Archive for June, 2014

Healthy chocolates 125 ml each – coconut oil, cocoa butter, nut butter (optional) 30 ml raw cacao 62.5 ml honey and/or xylitol to taste 5 ml vanilla Method
  • Melt all the ingredients in a double boiler
  • Pour in mould
  • Drop some coconut, nuts or caramel in the centre of each mould.
  • Pop in the fridge until firm!
  • Enjoy!
Caramel recipe 375 ml of coconut cream/coconut milk or cream 30 ml butter 125 ml  honey Method Boil all the ingredients together on low heat for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally  
Here are some lovely holiday ideas from my wonderful daughter in-law Geneva: “I find the kids need to know what they can expect of me in long holidays. I make them tokens. For example: 2 X TV slots, 3X games with mom, 2 X book tokens, maybe a baking token or a craft token. This way the kids can hand me the token when they want to do something-the rest of the time they must entertain themselves (and not drive me crazy asking to do things all day long). Also, during days off from school, I give them extra chores-after which they really seem to enjoy their play time more. This is a great cure for boredom!” Travel Charts Draw a square with four smiley faces in it for every hour you will be travelling. Break the trip down into 15 minute segments. For each 15 minutes they are nice to each other or entertain themselves, they receive a gold star on the smiley face (or just a tick). For every star, they receive, (for instance), 25c to spend on holiday. If they get ALL four in that one hour, you give them a bonus (a few cents extra) The benefits: • They receive encouragement every 12 minutes. • They have an obtainable goal. • They don’t need to keep asking, “Are we there yet?” • They have their own hard-earned money to spend on holiday!
The first step in being a good father is simply showing up. – Unknown. Children like to feel that you are there, not just in body. Engage in conversation, have some fun, share in their highs and lows of the day. If it feels awkward, ask their mother what they are interested in or what they enjoy doing and begin there. If you have a special television programme you would like to watch or need to catch up on computer time, then fill their love tanks and give them quality time before you start. One man related this story; When my dad was watching his favourite sport on television I would walk up to him and gently touch his shoulder. My dad would not only turn and look at me, he would first grab for the remote and put the television off. I would always get his complete, undivided attention. It made me feel really special. If you are one of those people that first need to chill for 10 minutes before you can take on the task of being a father, then read this story: When my dad came home in the evenings, he always needed a few minutes alone after a hard day. Mom made sure that we respected that. We would hide around the corner, peeping. Dad would sit on the same chair and read his newspaper while we silently waited. Then, when he “rustled“ his paper it was our queue to run and dive onto his lap and we would be tickled till the tears ran down our cheeks. Then we had his full attention. Promises Never make a promise you cannot keep. Be a man of your word so your children can learn to trust you and so that they can grow up to be adults with integrity. Rather say something like, “I will think about it,” or “maybe” before you answer, but if you commit to something, make it a priority to stick to it. Children do not even necessarily remember the event, but the disappointment is engraved in their heart. Don’t make a promise when you are in Joy. Don’t reply when you are Sad. Don’t take decisions when you are Angry. Think Twice, Act Wise. – Unknown. High expectations Keep your expectations reasonable. When they feel they can never live up to your standards, or ever feel good enough, they will constantly be looking for approval around every corner as adults. Their character is more important than their achievements. Your words Think before you speak. Let the words that come out of your mouth be that of a mentor combined with encouragement and praise. Children crave approval from their daddies, no matter how old they are. Think for a moment about your relationship with your father. What do you wish could have been different? What would you like to emulate? Date nights Dad’s relationships with their children are so important. Dad, if you want your daughter to choose a husband like you, you need to set an example of what she must look out for. The way you treat her is the standard she will be setting for the way her boyfriends should treat her. When a child does not feel loved by their daddy, they go out looking for it elsewhere. If your daughter is around 11 years old, it is a good time to take her on a proper date night. Have her mom buy her a special outfit for the evening and pick up some flowers on the way home. Take her to a special restaurant, open her door for her and pull out her chair. Teach her good etiquette with utensils and napkins. Show her how she deserves to be treated. Maybe buy a little bracelet or ornament to remember the evening by. Talk about it periodically, reminding her of what a great evening it was. Valentines day could maybe be a standard yearly date with dad and his daughter? Camp out With your young teenage son, have a guy’s cook out or camp out with other dads and their sons. Sit around the campfire and discuss the importance of how girls should be treated and their responsibilities as the male. Have each dad say what he appreciates about each boy present. Keep in mind that the way you treat your children is the standard they measure others by. The chances are your daughter might choose to marry someone very much like you. How would you feel about that?
