How much do your children miss you when you are away from them?

When you are away from home, maybe away on a business trip, just needed elsewhere, or even separated from their mother, have you ever stopped to ask yourself how your children feel? Of course they are probably with their mum, and having a good time, but they also need you just as much. They may not actually say it to you, but you can see in other ways how they miss you when you return.

This could be a look on their face when they are telling you what they have been doing in your absence. Or they may be angry with you for not being there, or maybe they just don’t want to communicate with you at all. This could be, in their mind, a way of telling you off because they miss you. So how can you avoid them feeling this way and turn it round into a positive situation?

The answer of course, lies in how you react back to them. It is not about bringing them a gift or a new toy to play with, although it will always be gratefully accepted, it is how you communicate to them both verbally, physically and emotionally when you see them again. It doesn’t really matter what age they are, they simply need to understand why you have to be away. So taking the time to explain why you are going away in the first place, can help significantly when you get back. It can also help them to understand why you have to be away.

So when you get back and the initial excitement of your return has subsided, try to talk to your child and tell him what you have been doing while you have been away. Explain what you have achieved while you have been absent. Tell him what benefit it is to the family and to him in particular. If he understands the reasons why, then he will more easily be able to accept when you have to be away.

Your child will always miss you when you are not there, but through some simple actions, you can lessen the impact, and make your absence much more bearable for them.


How can you stop your children from constantly fighting with each other?

It doesn’t matter whether your children are Toddlers or Teenagers, they will always try to test themselves against their siblings. Finding out who is the strongest, the most dominant and the smartest, is the natural way, and is an integral part of their childhood. As they grow older, until they are adults, they will continue to test themselves against each other. But this can be very tiring on you. So what can you do to lessen the stress?

Throughout your children’s upbringing, you have been able to use distraction, and it has worked on very many occasions to get you out of awkward situations. Whether it was your Toddler sulking, throwing a tantrum or refusing to eat. It will still work, irrespective of how old they are, and is one of the best strategies you can use as a parent. So when they start fighting, this should be your primary weapon against it.

Distracting them could be you telling a silly joke, or suddenly making a really loud noise, but try to resist the urge to start screaming and shouting. What you really need to do is to catch their attention. Break their concentration on what they are doing, so they forget what they were bickering about, in this case fighting. It will soon blow over, calm will be restored and your nerves can relax again…………….until the next time. Don’t we just love our children!

When should you start setting your child goals?

Setting yourself objectives and understanding that there are rewards when you achieve them, is an important part of growing up. The question is when should you start teaching your child about them.

Sometimes you have to achieve those objectives before someone else manages to. Life is competitive, whether it is at school, or on the football field, or even amongst siblings, so achieving is a vital skill to learn for a young child.

You should start setting your child goals, as soon as she is able to understand the concept of rewards, which is usually once she starts to walk. You can start with little objectives such as eating all her food at supper earns her a nice yoghurt as dessert. Or if she puts all her toys away at the end of each day, she will get an extra five minutes in the bath.

A lot of these initial ones are instinctive for your child, such as walking across the room to get the toy. And it is your role to explain to your child why the reward comes after the effort. This is very relevant as the objectives become more challenging.

As she grows a little older, you will need to make sure that the goals you set her and that she sets herself, are actually achievable. This is very important, as she needs to feel a good sense of achievement, which will give her the confidence in her own ability. She will learn that reaching goals produces benefits, and this will set her up for life.

Help, I just found out my child is taking drugs!

This is probably every parents nightmare, it is the moment you dread finding out about. But however painful it is for you to accept, you have got to face up to it, confront it and take remedial action immediately. This will not be easy, that’s for sure

For starters, your child will probably try to hide it, even though you already know about it. Then he will probably deny it or try to play it down with comments like, “it’s only cannabis”. Even though he may have tried something more serious such as ecstasy.

