you choose to use humour, your brains and your heart.
I’m proud of your accomplishments because I know how hard you work to achieve them.
I’m proud when you are elected to school leaderships positions, but I’m more proud of you putting yourself out there, having initiative, being brave, giving it a go, and in one of your cases overcoming a fear of public speaking to do so. Regardless the result.
I’m proud when I get reports cards that state you are valued members of your class – not because of what a test tells us but because you volunteer to help, show respect to others, you step up, you show initiative, and you shine as YOU.
I’m proud when you get good grades because I know how hard you worked for them, and it gives you opportunities, now and in the future.
But most of all, I’m proud to be your mum, because you are you, a kind hearted human being with hope in your eyes, ambition in your bones and dreams in your hearts. You are you.
I am your biggest supporter. I will be proud of you all of your life, not for what you do but for who you are.
Parents, don’t be afraid to be proud of your kids, and especially don’t be afraid to let them know just how proud of them you are. Not for what they do, but who they are. (And definitely celebrate the successes and achievements too, they all combine to make them who they are). #proud #proudmum Teach them to be proud of themselves and their friends. Real self esteem. Real self confidence. Let’s build it together.
Teaching our kids to dream keeps us dreaming too.
Kit turned 15 last week. When she was four I took her, Charz, and my two nieces to Disney on Ice. There they fell in love with Disney and Kit was especially enamoured. I declared then that before they reached adulthood I’d take them to Disneyland.
Life happens. Time passes and before you know it your cute little 4 year old is 15 and in grade 10. Last year I decided WE WOULD make the family trip to Disneyland happen.
The video attached shows their reaction when we I ‘told’ them in my own way.
Fast forward to 2:07 for THE reaction. VIDEO HERE
Fourteen weeks on Tuesday we head to Los Angeles where that decade long dream will come true!
So how did we make it happen?
We had a dream.
We set goals. Me for the main budget and the kids have a goal each of $US500 to save for anything other than transport, accommodation, main meals and entry tickets they want. They are all well on target and Miss 15 has blown that goal out of the water and has moved on to saving for her car. Did I mention we leave in 14 weeks! OMG so excitement plus.
Teaching kids to dream, set goals and put plans in motion teaches them that they can do pretty much whatever they want in life WHEN they put in the hard work required and do the mind (mental) work required. We have this picture on the back of the toilet door:
Kids absorb far more than you realise. They are little sponges. Dan sees this every time he goes to the toilet. At footy training this week he quoted it back to me in the middle of an every day conversation. Don’t underestimate what a child with a dream can achieve when they are given the tools to set .an
d make plans.
Top tips on getting kids started on dreaming and setting goals:
1. Have them come up with something they would like to do.
2. Help them set goals/steps of how they’re going to get there.
3. Encourage them to get started actually DOING the steps required.
4. Place positive affirmations reinforcing their dream and their ability to achieve it around the house (Toilet door is perfect, captivated audience there).
4. Celebrate successes. And if they fall short, teach them to reflect on what went wrong, adjust goals and start DOING again.
5. Have them do a vision board..that’s another topic but is awesome. Have you got one? If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it! Just sayin…
This is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids, but also ourselves.
This isn’t just for teens, it’s for kindergarten right through primary school too.
Have you forgotten your dreams? Lead by example.
If you haven’t joined our Facebook Group then please do so and you can follow our families journey for the family trip of a lifetime HERE
I”m playing with changing our name to: Parenting Australia or Parenting with Mentor Mumma. Which do you prefer?
Some kids can’t wait to get back to school, some drag their feet but enjoy it and others suffer anxiety at the thought of anything new, especially back to school.
My master 8 was one such child. Those who know him are confused and shocked by this, but that’s what used to happen. Still does to a much lesser degree the older he gets. The past three years it’s been the start of any school year, footy season or ongoing event with his anxiety manifesting as acting out and and saying he hated whatever the event was!!!
So what did we do and what can you do?
1. It’s important to understand what your child is really saying. For Dan him saying “I hate footy I don’t want to play” (Despite being obsessed with it) for the days before season was him saying I’m scared of the unknown, I’m worried about *insert any number of things*. Before school started what he was really saying was “I’m worried about no knowing what to expect” etc. Once you know what their real fear is you can address it one issue at a time. If you can’t read them and aren’t sure, ask them in a non-confronting way.
