Mentor Mumma

29/12/2017

Mindful Parenting for 2018…

This photo was taken almost 40 years ago!  And when looking for a suitable photo for today’s blog on Mindful Parenting I came across it and thought it illustrates perfectly what I want to say today. The older child, is me.. almost 40 years ago! When I turned 21 my Dad said from now on you’ll find time goes so much faster. He was right. This parenting caper we think will never end when they’re toddlers and primary school kids, goes at lightning speed once they hit the teen years. For my parents they don’t just wonder where the 18 years of our childhoods went, but where that last 40 years went! And as our own kids near their teen years or enter them we begin to think have I taught them all they need to know, there’s still so much more they need to learn for the real world, have I prepared them enough.

 

In Australia we have 25% of our population living in poverty! (Oh wow this blog took a hard core turn! Did not see that coming!). The Poverty In Australia Report (2016) states that 17.4% of all children (under 18) were living in poverty in Australia in 2013-2014. For single parent homes that rose to 40%! And that was an increase from the 2003 to 2004 period! 

 

“More than 730,000 children live in poverty
(one child in six). In single-parent families,
four children in ten now live in poverty.
After 25 years of uninterrupted economic
growth, we can do better than this!”
David Morawetz, Australian Communities Foundation (Social Justice Fund)

One major way this stops and corrects itself is to break the cycle (you may have seen me use #breakthecycle a fair bit, it’s so close to my heart). And how do we do that?

It starts at home.  It starts with making different choices for ourselves and our kids. We can blame the education system all we like but the harsh truth is real life lessons should be learnt and taught at home. Sadly,  many adults do not know how to get themselves out of poverty or are unable to and therefore are unable to role model and teach this to their own kids. (Obviously I”m not talking about people with significant disabilities (mental or physical)).

HOW? – Mindful Parenting

Mindful parenting is the idea of raising your kids in a purposeful way. On top of all the extra curricular activities and being a ‘kid’, it’s about implementing things in the home that teach them life skills and more importantly money skills and strategies that will help them stay out of poverty.