There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet.” William F. Halsey It has become more and more common for mom’s to take on the mother and father role. Besides the high divorce rate, fathers are often away as it is sometimes more financially beneficial to do so, than to be working from home. Sometimes even the moms have to travel too. A child could be acting out as a result of feeling like the father is absent, often away from home, or not taking the rightful place as head of the home. My friend was shocked when her husband came home from a business trip and her young son said, “Look mommy, that uncle has come to visit againHere are some dynamics to watch out for when dad travels often: • Mom struggles to share the responsibilities once dad is home. She has had to cope making all the decisions and being in control of the running of the house and single handedly coping with the discipline. On dad’s return, it becomes a mind-shift to adapt to the different roles again. • Dad feels guilty and wants to compensate for being away so tends to indulge the children. • Mom has ‘had enough’ and wants to hand over the responsibilities and have a break, while dad has preconceived ideas of ‘resting’ because he ‘has been working so hard’. And so the clash begins. • Dad comes home bearing gifts, and mom is seen as the ogre. • Mom allows children to sleep in her bed while dad is gone. They are chased out on his return and he becomes the ogre. Unless these issues are raised and discussed ahead of time, conflict can arise. The excitement and anticipation of his return can become a disaster with unmet expectations causing a blow up. Set up clear agreements of who is responsible for what in dad’s absence as well as when dad returns. Try to resume the same routine every time dad is home. Discuss issues and routines like: • Does dad do the bathing every night? • Does he take the children to school? • Does he help with cooking? • Who takes over paying the accounts, • Is the role of disciplinarian shared? When boundaries are established, then there is less chance for unmet expectations, which lead to disappointments and stress. The goal should always be to create “Peace in the Home” How to keep in touch Skype sessions are a great way to stay connected and be remembered. If your children are still under 8, you can tell them adventure stories on Skype instead of just asking, “how was your day?” It could be an adventure story that you make up as you go, with interesting events that could carry over to the next time so that they wait in anticipation for your next call. Or, remember an event they shared with you, like their friend’s dog that died, and ask them about it. With older children, show an interest in their hobbies or sports. You could ask questions like, “What was your highlight and lowlight this week?” “What was the best meal mommy made this week?” Also with the younger ones, you can record something before you leave. Whether it be a story that you have read or a message that you want them to listen to. They will enjoy hearing your voice. A count down calendar, like an event calendar, will help them look forward to the day you come home, with excitement. Resist the temptation to come home with presents as you walk in the door. Otherwise the tune you will hear is “What did you buy me?” instead of, “Hello dad!” Try not to over compensate because of your absence but rather step right up to the plate of being the parent in the house and insist on first time obedience and respect. Do not hesitate to dish out a consequence when necessary, then you can enjoy the rest of your time together. Otherwise they know they can get away with murder as soon as you arrive home. This can be extremely frustrating for your wife as she has had to handle the disciplining on her own and it then seems as if you are the friend and she is the “meany”. Let the children realize that you missed your wife as much as you missed them – this will give them a sense of security. “Remember to be nice to your children because they are the ones that choose your old age home one day” – Anon
Dads play such a significant role in the family unit, even though sometimes it feels like the family would do just fine without him – as long as they have his credit card! It is not an easy task to be a father; juggling work pressures, financial stress, being a good husband and a role model for your children. It is quite ironic that just as a father is climbing the corporate ladder, his children are reaching adolescence and maybe his wife, menopause! No wonder there is chaos in the home. “The act of compassion begins with full attention, just as rapport does. You have to really see the person. If you see the person, then naturally, empathy arises. If you tune into the other person, you feel with them. If empathy arises, and if that person is in dire need, then empathetic concern can come. You want to help them, and then that begins a compassionate act. So I’d say that compassion begins with attention.” ~Daniel Goleman One father told me of how he would come home with the workload on his shoulders, but he had a little routine. As he pulled up into the driveway, he would look into the windows of his home and say to himself, “The people in that house love and need me and they are the reason I go to work “, and so he would take a deep breath, walk up to the door, ‘put’ his work troubles into the mailbox and march in with a smile on his face. When he left in the morning he would ‘take’ them out again. When we seek out the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.

 William Arthur Ward Generally speaking, men cope better with work stress and women cope better with household stress. But these days there are more and more full-time working moms that have to cope with both. However, the last thing anyone wants to hear as they walk in the door exhausted, is, “I have had it! Its your turn to take the kids – they are driving me mad!” This is where teamwork is needed. Invest some time in date nights to keep your relationship strong. The best gift you can give your children is to love your wife. One dad told me he would phone home and ask his wife on score of 1-10 how bad her day was. They would compare notes and decide who’s day was worse. That one would then have a few minutes to themselves to re-energize before joining in and helping with the household demands and/or chores. When mom/dad arrives home, it could be an appropriate time to make use of Chill Time (from A Brand-New Child in 5 Easy Steps by Andalene Salvesen) so that the two of you can have a few minutes of silence to enable you to catch up. Often communication over a quiet cup of coffee should sort out what each one’s expectations of each other are when suicide hour begins. Try not to make assumptions, rather clarify. In most homes I go into the husband enjoys bathing the younger kids while mom cooks, but sometimes the dads prefer to be involved behind the stove. It is also great to include the older children to teach them how to cook. Then maybe later, they can be responsible for one meal a week? If you are divorced, show honour and respect towards her in front of your children as she is the mother of your children. The divorced homes that I have visited where the parents make the effort to have an amicable relationship, really shows in the happiness of the children. Sadly television shows often portray men as spineless beings with no original thought in their heads. Children that are exposed regularly to these sitcoms develop a warped sense of the role a father should play. Building relationship with your children is essential for their future wellbeing on so many levels. One year, with Mother’s Day approaching, someone at Hallmark had a brilliant idea to let inmates send cards to their mothers. They were inundated with requests for cards. Sadly when Father’s Day approached, the response was quite the opposite. How sad is that? The footsteps a child follows are most likely to be the ones his parents thought they covered up – Unknown. There are some things that are just not the same when coming from a mother: • Playing rough, like pillow fights, wrestling (very good for testosterone levels) • Taking risks together • Bringing out a girl’s femininity • Modeling to a boy his masculinity • Showing boys how to treat woman with respect • Showing girls how they should be treated by other males • Teaching them how to accept and give compliments • Teaching them to work with their finances • Teaching them to take responsibility for their actions • Modeling how to apologise • Modeling good work ethics • Listening to, being understanding and not necessarily fixing a problem • Believing in your child and their abilities • Being a loving caring dad that is relational • Preparing them to be a good daddy one day • Shaping their hearts • Showing unconditional love • Setting fair predictable boundaries • Mentoring them in areas of their child’s interest • Encouraging independence • Providing financial security