2. Know what works with YOUR child. For Dan he doesn’t like talking about the issues so I made sure not to talk directly to him about whatever the upcoming event was, HOWEVER, his older sisters and I would make sure he could hear us when we were ‘talking’ about THEM going back to school (or soccer or Scouts or gymnastics) and how excited they were, we’d use key words that work with Dan such as ‘grown up’ ‘independent’ ‘big kids’ ‘other people feeling exactly the same’ etc. If your child is an avoider then avoid until the last minute, if your child does better with talking things through for days do that. What works for each child will be different. Find THEIR thing and meet them on their level, always with confidence. Often children will pick up on your anxieties and fears.
3. We started the back to school routine a week before they go back. They start going to bed at school night hours. They start making their lunches. They start discussing what they’ll make for school lunches etc. A few days before they wash their uniforms and we go shopping for what they want to make themselvs for lunches.
4. If possible have your child meet their new teacher before the school holidays and find out who is in there class they already know. For older kids talk to them about their entire grade being in exactly the same situation, feeling the same as they are.
5. Teens with anxiety can often be a symptom of something more serious such as nutrient deficiency like magnesium (google magnesium deficiencies, anxiety is one of the top symptoms). It can also be related to bullying, issues with friendships, fearing workload, feeling overwhelmed or ‘dumb’ or stressed about workload. The list is endless! This is where keeping communication lines open from a young age come in to their own. If you can’t get them to open up to you Headspace offers great counselling and you can also get them a mental health plan through your GP to talk to someone on a professional level. Whatever you do, don’t ignore their concerns.
Do you have any other tips you use that work?
Have you watched the movie Bad Moms yet? I absolutely love it. One of the premises is that if you give a child responsibility they will learn life skills, they will launch into responsible and grateful humans. And, school lunches and mornings will be so much easier for you! No more morning stress (well only the missing socks, the missing shoes, the lost hair bands etc etc etc until you get them to prepare EVERYTHING the night before).
Pics of Kit (aged 12 then) and Dan (aged 8) preparing food and doing the dishes because I can’t find the one of him as a preppie making his first ever school lunch like a big boy. He was so proud, I’m sure he grew ten foot that day.
Here’s some tips on how to make it happen for you and yours.
1. Even prep kids can make their own lunches, therefore any school student can! (If they’ve never done it before you will have to show them how for the first week or so, don’t do it for them, but supervise them doing it. Younger kids you will need to do the cutting of fruit and sandwiches but they can get it all ready).
2. They can only pack what you have put in the cupboard and fridge. Have the talk about nutritional needs, protein requirements etc.
3. Get them in the habit of putting freezer blocks in the freezer at night and lunch containers in the sink etc. Teach them to wash their lunchboxes out with disinfectant regularly.
4. Include them in the decision making process of what they would like you to get at shopping for THEIR lunches. When they pack their own and make decisions about what they’d like (with your guidance on nutritional requirements) then they’re more likely to eat their lunch.
What happens if they won’t make their own lunches?
I’ll give you one guess!
Under 9’s get a chunky, sandy, multigrain vegemite sandwich and piece of fruit. That’s it. But they also get to do chores when they get home. Do that for a few days and they’ll get the message.
Over 9’s get nothing. They’ll go hungry. Consequences for their laziness.
Hold to your expectations and they will rise to them. Most kids really enjoy it. Be warned when they are first learning it is messy, and it does take a few weeks for them not to need your help. Have patience. Help them clean up after themselves. Make it fun for them and you. If you’re resistant to them learning to make their own lunches ask yourself why and work on that.
For those with kids and teens not already making their own lunches you could start this week before school goes back.
You’ve got this. #lifeskills breed independence, confidence and responsibility which will become evident in the classroom and playground too. You’re both worth it.
One of the most important parts of 13 years of school is friendships. For some kids forming new friendships and maintaining them is easy. For others it’s a real struggle. Below are 3 practical things I’ve done in the past with my kids that have worked in finding new friends or meeting new class and/or team mates and further down are 10 things to teach your kids to maintain and build friendships.
