Many tweens and teens are very, very sad at the moment. School term is now finished and it’s time for them to go home indefinitely, with no clear understanding of when they will see their friends again. Most know that they will be home-schooled next term. Others know that their
This week I have again gathered THE BEST resources for tweens and teens that I can find. I have chosen the following categories: General parenting during COVID-19 Purposeful conversations Things to entertainment Things to keep tweens and teens moving Connecting during isolation Child protection during this time (PROFESSIONALS PLEASE READ THIS
The feeling of packing your bags up and heading home is always bittersweet, especially if it wasn’t in the original plan. Sometimes we head home because we have failed, or the journey has become too tough. Sometimes we head home because we feel disillusioned or lost. Sometimes we head
Firstly, I want to send you a big virtual hug to families within Australia and overseas. My special thoughts go to those who are feeling overwhelmed, have lost their income or have family or friends whose health is fragile. I want to be as helpful as possible during this time.
Many years ago my two primary school aged sons and I witnessed a very public domestic violence incident at a local supermarket. A male and female were furiously fighting over who would take two young children home with them. All the commotion had attracted a huge crowd of people, many
You may (or may not) buy your tween or teen a Valentine’s Day gift to remind them that they are loved and cherished. Flowers, chocolates and dinner dates are all traditions that some families adopt in order to nurture the identify of their girls. Having a father or father
It’s the shock of the diagnosis. It’s the unknowns. It’s the instant shift of priorities. It’s the tiny, unavoidable practicalities. It’s the kids. It’s a LOT about the kids! It’s the fear of losing someone who you have wrapped your life around. It’s facing mortality. It’s feeling so out of
12 months ago my son came to my husband and I with an “idea”. Year 12 had finished. The safety of school was over. Schoolies was well and truly done (thank goodness). He was faced with the big decision of what to do with 8 hours, five days a week.
To the girl who is apprehensive about the new school year. I get it. I remember the knot in my stomach when school wasn’t the fun and exciting place it was promised to be. I remember the night before school started, wondering whether my friends would be happy to
When my own children hit their tween years, I erred on the side of caution. I said “no” a lot. No to hanging around the wrong crowd. No to underage drinking. No to the wild parties. In my role at work I was daily dealing with teenagers who were sexting,
November 2019, 12.30pm. My husband’s phone rang. It was the phone call that no parent wants to receive. My son and his mate had been involved in a major car accident on the highway nearby our house. Without too much discussion my husband pulled on his shoes and raced out
I’ve often found myself talking to my husband about our children like they were aliens from another planet, different from any other child on earth; and someone that no one in the world would understand, accept me. It’s very easy for parents to fool themselves into thinking that their children
National statistics tell us that 49% of young people (9 – 24) have sent a sexually suggestive image and 67% of young people have received one. Like many traditionally teenage issues, they are now making an appearance in primary school and we are faced with thinking about prevention and education
Michelle when should I allow my daughter to have a phone and social media account? All her friends are on snap chat and Instagram, and she feels like she is missing out. We have talked about buying her a phone at Christmas before she goes to high school. She is
Today was a heavy-hearted day. I was invited to speak to a few hundred year 11 and 12’s about consent. After my presentation a student asked to speak with me, alone, in the school administration building. With door shut, and through floods of tears, she relived memories of being sexually
Today I spoke to a father who was concerned about his children, 9 and 12. They sounded like great kids who were highly connected to him; texting him about their day… and their disagreements. He was an all-in dad. They were so different, like all children are. He had given
Most studies suggest females participate in self-harm at higher rates than males. The Child and Adolescent Self-Harm in Europe CASE Study, which surveyed over 30 000 mainly fifteen and sixteen year old’s, suggests approximately 8% of females as opposed to 5% of males deliberately self-harm. The Self-harm and Suicide in
Do you struggle to give your eldest child the time they need? Do you find that the demands of younger siblings divide and conquer your time? If so, you will love this blog, based on a conversation I recently had with a mum. It started like this…. Me: Hey good to