Lovingly known as Super Granny, Andalene Salvesen travels the world as a speaker and parenting coach. She was the owner and principal of a school in Cape Town for 8 years. Being mostly a stay-at-home mom, with a passion for children, she compiled a parenting seminar combining extensive knowledge and valuable experience. She has been presenting this course for nearly two decades in a variety of venues and locations. For the past decade she has also helped families by coaching them through common parenting challenges such as healthy boundaries, tantrums, sleeping, eating, discipline, sibling rivalry and much more, in the privacy of their own homes. Munchkins is a powerful resource to assist you with every step of the parenting journey. We believe in empowering parents with the right tools to transform family dynamics and offer a range of practical solutions for your family. This includes providing parenting talks, home visits, healthy lunchbox sessions and online parenting courses with simple and easy to apply advice for all ages. Find out more about us at www.munchkins.me
Dr James Dobson says God gave you a child for 12 years to learn to love him before he turns into a teenager. Well, there are a few things one can do to stay connected with your teenager. It is important to recognize the changes not only in their bodies, but also in their needs as they grow. They need to be treated as miniature adults and with the same respect you would like to receive. The best way to bond with your teenager is to have fun. Find out what appeals to your child. Here are some suggestions you can try: Cook together My daughter once said, “mom, you’re so lucky, you get to cook what you feel like eating every night”. Why not let your teenager choose the meal once a week, but then you cook together. I found that my teenagers developed a love for cooking this way (and today their spouses thank me!!!) Teaching them to make a perfect white sauce is very handy for all types of meals – macaroni cheese, sauces for veggies etc. Or let them be in charge of baking or making the dessert. Meal times are a great way of including children in the chores. Each child could have a turn helping with making dinner then when they are old enough, they could be responsible for one meal a week. They need to preplan the menu though to ensure that mom has had enough time to have the ingredients available on that night. Encourage them to try new recipes out of a recipe book or searching on the Internet. If they are being irresponsible with this chore, then mom and dad could take that night to eat out but take the amount that it cost, out of his pocket money. I am sure the next week he would be very eager to take his turn to cook. Play board games once a week Some teenagers enjoy something challenging like chess, while others would enjoy fun ones like Cranium or card games. Discuss ways of earning money What about bottling home made gingerbeer, making homemade fudge or brownies to sell at school, or to the tuck shop? What about a business where they feed the animals or water the indoor and outdoor plants of people that goes on long holidays? Surf the net together and work out a strategy. Exercise
  • Most teenagers are concerned about their weight. A nice long walk or bike ride can be a great opportunity to bond. Shop together for the appropriate clothes and make it a regular outing.
  • Play a sport together, like squash, tennis, even darts or table tennis for the not so energetic. If you’re not much of an athletic type, try researching the sport your child is interested in.
  • Find out about the icons in that sport or interesting information and facts. If your child is interest in for instance golf, find some online tips to improve his swing or offer to drive the golf cart, or watch him play tennis and go for a milkshake afterwards. This is where conversations grow organically.
Chit chat Casual talk is the best. Not probing or judging. Just chatting. Take out some old families pictures and reminisce about fun holidays.Is there anything in particular your child has an interest in? Try and find out more. Google it and share your findings. Even if you don’t totally agree, try and see it from his perspective. There are ways of discussing matters of interest without having to agree or condone these things. If you battle in this area, you may want to learn some listening techniques before you venture onto a touchy topic. Home Movie Night  Have a surprise home movie night – in the middle of the week! With popcorn popping without the lid! Add double thick homemade milkshakes to that, and you have a winner! Window shopping can be a lot of fun This can be used to have those “wouldn’t it be nice if we had one of those” moments. This way they can see that you also want things you can’t have. This is especially nice when it ends with a pizza! Or, let your teenager take YOU shopping. You don’t have to spend a cent. Just let her choose clothes for you to try on, have a make-over at the make up counter and some different perfume. Try on hats, shoes, a bag – whatever! See what she thinks would look nice on you. Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised. Try suggesting different occasions to dress for. Then, swop around and give her a turn. Do you have a lot to do tonight?
  • Does your teenager have a messy room? Make a deal.
  • Work together helping each other instead of each one with his or her own task. It goes much faster if you have someone to talk to and make it fun. The time will just fly by.
  • Meal times are a great way of including children in the chores.
  • Each child could have a turn helping with making dinner then when they are old enough, they could be responsible for one meal a week.
  • They need to preplan the menu though to ensure that mom has had enough time to have the ingredients available on that night.
  • Encourage them to try new recipes out of a recipe book or searching on the Internet.
Family Outings At this age they love to belong to a group or a club. Make sure that your family is the ‘group’ they enjoy spending time with. Occasionally a friend can come along, but try and also have fun time where it is only the family. Consider suggestions from each child as to what to do or where to go. Build memories. Laugh together. Create albums of these special times and keep souvenirs. Family time could be spending a night at home going through family albums and sharing stories or relating the birth experience. It could be a candle light dinner with a time to affirm each other. Each person has the opportunity to be still and listen to others’ affirmation, then it is the next ones turn to be affirmed.
Wisdom chooses now what it will be satisfied with later on.” Joyce Meyer Many adults do not realize that an adolescent’s FRONTAL LOBE is only fully developed somewhere between 18 and 25 years of age. They are not yet capable of making totally wise decisions. Their ability to reason is not fully developed. When alcohol is abused, that same part of the brain is affected, which is why they think they are capable of driving when everyone around them can see they are not. So when your teenager looks at you as if you are from mars, visualize a huge “L” on his forehead and say to yourself “Frontal lobe – underdeveloped.” This will help you to understand what you can or cannot expect from them. When they say things like “I hate you”. Be sure to find ways of reassuring them that you will always love them regardless of what they do or say. However, you cannot allow the bad language, behavior, reactions etc. to continue. Common Issues and Frustrations Invariably there are common issues that parents of teens encounter and find challenging. I will deal with some of these and suggestions on how to ride the temporary storm. Trust Avoid falling into the trap of “You don’t trust me!” Keep in mind that this discussion should be handled very calmly. Remind him that you trust him, but that in however many years he has been alive, it has not given him enough wisdom to make all his decisions. Wisdom is experience mixed with knowledge.
