Always make time to answer your child’s questions. This is one of the key foundations of your relationship through the years to come.

If your child asks a question, it is because he wants to know the answer. Of course depending on the age of your child, you respond appropriately, but never brush off their question as not being important. The fact that your child asks you a question, shows that he is curious. He has a desire to discover the world he is growing up in and has a need to interact with you and have you do it with him. The question is important to your child based upon his current points of reference, or he would not have asked it

He will value your undivided attention so much, which will become evident in later years, when you ask him a question, or need an answer. He will give it to you, because that has always been the way you have treated him. As his father, you lead by example.

It is at a very early age that you should set the ground rules for the quality of communication between you and your children. This will determine what happens throughout their whole childhood. If you get this right, at the start of their lives, it will reap immeasurable benefits for the quality of your relationship together in later years. This will be very evident during the teenage years, when the challenges are very different, and can sometimes seem insurmountable for both of you.

Think of the amount of times you have heard other fathers say to their child “ask me later”, or “go and ask your mother”. By doing this, you are sending a subliminal message to your child. ‘I do not have time for you right now’, or ‘I’m not interested in what you want to know’, or even ‘it doesn’t concern me’. Potentially this can be the start of the construction of subconscious barriers to communication with your child, which as he gets older will be very hard to overcome.

So, stop whatever you are doing, or at least as soon as it is safe to do so, and listen carefully to the question. Then answer it honestly. You both will reap the benefits of this approach right through to your child’s adulthood………………… and beyond!

 

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How do you keep your children close to you from babyhood to adulthood? It is possible, you just need the right approach and philosophy…………………Every Day

How do you know if you have got it right with your children? How do you judge if you are a successful parent as you watch your child grow up? What mistakes and pitfalls can you avoid and what ones are inevitable? These questions and many more are always in the mind of you as a parent. What you do know is that you want to be the best parent possible to your child.

So where do you start? Right at the beginning, as soon as your child is able to communicate with you. This is the door through which you must walk with your child and never let it close on you. Open communication between you as your child grows up, will allow you to overcome virtually every problem that presents itself to you. In fact even before issues become problems.

As a parent, never have any subject which cannot be discussed openly by you and your child, however uncomfortable it is for you. Strategies like always having a special time of the day when you talk about what has gone on, for both you and your child, will really work. This could be at supper time, or when you child is in bed, or those tender moments just before going to bed. You will find that this lays the foundation for a very strong relationship as your child grows up, and will make your bond together unshakeable.

At these special times, you also need to be telling your child your daily challenges as he needs to be able to relate and understand your world. Of course you need to tailor what you say depending on his age. You say your bit and encourage him to say whatever he wants to. You will be amazed at what you learn. The conversations will change as your child grows older, but will always be open and frank. Those key links you build together will always work whether your child is 2 or 22.

It is really worth making the effort on this, and you and your child will have created a bond which will help you both, and enhance your relationship together for the rest of your lives.

Your child can teach you things whatever age he is, so you should take every opportunity to learn from him. This is even more important in those vital teenage years.

If you can learn to appreciate your teenager’s environment, such as his tastes in clothes, as well as his music, it will be a good start. It is very important to avoid driving a wedge between you and your child particularly at this stage of his life. Although you may not approve of some of his friends, while you can tell him discreetly about your concerns, you have to let him make his own decisions. He will discover on his own later on, whether he has made good decisions or not. If you can do this, it will keep you much closer to him when problems arise.

Keeping relevant, means making a real effort to keep up with your teenagers’ technology, his games and his music. You should learn to play his computer games with him and get him to teach and explain things to you. He will love the fact that he can teach you things as well, and it is not always the other way round. By having this approach, you will always stay an integral part of his life, as he evolves through his teenage years. Although on many occasions it won’t feel like it at all and it won’t stop the arguments and disagreements, he will definitely respect you for trying to do this. Try to empathise with his lifestyle and the things he enjoys doing as much as possible. And be careful not to condemn and be disrespectful to his personal tastes just because you don’t happen to like them yourself.

Whatever your child is up to, positive feedback about what he is doing will always be well received by him. Even if you actually disagree with what he is doing. During this period of your child’s life he will be full of self-doubt and will be trying to find his way, so if you can find a positive slant on things, he will always respond better to that than if you are always critical of him. But it can be very difficult to do this at times. Make sure you are sincere about what you say, as children are quite perceptive and can very easily see through their parents if you aren’t. There will of course be many periods of anxiety and doubt as a teenager, so your positive and constructive comments will help keep his confidence levels as high as possible.

What do you do when honesty might hurt your child? An eternal parental dilemma but it all depends on his age.