Firstly though have you joined our Facebook group? IF not come join like minded parents here
If they struggle with meeting new friends here’s 3 practical things I’ve used in the past:
1. Set them daily challenges to meet new people and learn their names. Teach them how to ask questions and be genuinely interested in other people without seeming creepy or stalker.
2. Encourage them to invite other kids home on a regular basis or set up get togethers yourself with other parents. For teens encourage them to take an interest in other people, step outside of their comfort zone and invite people to hang out or do things.
3. Help them write affirmations to repeat twice a day that build their confidence, encourage their friendship making and improve their mental wellbeing.
Here are some tips to help your kids and teens build and maintain friendships
1. Teach them what friendship is by role modelling. Let them see you interacting with your friends. Let them see you laughing, crying, confiding, giving, receiving, listening and just being with your friends. Role modelling is the most powerful training tool.
2. Teach them about forgiveness, conflict resolution and identifying people with intentions that aren’t good for them (toxic people, people drawn to drama, ‘users’, etc). Friendships never go smoothly ever because we’re all human, teach them how to read situations, resolve them and be a good friend as well as expect their friends to do the same.
3. Teach them about being the kind of friend you want your friends to be. If friendship is not reciprocated after a semester then teach them about finding friends who complement them in life and vice versa, finding people who are real friends.
4. Teach them to be confident. Teach them about eye contact and body language. Teach them how to speak to others their age, people older and younger, those in authority and those who sit beside them in class. Teach them social skills.
5. Teach them when friendship fires happen, put water on it, not fuel! This will save them sooo many dramas in life. Dramas only happen when someone reacts or plays along, when ignored they fizzle out super fast. Teach them not to play the ‘blame game’ nor the ‘drama game’.
6. Teach them to include the ‘lonely’ children in the playground when they’re in primary, and in activities, conversations and events when they’re in highschool.
7. Teach them everyone has something to teach them in life – sometimes it’s what to aim for, sometimes it’s who we don’t want to be, sometimes it’s a lesson, sometimes it’s trivia, .. we can all learn something from everyone.
8. Teach them to respect others and themselves. If every person did this what an amazing world we would live in. Also teach them to set boundaries and when disrespected speak up.
9. Teach them ‘we teach people how to treat us’. If you don’t like the way people treat you, look at the messages you’re sending out and speak up for yourself.
10. Confidence is key. Confidence is crucial. Help your child grow in confidence.
The above photos are from my days in highschool. Met some amazing people in highschool that I’m still in contact with (Facebook has helped with that!). Others are of today’s friends and our crazy fun antics (I couldn’t put up the ones where we’re supporting each other through some of the hardest days of our lives, or ones where we’re just being in each others companies so the crazy ones it is … )
Oh and remember, “some people are for a season, some for a reason and others for a lifetime”. Don’t know who said that but I like it!
IF as a parent you find you don’t have many friends try some of the tips above.. we all need friends. Here’s to an amazing year ahead for you and yours.
The teen years can be the best of times and they can be the worst of times and often all in the same day.
Making the teen years a success for all begins when they’re under 10. Building relationships. Setting boundaries. Instilling respect, self confidence and boosting their self esteem while requiring them to move toward and embrace independence and responsibility. That’s another article.
This one is for those in the trenches, already surrounded by teens.
Five Tips to Peace with your teens:
1. Ensure their nutrient intake is appropriate. If they consume a lot of sugar their magnesium levels deplete and that’s when anxiety and depression kick in. (So many other nutrients and their deficiency signs covered in our book).
2. Give and expect respect.
3. Stop giving them everything they want. Make them earn them. That’s real life. Put responsibility onto their shoulders. Teaches them respect and gratitude, and the value of time and money.
4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Do fun things with them on a regular basis that they enjoy and they will open up to you.
5. Parenting now moves into more of a mentor role. Gone are the punishments and control, this is now a time for boundary teaching, goal setting, mentoring, advising, and preparing for adult life.
It’s at this stage of our lives we realise their childhoods are almost over.
We realise we have so much to teach them.
We start to realise we don’t know everything they need to know.
We want them to have all the tools to succeed.
We realise that the gap between what we teach at home and what they learn at school is vast.