What? Ten top mindful parenting tips to help your family #breakthecycle

  1. Teach them real life skills such as how to cook and make them responsible for planning, preparing, cooking and serving a  meal and cleaning up from it once a week (From 9 years onwards with lots of guidance and teaching from you to start with).
  2. Have them earn money from a young age and teach them the value of money. One of the things we do is when we go out for a day my kids buy their own lunches with money they’ve had to earn. This teaches them the value of hard work, the value of a dollar, the value of spending wisely, the value of saving so you can spend it in the future (and as they get older teaches them about saving so they can invest in the future). Find something for your family.
  3. Become financially literate. Teach your kids to budget. As they enter the teen years show them the household weekly and yearly budget and help them do the budget for the week/fortnight/month including the shopping list, shopping, paying the bills etc with your guidance. Help them set savings goals. As parents I highly recommend you read Scott Pape’s book “The Barefoot Investor”. I promise you will thank me.
  4. It will not kill your kids to do their own washing (after about age 9 – when they can reach the clothes line and washing machine). In fact it will teach them mum is not a maid, they are responsible for themselves, and a life skill. 
  5. Do your future son and/or daughter in laws and grand children a favour – teach your kids how to be great role models for their own future families with money, relationships, goal setting, dreaming, working hard and having purpose. For some of us we need to learn these skills ourselves. Education is not just 12 years it’s life long. Teach them to educate themselves – this is a vital life skill. Some kids don’t know how to research on line, show them, some kids don’t know how to get a book out of the library, show them….
  6. There are plenty of online financial courses you can do – everything from budgeting 101 to how to invest to make your money work for you. If you are Centrelink recipient with a little bit of income coming in from somewhere even cash in the hand jobs, the Benevolent Society has a great course which teaches you to budget, tips on savings and at the end of the 10 months the $500 they have had you save (which is surprisingly easy when shown how even though you think no way!) is matched by ANZ and you have $500 to spend on educational expenses.. well you spend your $500 and get $500 back!
  7. Mindful parent – it’s hard not to get lost in the busy-ness of everyday life with kids and teens, but a little planning at the start of the year can make all the difference. Think about the things you’d like your kids to learn this year and set about thinking of ways you can teach this to them. Just one example I hear so often is “the school holidays cost me a fortune!” well why not plan for next Christmas for the kids to be paying for their own outtings and fun by setting a boundary/purpose/goal that each child will try to earn X amount per month so by December 2018 school holidays they have enough to fund their own entertainment. This is obviously for kids over 9 (but many adaptions can be made for younger kids – perhaps they can fund their own treat at shopping etc), and there’s always room for parents to treat their kids to movies, bowling etc on top of what they pay for themselves. Find what works for you and yours around what you want to teach them. Another complaint I hear from parents of teens is the laziness issue – this is sometimes due to parents doing everything or most things for the teens. Just stop it and let them bare the consequences of their own actions or lack thereof. No one said parenting is easy in fact it’s 18 years of fun, laughter, love and adventures but also of guidance, role modelling, boundary setting, boundary relaxing, teaching, learning (them and us), advising and letting go so they can soar on their own.
  8. If you lack the information/tools/capacity to educate your kids in the ways of the real world and making money work for them, there are plenty of online resources to help. Libraries are full of books and magazines. Self education is possible – you don’t just owe it to your kids, but to yourself!
  9. When doing up the kids chore lists for the year, think about what it is you want each of them to learn. Not just the basic skill, but going above and beyond, taking pride in their work, the value of hard work and it paying off, being part of a family (we all live here we all help) etc. Our latest thing in this household is “Are you proud of the job you’ve just done?”. Especially with Master 9 and his sweeping skills. He has the ability to do a good job, he just often chooses not to do a job he’s proud of so for the past week or three when he finishes his chore I’ll ask him if he’s proud of his effort and the result? And I don’t ask in a condoning tone but a questioning one, getting him to evaluate himself. At the start, about nine times out of ten he’d say no and go back and redo it. He now does a better job and it’s only every so often he says no, most times he looks over his work, smiles and says yes. Of course if he says yes and I know he’s not and he’s done a crap job he gets to do it again AND another one and I tell him good try mate.
  10. Words – are extremely powerful in mindful parenting and in life. We become what we think and say we are. Help your kids and teens choose their words carefully. Redirect negative talk and thinking. Some of us might need to retrain ourselves in this regard. Regular routine dinner times with all the family are vital (this gets harder as teens start working outside the home but most nights can be sit down family meals with a bit of preparation and retraining the family, and while you’re all there this is where your mindful parenting comes into play – think about what you want to teach them for the week, weave it into conversations and teachable moments.

Your kids only get one childhood. it goes by so fast. My parents look at the above photo from almost 40 years ago and wonder where the years have gone, let alone the 18 or so we had as our childhoods. Parents, we’re all doing our best to make them memorable, but we also need to focus on making our kids childhoods and teen years purposeful and ready for real life so they can not just survive, but thrive. THIS is how we break the cycle, together.

Of course I can’t let the opportunity go without plugging my book “Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens” which may have some great information for parents too who perhaps had parents themselves who couldn’t pass a lot of real life skills and knowledge on to you. Sixteen chapters of guidance, advice and tips on succeeding in the real world. Only $10. If you know someone who’d benefit why not buy a copy and gift it to them, maybe even anonymously if you’re worried how they’ll react. TOGETHER we CAN break the cycle!

 

You may have also noticed a name change from Mentor Mumma to Parenting Australia. I felt the latter was more encompassing. If you haven’t joined our online group yet please do so HERE

Happy New Year. I have such a great feeling about 2018. Let’s make it fun and full of adventure for our kidlets and ourselves but most of all, let’s make it purposeful for them, and ourselves – we all deserve it. Together, we WILL break the cycle!