As a father and a parent, you will never want to hurt your child, but sometimes if you tell them things as they really are, they will get upset and the effects may even last for sometime. Occasionally a ‘white lie’ is acceptable if it is done to protect your child from something, particularly if they are not yet at an age when they can understand the full consequences of it. However, you should always try to be honest with your children and never lie to them on serious issues.

Sometimes it is very difficult to stick to this guideline, but remember that your children deserve you to treat them correctly. It doesn’t really matter what the subject matter is of your ‘white lie’, but your judgement of the situation will determine if it is the correct course of action. If your child is a toddler or under five and his grand mother passes away, you might tell him that ‘nanna has gone to a special place with the angels’.

If however he has been at primary school for a few years he will be starting to learn about the human life cycle and that we are born and we eventually die. You may make a judgement call in this instance and tell him the truth but couch it in more direct gentle terms like ‘nanna passed away peacefully in her sleep and has gone to heaven’. So how you communicate with your child will very definitely be relative to your child’s age and his ability to comprehend life events like this.

If however you do lie to him even on a subject as serious as this and he finds out, it will send the message that this is an acceptable form of behaviour. Remember, at all times your child will look up to you and copy your behaviour, so he will need you to handle a situation like this in the correct way. He will remember how you do this for many years to come.

How can you stay close to your Teenager as your relationship changes? It is a real challenge.

When your child becomes a teenager, the dynamics of your relationship changes dramatically, so you need to evolve and become a different kind of role model. He will be mixing with a wide variety of individuals independently of you and it is important that you remain consistent in how you behave towards him. ‘Work hard … play hard’, is a very important philosophy you need to get through to your teenager, and to do this, you must lead by example.

As he will be trying new things during these years and following your example (where it suits him of course) try to avoid doing anything to excess yourself. While he needs to understand that he can enjoy himself, this must be linked to working hard, particularly at school. Therefore, he needs to see the example of ‘normal acceptable behaviour’ coming from his father.

It is vitally important that your child feels he can still communicate with you openly while he is a teenager. So this will be one of your biggest challenges during the next few years. So keeping all lines of communication open between you both is vital, and will influence strongly how your relationship with him develops. However difficult and awkward the subject is, you can never have a ‘bad conversation’ with your child, only a good one, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. With all the challenges facing him during this period of his life, this is where you will really benefit from the investment in time and effort you made with him during his earlier years.

It is during that period where you have laid the foundations, to allow you to stay connected during the extremely challenging times ahead of you. Your child is still very vulnerable when he is a teenager, but he neither believes nor realises this, and he will get sick of hearing you telling him this. He will be rebellious and very difficult to manage at times, so, your role really is to guide him through this stage of his life. Don’t worry, he will come out the other side, every child does, and hopefully with a sense of independence and respect for you, his mother, as well as other people. He will need this sense of value and perspective when he becomes an adult.

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.

 

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 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.

Does your Child stay in his room when guests come to your house? It doesn’t have to be like that.

What do your children do when people come to your home? Do they always come and say Hello? This is something you should introduce to their lives from a very early age. When they are about 4 or 5 years old. By doing this, it will develop their social skills from a very young age. These skills will then come in very handy when they are older.

Every time somebody visits you, before you answer the door, remind your children that they need to stop what they are doing and come and say Hello. Once they are used to doing this, it will become instinctive for them to come and greet your visitors. Not only will this promote good manners, but it will make your guests feel welcome by all the family.

It will encourage your children to be more outward going as they grow up, and it will help them with their communication skills. This will benefit them hugely when they get older, and other people will form a good impression of them. This may help with job interviews or career contacts in the future. It will also make people value the interaction they have with your child.

Does your Child sulk if she doesn’t get her own way? What can you do to prevent this?

What can you do when your child sulks? It will normally happen when she doesn’t get her own way, so you need to teach her that it is not good to do this. It may lose her friends or opportunities in the future so it is vital for you to change this behaviour.

As soon as your child starts to sulk, you need to distract her. Do this by talking about or doing something positive and enjoyable which your child loves hearing about. Make sure she sees and hears what you are doing.

If she doesn’t react at first, keep going, as the more she hears about what you are doing and saying, the more interested she will become. Eventually she will forget all about what she is sulking about, and become engrossed in what you are doing and saying.

This is a very important lesson that you can teach her. She will learn that there is always something else positive and enjoyable just around the corner. This will help her as she grows older, and she will be able to overcome disappointment and move on.

Once she is old enough, around 4 or 5, you, as her father, should start to explain to her why sulking is not good. She will understand, although it may take you a while to get the message across.