  • Until he has sufficient of both, he will have to be cross-questioned and ‘controlled’ by you and answer all the necessary questions.
  • Trust is earned. I
  • try explaining it to young adults by using the analogy of a bank account.
  • I tell them that a bank account has to have money in it before you can withdraw from it.
  • Trust happens much the same way. If they want to be trusted, they have to earn it; build on it so that at the appropriate time a withdrawal can be made.
  • The difference is that with a trust account, one lie usually wipes out the account and they have to start depositing again.
Fighting in the Car Suggest that they have 2 minutes to resolve the issue between themselves otherwise you will be forced to intervene.
  • Then, simply pull the car over and wait till they finish.
  • You could charge them an amount off their pocket money for every minute they waste of your time or they could suffer the consequences of arriving late to the place where you were taking them.
  • You could also require them to remain silent until you reach your destination.
Curfews I have had grown ups tell me that they grew up in a home where there were no curfews because their parents ‘trusted’ them. They would lie and complain to their friends and say that they had a curfew because they interpreted this as their parents not caring about them.
  • There can be a rule concerning curfews but it is important to remain flexible. In other words have the discussion with your teen about what the evening entails and what he would think would be a reasonable curfew for that specific event. Often times they will come back with an earlier time than what was agreed upon.
  • However, once the curfew for that evening has been set, they are held accountable for that time, and punished accordingly if late.
  • A suitable punishment could be that if they were 15 minutes after curfew, then the next time they go out, they will have to come home 15 minutes earlier.
  • A non-negotiable house rule is, cell phones on at all times. When he walks out the door, he needs to check if his phone is charged otherwise he has to stay home. Requiring him to stay home one night will help him to remember the next time. If his excuse is he did not hear it ring, then there is another consequence like coming home a half hour earlier from the next event. This will help him make a plan to place it where he can hear it.
  • This is a commonly used excuse when they do not want parents to know where they are. Do not fall for the excuses. Always have a secondary number to phone.
  • Another non-negotiable in our home was if they were dropped off in one place, we needed to be consulted if the venue changed. Failure to do this was an immediate and serious consequence.
Not a Morning Person Parents often say that their daughter is not ‘a morning person’. I do not see the sense in allowing a child to behave in such a manner and get away with it.
  • If you allow them to be miserable and take out their moods on their siblings, why wouldn’t they do the same with their colleagues one day?
  • Why should the other people in the house have to suffer?
  • If she is tired in the morning, she needs to go to bed earlier.
  • Does that mean that she is equally welcome to take out her PMS on everybody?
  • Children need to learn to control their emotions.
  • They have to be taught to verbalise their discomfort or emotions in an appropriate way and choose a way to act that is sociably acceptable.
  • Everyone else in the house should not have to be walking on eggshells.
  • For girls that suffer from PMS, they need to be put on Evening Primrose oil and eat healthy foods.
  • There can be a calendar visible for everyone to know when it is that time of the month and they can be considerate, but certainly not have to put up with abuse.
  • Food has a huge affect on mood swings, bad skin, and weight problems. Sugar and flour contribute largely to these.
  • Help your child to understand this and to make wise choices for themselves.
  • Teach them that they are responsible to choose what goes into their mouths.
  • Your responsibility is to have the right foods in the house.
Sleeping Late
  • Some resent research has shown that during puberty changes happen in the brain and the hormones needed to calm down at night are not as active. Therefore they stay awake easier in the evenings and battle to wake up in the mornings. That is why it is a universal problem to wake teens on a Saturday morning!!
  • Some schools in the United States have tried to accommodate this by adjusting school times to start 1 hour later and have had great results with better concentration
Dealing With Conflict Conflict is unavoidable. How you deal with these situations will teach your child how to handle conflict. It is a good idea to start with something positive before you address a sensitive issue. Think of something that you appreciate about him. Adolescents need to connect the dots. There are always logical consequences to the choices we make in life. If you interrupt the process of them making that connection, but letting them off the hook or by saving them, you could cause other problems like:
  • Emotional crippling
  • Lasting characteristics of dependency
  • Perpetual adolescence
The most common consequences are taking away cell phones and earlier bed times. However, do not take away cell phones or screen time for ‘three months!’ or say, ’an hour earlier to bed for the next month!’ This just shoots you in the foot and leaves you with no leverage. If you take off in small increments, then you can increase the amount as you get attitude from them. So if you say, 15 minutes earlier to bed and they argue, you take off another 15. If they argue again, you take off another 15. If they continue, you take off a day of cell phone etc. They will finally understand that you are not going to give in. If you felt tempted to ground them from a party, rather start with saying that you will be picking them up half hour earlier from the party. If they complain, make it 45 minutes and so on. I had one lady tell me she remembered slipping out of the house as a teenager and the father of her friend realized that they were gone. He is a famous comedian and decided to surprise them by arriving at the club in his gown and slippers and calmly stood smoking a cigarette behind them while saying, “time to go home girls!” They almost died of embarrassment but never did it again. One mom told me of how her son really wanted to have guitar lessons. She had paid up front but decided to take the lessons away as a consequence to disrespect. However, she has always wanted to learn to play the guitar, so she went instead. This ‘hurt’ in the right way and he soon changed his attitude. Another mom told me how her son was rude, disrespectful and unappreciative. So she refused to take him to school. He countered that it was dangerous for him to walk to school, so she rode behind him all the way to school. She had to drive slower so it took her longer, but it was worth the investment of her time. “So what happened last night?” When teenagers go out at night, it is a good practice to be the one picking them up or at least requiring them to kiss you good night. This way you can smell on them whether there has been any use of alcohol or cigarettes. In the morning ask something like, “So, how was last night?” with a little knowing look. What they need to realise is that you could possibly have some inside information of what happened the night before, but that they have to tell you, not you tell them. The rules can be, “If I find out from ANY other source, then you are in for double punishment. If you tell me, its single punishment”. So when they start telling you what happened, stay expressionless, as if you know whats about to be shared, then say, “Yes, and what else?” (as if you know more). “Remember you only have one chance to tell me.”