Love

Jo

08/08/2017

Senior school subject selection

Pele..success is based on doing what you love

Senior school subject selection is going on in a lot of homes across Australia at the moment. My miss 15 is in grade 10 and it’s that time of her school life. Is it causing your child anguish? You? I hope not.

Almost all of their schooling lives I’ve let the kids decide what THEY want to study and what extra-curricular activities they take part in (within reason otherwise Mr 9 would be doing 10 sports a week!). Senior school subject selection is no different. It’s her choice. And just as with anything choices bring consequences – good, bad and indifferent.

Education is very important in our home, because I know it gives options and opportunities. My main aim with their education has been to get them to a point where at the end of grade 12 they have a variety of choices and are not limited in what they want to do because of grades. We reward effort as much as grades because effort is what gets you places in life. Grades are what open doors. Other pathways offer different doors. I want my kids to have as many doors open to them as possible so THEY can choose – uni, tafe, workforce or a combination. But at least they’ll have choices.

This is where Senior subject selection comes in. Making the right choices and by right I mean the choices that help them reach their goals but also bring joy and fun along the way. One of my favourite quotes:

“Success is no accident. It is  hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, LOVE of what you are doing or learning to do”

Pele (Famous soccer player)

 

Now, having said that there are a myriad of ways to achieve their career paths these days and for kids who want a profession they’ll need university. However, even university has options these days. Currently Miss 15 is wanting to do be a Doctor of Medicine in the Army. Medicine these days is not dependent on an OP 1, although it helps. There are options but there are also pre-requisites which must be met. 

For kids who want to work in a trade, child care, hospitality etc etc etc there are apprenticeships, traineeships, TAFE and trade schools. Just so many options. 

Then there are those kids who will want to go straight into work. So many options there too – private sector, public service etc etc etc.

In my book, Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens there’s a chapter titled To Study or work, or both? In this chapter I talk about encouraging your kids to find their passions early on and try to make a career from that or with elements of it. Not every furniture making super star will want to be a carpenter, but it sure is a good place to start. 

So as you navigate these next few weeks encourage your kids to look at what they enjoy and what they’d like to spend their lives doing. Have them look at what they’re naturally good at – a great starting point for career decisions. Remind them that if they change their mind in two years time that’s okay, just as it is if they change their minds in 10 or 15 years time. Very few people stay with the same careers or jobs their whole working lives these days. You can change your mind at any time. You’re not a tree, you can uproot yourself and move and change jobs and careers. There are many many options and pathways to your chosen careers and jobs these days. But as always do your homework and know what they are. If going to Uni know what prerequisites are required. If going to TAFE know what is required. If going straight into the work force look for work experience in areas that enhance their employability. 

I’ll leave you with the advice I gave my Miss 15:

Choose the subjects you NEED to do,

then make the rest of your subjects ones that are fun for you”

So now she’s busy working out what she really needs and it seems although she needs Chemistry for some Universities, there is the option to do it as a 4 week course at the end of grade 11 or 12, and have that counted. Meaning she can do her beloved Drama class for senior years. Everyone wins. There are options. Dare to dream kids, the world is your oyster. What options are you giving yourself?

Have a great week and happy subject selecting. Would love to know what your grade 10’ers are currently considering for their future selves (how many of us actually ended up doing what we initially set out to do..very few I imagine, and such is the fun and adventurous rollercoaster that is life).

You can pick up a copy of my hard copy book here

Jo xo

 

22/03/2017

Parenting early teens: Relationship Vs Discipline

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!).

HOW?

 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

Love,

Jo

Mentor Mumma

PS Have you joined our Facebook Group: HERE

 

 

 

20/02/2017

Proud! And you should be too…

Dear kidlets,

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.

Love,

Mentor Mumma,

aka Jo.

05/02/2017

Let’s teach our kids to dream…

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?

Love
Mentor Mumma
aka Jo

15/01/2017

Back to School Lunches

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.

respons

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.

Love
Mentor Mumma
aka Jo

13/01/2017

Want your teen to level up this year?

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

12/01/2017

How many did you create?

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……

Mentor Mumma
aka Jo xo