So you have to act straight away. Leaving it, even if it is just for one week more, could be allowing your child to slip deeper into the habit. So, what can you do?

Firstly you need to sit your child down in a relaxed environment. This could be at the dinner table one evening, or when you have just finished watching a film together. In any case, you have to find the moment, so think hard how and where you can raise this issue.

Being angry or indignant, won’t help the situation or the action you are going to take, so stay calm and try not to raise your voice. If you lose your cool, your child will clam up and won’t talk openly to you about it. It may already be a problem to get him to open up, so being calm will certainly help you.

Ask open ended questions such as:- “What do you think about drug taking and young people?”, or:- “What do you think the appeal of drugs is to young people?”. These are general questions to start the discussion off. Then you can start asking more direct questions, but always make sure they are open ended.

Tell your child that you know he has tried drugs, and ask him why he has done this? What is the reason he is doing it? Who is he doing this with? It is very rare that he will be doing it on his own at such a young age. Also ask him where he does it? And how does it make him feel?

Once you have started off the discussion, and you start to understand why he is doing it, then you can agree a plan of action. If you feel you cannot resolve the situation on your own, don’t be afraid to consult and take professional advice. It is not a weakness to enlist the help of others who have experience in handling these types of situation with young people. So do seek help.

If you address the issue, you will eventually find a solution, but don’t try to ignore it and hope it will go away. If you act as soon as you find out, you will be able to rescue the situation, however difficult that may be. But you will succeed.



How do you make bedtimes easy and seamless for you and your children?

How many times have you had to argue with your child when it is bed time, despite your child knowing exactly what time he is supposed to go to bed? However, as I’m sure you know, getting your child to finally go to bed, and on time, can be a real mission. But it doesn’t have to be! By giving your child a warning period of 15 minutes before he is due to go, it will avoid conflict and hassle when the time actually arrives.

First of all, you need to have introduced set bed times for your child from when he starts to go to nursery school. In any case he will need regular and sufficient sleep once he goes to school, as he will now be officially learning, and being academically educated. He needs to be fresh for school if he is to learn well, so bedtimes become very important.

Often your child will say to you, when it is time to go, “can I just finish this program or game”, or “I’m nearly finished”, or “just a few more minutes please”. Then it can easily escalate into an argument if you say no. But by using this method every night, it just becomes the normal routine, and non negotiable. It definitely makes your life easier and less stressful, and helps your child.

Am I a Boring Dad to my Children? How do I know if I am, and how do I stop it?

Do your children find you boring? If so, and you will know whether they do, you have to ask yourself why! There is always a risk that parents lose the ability to remain relevant to their children as they are growing up. This becomes particularly acute when your child becomes a teenager. So, the question is, how do you avoid this? Can you avoid it, or is it inevitable?

The answer is yes of course you can avoid this! It just takes effort and commitment, and a real desire on your part. The key to remaining relevant and avoiding becoming boring is to stay interested in what your children do, and become tolerant of their developing tastes.

This isn’t always easy, as their tastes in clothes, music, films and friends can be so different from yours. But you have to try, because if they perceive you as being boring and uninterested in what they do, they will stop communicating with you. The moment they do this, you will become irrelevant to their lives and just a peripheral figure floating around the edge of their existence!

This is to be avoided at all costs, as your children need you perhaps more than at any time in their lives when they become teenagers, as their points of reference are changing so quickly. You become the constant, but you have to adapt with them. But it is possible, so never give up trying …..

What can your children teach you? Or should it always be the the other way round?

Can your child really teach you anything as he grows up, or should it always be the other way round? When we first have children and decide to become parents, we are complete novices at it. We have no experience of handling our own baby, and make no mistake, it is completely different from dealing with other peoples children. So really we know nothing, and we are starting with a blank piece of paper!

So the moment your child is born is where you start the learning process. Even as you do the first feed, you baby will be teaching you what he likes, and the best way to feed him. This extends to bath time, and many other daily routines, and how he communicates to you the best way of playing with him.