  • After a few times of being caught out, they make sure to tell you the whole story. NEVER reveal your sources! They must always wonder where and how you found out.
  • Keep your nose to the ground, team up with the parents of their friends, snoop around without them knowing, but be aware of what is happening in your teens life.
  • Stay out of it if it is not potentially life threatening, but most importantly KNOW what is happening in their lives.
  • Often teens do not know how to tell you and are hoping you will find out to ‘save’ them because they do not know how to save themselves or get themselves out of the mess they are in.
Do not wait too long. Tone of Voice
  • Focus on keeping your tone of voice respectful, firm and friendly. The same way you expect to be spoken to.
  • When they snap at you or reply in a disrespectful tone or attitude, simply state, “I do not like that tone, so I am going to walk away and think about a way to help you remember not to use it again. I will post my decision on the fridge.”
  • It is impossible to have a reasonable discussion with someone when they are in ‘a mood’ or angry. This is when you need time out. Remove yourself and resume the conversation later.
  • Tone of voice and body language say far more than words, so do not accept it. If you accept it, you are teaching them they are allowed to talk to other people like that too. There is a way of expressing your hurts, disappointments and frustrations without being abusive to others. Teach them how. Make sure your example is impeccable.Keep in mind that boys and girls are very different.
  • Shoulder to shoulder is the way men bond with each other, so driving is non threatening (they also cannot run away). Especially in teenage years, boys can feel that their manlihood is threatened when a mother challenges them. The best time to talk to male is while driving in the car. This way he does not have to make eye contact. They need a lot of praise, admiration and motivation. Girls on the other hand, need a calm sensitive environment, where they can feel safe and where they feel they belong to a group or a club.
  • I remember when my oldest son was at a very difficult 12 year old stage, asking God to help me find something to just like about him. It was hard, but I tried to focus on that one thing!
  • It is really tough backing off and allowing your child to suffer the consequences of their decisions, but at sometime they have to learn this. And the earlier they can learn this lesson the less permanent damage it can cause.
  • Stick to your reasonable boundaries, but remember to choose your battles first. Once you have made the choice do not waiver. Calmly and empathetically stick to your guns.
  • At first he will rage against your boundary but if you calmly stick to your decision, consistently, then his rage will turn into sadness and disappointment but he will realize that you still love him. Teens can deal with sadness and disappointment but they cannot deal with a broken relationship. Love them unconditionally through their disappointment.
  • Lay down ground rules and explain that rugby teams do not use soccer rules, so when they start with “But everybody else…” you can make it clear that your house rules apply to your house.
  • Help them to think outside the box. Give them a scenario of a problem that someone else is having with their child. Ask them what they think the parent should do. It will possibly amaze you when you hear the answer.
  • You will notice that all the seeds you planted in their heads will start appearing when they make suggestions for OTHER kids!
Messy Room If you feel your child is extremely messy, keep in mind that this is not a character issue. This is usually merely a stage that they outgrow. One day when they are adults, they generally keep a neat ship. Focus rather on character issues like kindness, gentleness, serving others, respect etc. Dress Code I remember a story of a dad that had a fight with his teenage daughter. She was furious and stomped out of the room and he went outside to work on his car. She phoned a friend to pick her up. Inappropriately dressed in a revealing tiny skirt and thick make-up, she walked passed her dad to climb in her friend’s car. Her father darted her a look and continued to work. After climbing in the car she pulled out an extra change of clothes and wiped her face clean of all the make-up. She was testing her father to see if he cared enough to send her back and say, “You cannot leave the house looking like that. Go and change before you go out.” Sadly her father did not.
  • Keep in mind that children at this stage need to feel part of a group and not ostracized. But being fashionable can still be achieved within certain boundaries of modesty. Have a discussion about what is acceptable and what is not. Then when you are shopping there will be no arguments. Remember you are the one paying for the clothing.
Discuss with them what kind of ‘look’ they are going for. A friend of mine related this story about her 13 year old: “Sally and I went shopping to find her a dress for the school’s yearly Valentine’s party. I left her to pick out any style to try on. Finally she came out with a stunning, red dress that looked like she was melted down and poured into. It took my breath away as she looked so grown up and beautiful. I composed myself and commented, “Sally, you look absolutely gorgeous in that dress. What would you do with your hair? What type of necklace and earrings would you consider?” We oo..ed and ah..ed for a while and then I asked, “What age boy do you think you would be attracting looking like this?” “No, mom, I just want to look good”, she replied “Oh, well Sally, this look would definitely appeal more to the 18 year old boys in your school! Are you sure that is what you want?” Sally thought for a while then quickly tried on other beautiful but more modest looking dresses.” What was important here is that she received recognition but with gentle guidance she came to her own conclusion that the dress was not suitable for her age. Another mom related her story: “Her husband was embarrassed to have his 16-year-old son go to church with them with all the earrings in his ears and so many bracelets on his arm. This young man turned to her and said, “Mom, I thought you taught me that what is inside counts more than what is on the outside and that we should not judge others by their appearances! If those people cannot accept me with all my jewelry, I would rather not even go to church.” Meal Times
  • Making a rule to have meals together each evening is a wonderful way to share what is happening in each other’s life. Even if they are going through a stage of not contributing much to the conversation, they are still present, and listening, even if it does not look like it.
  • It should be a non-negotiable rule to have this time together with no cell phones or TV’s on and no outside interruptions.
  • Imagine how important your children would feel if you could commit 45 minutes a day to family time?
  • Some studies have shown that families that practice this could possibly have less chance of teenagers being involved in drug or alcohol abuse or promiscuity.
