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!

 

How do you stop subconscious mental barriers being constructed with your children?

In the past fathers didn’t show their emotions like mothers did. Boys had to follow in their footsteps and show the ‘British Stiff Upper Lip’. Girls were considered different from boys and allowed to be emotional. Yet life is full of emotion no matter what sex you are. Whether it is happiness or sadness, elation or despair, you should never be afraid to show your emotions as a father. Children need to know that their father experiences the same type of emotions as they do. They also need to be able to see you actually showing those emotions.

Doing this prevents any subconscious mental barriers being constructed within the vital relationship between you as a father and your child. Be very tactile with your children, they need physical contact with you as their father just as much as they do with their mother.

Don’t be afraid to give your child a hug when you see her, or to always kiss her goodnight when she goes to bed, irrespective of what age she is, whether 2 or 22. For a child, at the beginning, it is totally normal that this should happen, after all, you are her father. You are one of the two most important people in her life and you should remain as that until she starts her own life with her own partner and has children of her own. Even then that bond will never be lost, if you have created a relationship built on substance, respect and love.

How often do you hear children say to their parents “you never listen to me”? If you really want to, it’s easy to always listen carefully to what your child is saying. This philosophy is your chance to make sure your children know from a very early age, that you do listen to them. They need to know that their contribution to the family dynamic is just as important as yours. It is always a two way relationship and you must never forget that and communication and love will flow between you totally unhindered if you get it right.

 

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.

 

 

Are you a good Role Model to your Children?

Do you ever forget how observant your children are, as you get wrapped up in the daily chores of managing a family and a home? Of course you do, we all do! But you should still try to be vigilant. You have to be a good Role Model to your child, not a perfect one, after all we are all human, but a good one!

How do you do this you may ask, and actually it is quite simple? You should start by setting your child a good example all the time. Boys particularly look up to their Dad, and copy what you do, after all, you are his idol, and everything you do matters to him. Your child’s behaviour will reflect the way you are and how you behave on a day to day basis.

If you are aggressive and short to everyone around you, and always shouting at people, expect your child to be the same. If you are calm and thoughtful to those around you, then your child will be so too. Remember, your children are what you make them, and are a reflection on the upbringing you give them. You must never forget this. So try to be the best possible role model, all the time.

Here are a few tips, but this list is not exhaustive:

  1. Work hard at what you do, whether paid or unpaid
  2. Be nice to people , even if they irritate you
  3. Be kind and polite to everyone you meet
  4. Be tolerant of other people’s differences with you
  5. Always help others if you are able to
  6. Never be aggressive, nasty or violent
  7. Be a good citizen, and respect the laws of the country
  8. Be a good listener, give your time to people you meet
  9. If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say it all
Wouldn’t you like your child to do all these things, I certainly would? It’s not easy, but it is possible. You just have to remember to be a good role model to your child.

 

 

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.

How do you handle awkward conversations with your teenage children? Just ‘Grasp the Nettle’!

No conversation is a bad conversation with your child. The discussion may not always be comfortable, and you may be embarrassed to use certain words in front of them. Nevertheless, the fact that you are talking so openly with each other, however awkward it feels, it is a good conversation to have.

Don’t be afraid to discuss with your children such topics as your daughters first period, or when they should start having sex. No subject should be taboo, particularly for a father. You are just as important to them as their mother, so it is right that everything can be discussed and spoken about with both of you.

Choose your moment to start the conversation, for example, at supper when you are all relaxed, or just chatting in the kitchen. Relate your own experiences to your child, as it will make you more normal and show her that you know what you are talking about.

By doing this, you will ensure that no barriers to communication are ever put up between you. This is very important, and you will see that during the teenage years, when there is so much self doubt going on in your child’s head, you become an even better Father to them.

The more open the communication between you and your children, the higher the quality of relationship you will have with them. It will then be even more enjoyable for you both. It will also give you more credibility with them, as they get older.

If your Child asks you a question, you must always listen to them.

If your child asks you a question, it is because it is important to them at that particular moment and they need an answer from you. As it is important to them, you must listen carefully to what your child is saying and then give them an honest answer.

How many times have you heard your children say “You never listen to me”, particularly when they are teenagers. Well you can help avoid this frustration in those later years, by starting early. Always make the effort to stop what you are doing and listen to your child and then answer them.

Of course your answer has to be appropriate for their age, but don’t make the mistake of lying to them. It is very important that you are always honest with your children. They need to know what really goes on in the world they are living in.

By always responding to your child’s question, you will be letting them know that their contribution to the family is valued and important, and this will pay enormous dividends when they get older.

It will also convey the subliminal message to them that they need to listen to you when you ask them a question. The dynamics in your family will improve and you will have a much more harmonious family unit as a result.

 

How do you find out what goes on in your Children’s lives when they are not with you? Introduce a simple routine at supper time for the whole family.

I’m sure that you have wondered about what happened today to your child. Why is he/she so quiet this evening? Why whenever you ask “how was your day?”, he/she says “fine”, and that’s the end of it! And it doesn’t matter what age your children are…….

I always thought this was a serious problem to solve, and I believe I have done this. It will definitely work for you with your children. This strategy helped me hugely when my children were younger, and it can help you. If you start right when your child is very young, it will continue to work for you as your child gets older and into the teenage years.

To start, you need to be very disciplined and encourage your child to participate. Every supper time when you all sit down together, play “Best and Worst”. This is when you all describe to the other family members the best part of your day and also the worst. Everyone is relaxed, so everyone is happy to do this, including you as their Dad.

While you all sit together, there is a captive audience, and you will be amazed at what you learn. I learnt about bullying at school, and my children learnt about what happened at my work. Your children are eager to know what you do, and love sharing with you what they do with you. Try it, and see what happens, and let me know what unexpected things you learn.