Then as he gets a bit older, he will often be subliminally teaching you, and in fact will teach you a major life skill which will help you for the rest of your life. Your child will teach you to keep everything in life in perspective.

It doesn’t matter how stressful or tiring your day has been, when you walk into your house, and he jumps into your arms with that adoring smile and cheeky look in his eyes, you will realise that there is much more to life than just working, or chasing the money.

How can I calm down my 8 year old child when they start shouting and won’t listen to reason?

How often have you found yourself faced with an angry child, who just won’t listen to you, and starts screaming their head off? It has happened to me a few times, and is always very challenging to handle. But it is possible to manage this kind of situation, I can assure you, but it requires a lot of patience, control and effort.

The key is to remain calm and let them ‘blow off the steam’. Very often they will explode for something as simple as being asked to move their shoes which have been left at the bottom of the stairs. Or you walking in front of the TV when they are watching a program. If it interferes with what they are currently doing, it will particularly annoy them.

When they explode, and you feel your own frustration rising, take a step back. If you allow yourself to get angry, the situation will degenerate into a shouting match. They may only be 8, and still quite small, but it is amazing just how loud they can shout! When you feel this happening, step back and start counting to 10 slowly in your head, and never give them the satisfaction of seeing you lose your cool.

This will demonstrate to them that they cannot rile you, and you always remain calm in any situation. They want a reaction from you, but by not giving them one, they will learn that you are always in control. Once they have finished shouting, you can then calmly reiterate what you were saying to them.

If you behave like this, on the very rare occasion that you do actually feel the need to become angry, they will instantly know to back off, and comply with your request. Your controlled anger will always be a more effective strategy. It is a skill which needs to be practiced, as I’m sure you know how easy it is to lose your cool with your child. It took me a couple of years to find this strategy, after making many mistakes myself.

Is this how your child sees you and his mother? Divide and Conquer!

How often does your child say to you “mum said I could do this”? You then respond, “in that case, it’s fine with me”. Then later on when you check exactly what his mother said, you find out it was not at all what your child said it was. It was actually “if your father agrees, then it is OK with me”. So when your child asks for, or wants to do something, you should always say “tell me exactly what your mother said”.

If your child can drive a wedge between you and your partner, he will. He will try to do this, often completely subconsciously, as he knows he will get away with a lot more than either of you want him to. So you have to be consistent and united all the time. This means you should never contradict your partner in front of your child, even if you don’t agree at all with what she is saying.

If you show any disunity between yourselves in front of your child, he will exploit it ruthlessly. Once your child is out of earshot however, then you can express your disagreement with each other. Never has the expression ‘Divide and Conquer’ been so relevant in family life, than with a child and his parents.

If your child feels he can get away with something, by creating a rift between you and his mother, he will. Then as he grows up, it may also result in a lack of respect for you and your partner’s authority, and this will be very difficult to manage in the years ahead.

How do you make sure you get your point across in a heated exchange with your teenage child? Use a Drinks mat!

One of the perennial problems you will come across with your teenage child is being listened to in an argument. Your child will have the same problem with you. Neither one of you is listening to what the other one is saying as emotions are so high, and you believe you are in the right.

There is a way that both of you can say exactly what you want to, and also be forced to listen to what the other one is saying. It is a simple thing to introduce, and involves a drinks coaster. Keep one of these in every room, so that whenever a dispute crops up, you are both able to reach for it.

It works with the following rules. If you have the coaster in your hand, you can keep talking for as long as you want, and the other person is obliged to listen until you have finished. Once one has finished, the coaster is handed to the other person who can do the same.

The very fact of passing the coaster ends up decreasing the tension, as both of you know you are being heard and getting your point across. It also ends up improving your communication together, which is a major challenge with teenagers.

This tip also works with younger children, and can be introduced at an earlier age, as soon as you feel tensions increasing with your child on certain subjects.