  • If dad’s really are not able to be home in time for meals, then having a sociable breakfast every morning can be considered.
Helping in the Home I once heard of a foster child that went to the same family every school holiday. The children of the family had chores to do but they felt bad that their mother would include the ‘poor foster child’ in the chores when he only came in holiday time. They felt this was not fair. On the contrary, this made him feel accepted as one of the family. Learners License Make a booking for your young adult’s driver’s education lesson or learner’s license test but if there is any irresponsible behavior, like alcohol abuse, the date can be delayed; it could be a month or 2, whatever is necessary. Remind him that people have to behave in a responsible manner to earn the privilege of driving. Lives are at stake. Suggest that maybe a bit more time would help to develop the attitude of responsibility. “I Want to Leave Home” Many parents have heard these words: When I’m 16 I will leave home! During a home visit 14 yr old Brenda threatened to leave when she turns 16. “Brenda, that’s fine if you want to plan on moving out. Lets plan how that is going to work. Let’s draw up your very first budget. Remember to include a clothing allowance, food, rent, school fees, transport to and from school, school books and entertainment.” Mom then interjected, “Manicures and pedicures”. Brenda darted her a look. “Well, I am certainly not going to pay for these if you do not live here!” “So,” I continued, “you do not have to be concerned, you still have two years to save towards this. However, you still have two years that by law that you still have to stay in this house with this mother that you do not like. I can teach you to get along with her for 2 years or you can be miserable. It is your choice. A Parent’s Story “I loved serving my children. I was the mommy that would take children home, give lifts in between events, travel along for outings etc. However, when my youngest was in her early teens I started realising that a new attitude was rearing its ugly head. She became unappreciative and more demanding of my time to be her and her friends personal chauffeur She also gave me attitude when I asked her to do something for me. So I had this little chat with her and said, “Sweetie, I love serving you, but if it is not reciprocal then I am actually creating a selfish, demanding, entitled individual. So, I have to resign. Once your attitude has changed, we can review the situation. She quickly realised the privileges she would be missing out on and changed her attitude towards me. After a period of time when I saw it was consistent, I offered to help again.” Setting an example This is the time when your life is under a magnifying glass. They watch you like a hawk! What you say means far less than who you are. If you tell them not to swear, but you swear at the driver that cut in front of you, what example are you setting? What about not accepting their lies, but you brag about how you cheat on your income tax? Or, tell them not to talk bad about their friends, but when you put down the phone after a friendly conversation with a less popular friend, your facial expression or comments reveal your disgust or disapproval? “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying,” said Emerson Be transparent and honest with your teen. If you have made a mistake, admit it and ask their forgiveness. This is not the time to be best buddies (especially if you are a single parent) but it is important to have fun, laughter and lots of discussion time. Encourage relationships with other adults that you can trust. Sometimes it is easier for a teen to open up and share with another close family friend or relative. Understanding their sibling’s differences I remember taking my friends two adopted girls out for coffee to discuss their fighting. I let them blow off steam about how Mady would just barge into Claire’s room in the middle of the night to share her news or concerns. This would frustrate Claire as she was trying to sleep. Claire felt that whenever she touched Mady in passing, Mady would pull away and be irritated. After much discussion we came to realize that Mady’s love language was quality time and she did not respect Claire’s need of sleep. She was excited to share her news with her sister. We spoke about Mady rather requesting to talk at a suitable time. Claire loved physical touch and would lovingly squeeze Mady’s arm in passing. We realized that she was needing to feel loved. So, we agreed that Mady would give her a shoulder massage on request. Later I heard that Claire invited Mady to a ‘tea party’ in the garden to have a chat. Mady designed vouchers that Claire could exchange for a massage when she needed one. Understanding each other’s needs changed their whole relationship. It was also easier to talk to me as an outsider where it possibly could have ended up in a fight if it were with mom.  
Notes to the Parent Your child needs you more than you can imagine. Maintain a sense of humour and do not take it personally. It is only a wrong choice THEY are making; it is not about you. Whatever consequences you put in place – do not let it be a punishment for you. Parents will often say to me, “He will not listen to me. Any punishment I give him just does not work.” When I suggest consequences such as these in the book, their first response is, “Shame, that seems a bit harsh.” Or, “I have not tried it but I know that will not work.” They often feel they have no leverage. However, they need you more than you need them. Every child has the right to be loved, clothed, a roof over their heads and an education. Anything else is a privilege. They cannot create this environment without you. They need parents. Therefore, you have some leverage! They can lose all the wonderful luxuries that do not fall under these categories. They can lose the electricity in their rooms, the door, in fact everything down to a mattress and bedding. They can be taken to school and back and nowhere else. This can all be earned back over time and when respect is demonstrated. If you constantly feel sorry for your child, you need to remind yourself that this is not about you. This is about what is best for your child’s development and character. Put your feelings aside and do what is best to grow your child. Think long term. That is in fact what you want to encourage in your child as well – not short term gratification. So even if it seems difficult for you to enforce, think of your child and the long-term benefits. “I thought baby monitors were only used for babies! Mine has become quite useful lately.” Anonymous Giving advice Sometimes teens just want to talk. They are not always asking you to fix the problem; they just want to share something that has happened. Be sensitive to their need. Often times they work it out by themselves just by saying it out aloud. Pose questions to help them figure it out for themselves. Do not take things personally and remind them (and yourself): Character is what you stand for; reputation is what you fall for. Home Visits-Case Studies I had a home visit with Bradley, one of a twin and his divorced mom. His mom struggled with his rude and obnoxious behavior, which included hitting and biting her. After a hair-raising session, we decided to remove all his privileges. We boxed all his PSP’s, Dvd’s, cd’s, video’s and all sporting equipment. He would also not be taken to any activities, whether it be a prepaid sport or birthday parties. He was told he could earn them back with respectful behavior. A few months later I returned and he and his brother were very keen to show me what they had ‘earned’ back. Bradley, a totally changed 11 year old, chatted with us like an adult. He wanted to discuss and idea that he had thought of. He brought out 2 pieces of paper and proceeded to separate the different ‘privileges’ (a he called it). Then he explained, “Mommy, on this page is all the things you took away from us like our sporting equipment and Dvd’s etc. I think we should get those back and then you take them away when we do not listen.  