That’s where my book Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens comes in.
I wrote it to fill in the gaps for our kids.. our teens, our almost adults.
The book has activities at the end of each of the 16 chapters that you and your family can use as discussion points to talk about the various topics in the book such as different types of employment, tax and savings, goal setting and conflict resolution, mortgages and rent, uni, tafe or work, Australian politics (the part where you teach them to critically think about things), compounding interest and 16 more chapters with hundreds of other tips and advice.
Books are 50% off until January 27th. Just $10. Grab a copy for your teen and family today HERE
Office supply shops are doing their biggest trade of the year. Shoe shops are inundated. Socks are flying off the racks. “omg what is that smell’ has been found, in the bottom of someone’s school back from 6 weeks ago! Yep, it’s the lead up to back to school which means just one more week of school holidays *insert sad face*.
Which brings me to my question, how many memories did you and yours create these holidays?
We created some big ones. Master 8’s first ever plane ride (which was part of a work junket). Kids spending time with one of the most amazeballs people in the world in Townsville. Checking out beaches, rock pools and anywhere to keep cool. Spending Christmas with my brother and his family at mums and her pool and ocean breezes! A midnight to 6am road trip to get to Mums! Lots of memories created. Most were free or very low cost. All included lots of laughs, jokes, fun and of course the occasional tired tanty (often by me!!). Then there were the high cost events we did that were great memory makers such as taking the kids to speedway for my birthday! A trip to the movies with recliner seats and all the bells and whistles, popcorn and treats. (Almost had to sell a kidney for that one!).
One of the big tricks I use to keeping costs down is at the start of each week or holiday I give the kids a lump sum of money, they can spend that any way they like but once it’s gone it’s gone. If there’s anything left over it’s theirs to spend. This is when you see them making smart choices, learning to budget and prioritise, and it saves me a small fortune. Highly recommend it. Eg when we went to Townsville for the week I paid for them to visit Magnetic Island and they had an additional $80 for the six days we were there for the movies, lunches, outings they’d do with Aunty Jarrxi. They all came home with money! Jax wondered why they were so grateful when she bought them all an ice-cream at the movies hehehe.
Memories are created from people who love each other spending time together doing things they enjoy. That’s what makes a great holiday and lifetime memories, not the cost. I hope whatever you did you enjoyed it and I”d love to hear what you did to create memories with yours these holidays. Still a week left to create more……
aka Jo xo
Farewell 2016 you mixed bag of emotions. Helloooooo 2017 you bright shiny blank canvas of hope.
We can all agree that 2016 brought some horrendous news. I personally had several friends who lost loved ones – children, adult children, parents and step parents. Those kinds of events break your heart repeatedly ad infinitum and there’s no recovery, there’s just learning to live with the pain. I had friends who had some horrendous diagnosis themselves which has required strength from them they never knew they possessed. Then of course there was the horrid news of so many celebrity deaths. And a host of other ‘bad/sad’ news from other friends and acquaintenances. Other friends had struggles to overcome. We stand with those we love, our hearts break with theirs yet life has to go on and that doesn’t diminish their pain, their experiences or their ongoing journeys.
So then on the other hand, having said the above, 2016 also held some amazingly awesome moments. For starters I wrote, published and sold my first book. V V exciting! My kids all excelled and put in 110% effort at school and life. I got to travel for work which is really one of my favourite ways to do it … the free way! AND it took me to one of the great loves of my lives place, three times!
And around the world amazing things also happened.
My top 5 are:
For more you can read a list of another 94 here at Quartz
As for 2017, it holds so much hope. It’s a blank canvas all set for you to create any way you want!
Have you set your goals yet? Have you done a vision board and got the family dreaming and setting goals?
I love the quote: “A dream without a goal is just a wish!”
As you farewell 2016 may you be surrounded by people you love. May your healing begin where needed. May you begin to dream for yourself. May your celebrations place 2016 in the past. And as you welcome 2017 May your families be blessed. May your goals be set. May you know peace, love, happiness and amazingly awesome adventures throughout the coming year. It’s yours to create.
And don’t forget to kick start 2017 by entering our competition to win a 2 night family getaway here
Farewell 2016. Welcome 2017 you shiny blank canvas of hope.