Reflections usually happen around the start of the year which also coincides with my birthday – good timing! This year I’ve been focusing on what I want to be when I ‘grow up’. Contrary to what our kids and teens think, most of us adults are just winging it, and the decisions we make as seniors in high school rarely see us in the ‘career/job’ we thought we’d be in 30 years later. It’s important to keep reiterating this to your senior schoolers – it helps take the stress out of things that your decisions now, are it! They’re not. We get so many goes at creating our own lives and we get so many lives within our one life. As part of my work in the Aged Care Industry one thing that is common in across all conversations with 80 and 90 year olds is that we have so many different lives within our one life.
The good news is if you make bad choices in one part of your life, that doesn’t have to reflect in your next chapter. We get to decide. We get to make choices that change our ‘destinies’ and we get to create our own lives. Another amazing thing to teach our kids. Our choices, lead to consequences that create our life = awesome. One of my favourite sayings goes something like this “If you’re not happy where your life is, get up and change it. You’re not a tree!”. One bad choice may result in some pretty bad consequences but that doesn’t define who you are or who your teen is. Next choice can be better, and so on and so on. Same goes for us and our budgets.. just saying 🙂
But just like anything in life once you’ve made the choice to go in another direction, start a new career, start budgeting better, plan a holiday or whatever your new dream is you need to set yourself achievable and measurable goals. Teach your kids how to set goals. Maybe do some as a family this week before school goes back. Talk about what making the choice to achieve a particular goal will look like in the form of the consequences .. short and long term. And as always I promote doing vision boards. A page with pictures of your dreams on them… then setting your goals, mini and mega, on how you’re going to get there. Eg. Family holiday that will cost $10,000 in 18 months. Well that’s X amount per week we need to save, so in order to do that we will cut x from the budget, declutter our home together then hold a garage sale or Ebay to get rid of it and bring some extra cash into the home (or find extra work, or take on extra clients or shifts, or teens getting jobs or or or the possibilities are endless). Your life, your choices, your consequences remember 🙂
Since I was little I’ve wanted to be a writer. I still do. That hasn’t changed at all. So I write where I can. I get paid to write reports after my assessments. But ultimately my absolute passion is in researching and writing articles, ebooks and books that improve other people’s lives (usually because it improved mine first through learning the hard way). So with that in mind I’m still writing my blogs, I’m still promoting my book Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens and beginning my next one “How to raise independent, responsible and resilient humans’ (or something like that… haven’t got the exact title yet), and have another venture or two up my sleeve that I won’t jinx by talking about it before it happens. Stay tuned…..
It’s still the first week of January.. first week of the new year.. a clean slate still before us.. what choices will you and yours make this year that require goals to bring about the desired consequences that create the lives you want? Go for it.. you’re all worth it and what a great thing to role model to your kids and teens.
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The kids spoilt me as always for my birthday… all with their own money and minds. Miss 15 got me a massage voucher, Miss 14 a spa pedicure voucher, and Mr 9 a scented candle with diamonte heart band, and Choccies. We went to the movies to see Pitch Perfect 3 and then Chinese Banquet dinner nom nom nom. Have felt the love with all the texts, calls, and posts xo xo xo I’m 35..with a ‘few’ years experience 😉 Thank you for the love, I’ve definitely felt it.
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
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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.
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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?
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.
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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.