On this page is the list of things you do for us, like, taking us to parties, take us to our friends or cooking for us. I think we should earn the right to have these.” After picking ourselves off the floor, we smiled at him and agreed to the new plan. This was a totally different young man sitting in front of me! I could not believe the change after only a few months of firm boundaries and consistency. He then turned to me and added, “you know how you told me that when mommy calls me I need to listen the first time? Well, when I call her I have to call ‘Mommy!’ three times before she responds. I do not think that is fair! And, when I try to talk to her about something, and a message comes through on her phone, she just reads is and answers it and that makes me feel like she is not listening. I do not feel like she cares when she does that!” With that he started crying softly. Could this possibly be the cocky, arrogant child I had met a year before? His mom apologized and promised to pay more attention. Children love boundaries and flourish on mutual respect. Dealing with Aggression I had a similar reaction from an 11 year old. My eldest daughter is an Occupational Therapist and was working with an aggressive child with ADHD. Unfortunately the parents were not very committed concerning the change of diet and he was showing signs of aggression. One day she phoned me and told me that this 9-year old had pulled a kitchen knife on her because she would not let him have sweets. She handled the situation calmly but phoned me to ask what I thought she should do as a consequence. Of course, I was horrified and like any other mother, wanted to climb in my car and sort him out! When I started breathing again, we came up with a plan. The next day she picked him up from school and announced they were going for a little outing. He was overjoyed thinking it would be to the beach or the aquarium. However, she had prearranged with the police to show him what a jail cell looked like. The sergeant in charge sternly showed him around and let him experience the inside of a cell,explaining to him that this is the place where boys land up when they pull knives on people. This was a very effective visual aid, which I am sure he will never forget.  
Story time
Parents as role models By the time your children reach teenage years, you should have spent enough time planting seeds into their brain. We all want children to see things our way. However, there comes a time where they need to break away, find out what they believe and then make their beliefs their own. 11 year old Simone said, “This isn’t fair! My mom has allowed me to get away with this for 11 years!”  Communication Communication takes effort and with practice, can improve. Set aside time in your busy schedule to invest in your relationship. Listen to some cd’s together, talk in the car as you drive; after a sport activity, have a milkshake together. Remember that children learn by example. If communication with your spouse is bad, how will your teen learn to communicate? Sometimes adolescents go through times where it is very hard to find something about them to actually like, never mind love. At times you may find it hard to find something to like about your adolescent, never mind love him!  Hang in there it will not last. Make sure your actions always communicate: “ I love you but I do not accept what you have done.” Here are some open-ended questions you can use as tools for improved communication:
  • I do not know the answer, what do you think about it?
  • What would you like to do about it?
  • What will that look like in 5 years?
  • Can you reverse it if you feel differently in 5 years time?
  • Do you think this is a wise decision?
  • How do you think that is going to work for you?
  • Have you discussed it with someone older that you trust?
  • Will it change your character in any way?
  • Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?
  • Do you have enough money to carry you if it does not work out?
  • What message are you trying to portray?
  • Who do you think will be covering the expenses?
  • Is it symbolic?
When you ask a lot of questions and afford multiple choices, you will be encouraging self-confidence by allowing and encourage him to come up with the solutions. When children in the home reach their teenage years, it often coincides with mom or dad being in menopause or a mid-life crisis.  With all those hormones raging at the same time it is no wonder there is chaos in the home! I’m not allowed Give a clear message that your child can “blame” you if there is a situation they are uncomfortable with, by saying things like “My mom says I can’t ……” This will help them to maintain credibility with their peers. As they mature and develop their own internalised values, they will be able to say, “I can’t do that, because that’s not who I am”. Social Media We would not leave poison candy out on the counter in reach of our children but yet sometimes social media that can be even more dangerous, is freely available.
  • Our children need to be educated regarding the protocol and dangers of Face book, for instance, only accepting a friend when it is someone you have met face to face; not posting your picture or address; being made aware that pedophiles are lurking out there; cyber bullying; people wanting to meet up; or inappropriate conversations.Encourage them to talk to you when any of these happen. Explain to them that innocent posts on their part can be misconstrued. It is not the place to discuss private issues as this can be blasted publically without their consent.
  • On a regular basis review the privacy settings on yours and your child’s social applications. It is worth that time spent.
  • Set up a Google Alert on your child’s name. Make the combination of first and last name unique and add the name of their sports team, school name or town. You can set up multiple alerts. This way whenever someone publishes something on-line that is public you get a notification. This generally covers Facebook posts, public tweets, blogs, etc.
  • For extra protection, ensure that you are bcc’d on every email they receive. You can do this by becoming the administrator of the family accounts
  • Teachers and parents should embrace technology and make use of items such as Mixit and Facebook to communicate with generation Y. Not only does it allow us free access to children’s social lives but we meet the children on their playing field making use of tools which interest them.
  • Like all environments, these tools should have their clearly defined boundaries. It is better to have full access to the free communication and continuous information available than to be left in the dark. This generation is ready to share most things about their lives, but you have to have access to these tools to acquire the information. So, instead of banning Facebook, Mixit or IM, we should embrace these tools.
Boundaries can be put in place like this: You can have a Facebook account, but you add parents as a friend. This will enable you to continuously have access to their updates and photographs which they share on these networks.
  • With Mixit or IM your boundary could be that they may have a cellphone, but that you as the paying parent may at any stage take their phone and do spot checks without a feeling of invading their privacy. It is important to be able to monitor these things, as these tools become dangerous when they are not monitored.
  • Make a daily time limit for screen time. The dangers of carrying cell phones near your body have not been fully researched as yet so encourage them to place phones in a safe place instead of in a pocket.
  • Have the family switch off cell phones at meal times.
  • Computers screens need to be in full view in a public area like the study or dining room and not locked away in the bedroom. Make sure the screen is visible when entering the room so that any sights cannot suddenly be shut down as you enter.
  •  Also limit aggressive video games as this can contribute towards nightmares and/or unwanted aggressive behavior.
What example are you setting with your phone as well as your time spent on social media? The Y generation is the most honest of all the generations. They readily share their thoughts, photos and experiences. The social media is a great way of keeping in touch with what is going on in your child’s life. Taking on a project together is a great social activity that promotes discussion, for instance;
  1. Build a tree house
  2. Paint a room or the house
  3. Develop a vegetable garden
  4. Build a go-cart
  5. Spring clean the attach or garage
  6. Do some quilting/sewing/knitting projects
  7. Research something together
  8. Cycle as a family
  9. Wash the car together
  10. Plan an outing/long weekend/ holiday together
  11. Visit a hospital, old age home, orphanage
  12. ‘Adopt’ an orphan in another country
  13. Together go through a series from an author like C S Lewis
Boundaries and rules clarify potential problem areas so that there are no misunderstandings or grey areas. I found this example on the internet. It is a contract that a mom gave her 13 year old when she bought him an iPhone. I think it is a brilliant idea! You can compile your own. Dear Gregory Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.
  • I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.
  • It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?
  •  I will always know the password.
  • If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad.” Not ever.
  •  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
  • It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.
  • If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.
  • Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
  • Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
  • Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.
  • No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person — preferably me or your father.
  • Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
  • Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.
  • Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
  • Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
  • Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
  • Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
  • You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.
It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. xoxoxo, Mom Later a humourous comment was made: But perhaps when it’s time for the kid to take care of his mother in her old age, he can turn the tables. Dear Mom,
Welcome to Sundown retirement community.I hope you enjoy your new home.You’d better.  I’m paying for it, along with your social security and Medicare.Don’t I rock?That said, no branded drugs. Only generics.And no cable TV in your room.
You can watch in the lounge like everybody else.  
When dealing with young teenagers in my home visits, I invite them to a round table discussion. I often start with comments like, “What do you wish you could change in this house?” and mostly I hear, “My parents shouting/fighting”. How sad. They are thrilled when I suggest that parents pay them every time they shout but they have no idea that after my session with the parents they will not need to shout anymore! When I ask what rules they are unhappy with bedtimes are usually an issue. Sometimes I ask what their bedtimes are and they do not even know. So I ask what they consider a healthy bedtime. Their first response is ‘Midnight!’ but then we discuss how they would feel in the morning and the benefits of sleep.  They come to the conclusion themselves that 8:30 or 9pm would be a reasonable bedtime. We agree that they are responsible for their own bed times and mom and dad are not allowed to tell them to go to bed. However, if they are 15 minutes late with putting lights out, they will have to suffer the consequence of having a 15 minute earlier bedtime the next night. Bedtime becomes their responsibility. By this time they are on board with the discussion an eating out of my hands as they feel I am on their side. Next I start by asking them, “What do you do that you know you shouldn’t do?” Usually all the confessions roll off their tongue, “I take biscuits without asking”, “I am cheeky/rude/mean to my mom”. I then ask them if they would like to change that and they ALL agree that they need help to do that. In one home visit, a 10 year old admitted to twisting his sister’s arm till she cried. She would then hit him and he would then tell his mom to get her into trouble. He admitted this in front of the mom. After a while his mom and I were talking about discipline and he interrupted: “excuse me, can I tell my mom something else I did wrong? Mommy, you know when you make pumpkin that I don’t like?” He started crying and continued, “Well, I scrape it into the trash when you ae not looking!” He buried his head in his arm and sobbed. I rubbed his arm and said, “Thank you for sharing that. Now, don’t you feel better now that its not a secret anymore?” He briefly looked up and replied, “These are tears of joy!!” and buried his head again. We tried really hard to contain our laughter at this dramatic performance. Generally when I ask over 8 year olds what punishment they think would be effective, they usually come up with more severe punishments than what I would ever suggest! We come to a compromise and have mom and dad commit to carrying out the punishments to ‘help’ them remember to change their attitudes. It is helpful to put the new rules down in writing and have everyone sign the ‘House rules’ that clearly define expectations and consequences. This way there is no argument when it occurs, it is merely a case of checking what was agreed upon in the contract. Sometimes we have to allow kids to be upset in the short-term so they can lead happy and responsible lives in the long-term. Why boundaries are important You cannot start with wide boundaries when they are young and then try to reign in the boundaries through teenage years. I see it like a funnel. When it is turned upside down it does not work. But when you start with narrow boundaries, then as they mature and show respect, the boundaries become wider and they have more freedom, responsibility, choice and freedom of movement. Not the other way around. I enjoy the story in the Bible of the prodigal’s son. This typical entitled teenager insists on his inheritance, his father gives it to him and of course he unwisely squanders everything; landing up eating with the pigs. Then the story goes on to say, “When he came to his senses…” (this is when he returned, tail between the legs, to his father’s house with all the luxuries he had not appreciated before) Every parent of an adolescent needs to remember that this day WILL come!  Sometimes it feels like it will NEVER come, but it will. That is when they suddenly appreciate so much and everything you have taught them seems to suddenly make sense – the frontal lobe is finally almost developed! This joke then becomes a reality: “When a child is 18, he thinks his parents are so stupid. When he is 21, he cannot believe that they have learned so much in 3 years.” C. S. Lewis wrote: When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. – Mere Christianity