Please note: For the purpose of this article I have referred to a counsellor as anyone who may be in a supportive role with a young person, including a social worker, doctor, psychologist or mentor. I know how difficult it can be to talk to a tween or teen about
I get asked questions about sibling rivalry almost every time I speak. Why? Well, it is probably because all of our children fight! Although it is a very normal part of growing up, it can often cross a line into damaging territory, especially for younger siblings. Part of our responsibility
Today was a really sad day for me. I saw a little girl who had been viewing pornography for over a year without her parent’s knowledge. She was 7 years old and had asked her parents when she was going to be a teenager, as she wanted ‘boobies’ and a
This topic is deeply personal to me. Why? Because resilience isn’t just a word to me. It’s something that I began to discover in Year 5 and have continued to learn about ever since. As you read my story I hope it reinforces that no matter where your child is
Grumpiness. It’s not overly harmful, just difficult to live with. That’s why every parent needs to be armed with a few tricks to break the cycle before it becomes a hurricane of tension. These ten tips are so effective that I am sure you will come back to them time
Resilience enables our children to be strong and healthy after a difficulty. You may have heard people refer to it as the ‘bounce back’ factor which allows children to recover from trauma or hardship. Yet, cultivating resilience isn’t just about what children do in the difficult times. It is more
I don’t think that comparisons are always a bad thing. Comparisons can give us accurate perceptions about our strengths and weaknesses, and insights into our character. Natalie, learnt a tremendous amount through comparing herself to her friend. Let me explain by sharing this story. Natalie’s friend Isabella was chosen for
Have you ever sat at your child’s end of year graduation and hopefully waited for them to receive an award? You may have felt incredibly disappointed when they were over looked or left unacknowledged. As a society (and unfortunately often in schools too) we celebrate big accomplishments. We celebrate these
Self-harm is something that is very difficult for caring adults to comprehend. It is also difficult for young people to explain, which makes initial conversations very hard. That’s why any conversation about self-harm needs to be approached calmly and carefully. It’s a big (perhaps unrealistic) ask for parents to stay
When parents first find out their tween or teen has engaged in any risk taking behaviour, they usually re-evaluate their parenting strategies and styles. Sometimes this means they make big changes to the way they are managing and monitoring their young person and technology in the home, especially when social
There really is an anxiety epidemic impacting today’s young ones. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue they face, making up about half of all mental illness in our country. Interestingly, 7.7% of girls aged 12 – 17-year-old have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Everywhere I go parents and teachers
When parents ask me how to handle a son who is aggressively pushing back against his dad, or a daughter who is screaming the house down determined to get her own way, I have two golden words of advice – SOFT and CLOSE. It goes against the innate instinct of
Given 963 million people go to bed hungry every night and 150 million children between the ages of under 14 years old are engaged in child labour worldwide we can safely say that our (Australian) teens’ lives aren’t comparatively that bad. “Try convincing my daughter of that!” one mum recently
Many years ago a mother dragged her daughter to my office. When I say dragged I mean literally dragged. Emily was far from happy about the experience. As her mother introduced herself and the situation, Emily busied herself by yawning, looking around the room and rolling her eyes. The more
Like many parents you have probably spent the last thirteen years deliberately investing into your child’s development. From the moment they entered the world, parenting became your priority. You may have taken time off work, existed without sleep, laboriously supervised homework and monitored piano practise. You may not have been
I caught up with a mum over coffee this afternoon. She shared with me this gem, which is a great example of letting children build their own life from the ground up. She said, ‘I don’t want the first decision my kids make (independently) to be whether they should get
It’s true. Some things are only understood once I was a parent. Having a child changed the way I assessed risk and made decisions. I noticed that I always drove more cautiously when my baby was in the car. I was more attentive to my own health issues. I even
“Our poor little girl is being called dumb. She’s becoming really anxious about going to school. It breaks my heart to see her change like this. I thought you might be able to help us?” I’ve received many, many messages similar to this one. In this case, a ten-year-old girl
When parents first find out that their child is self-harming they usually feel alone. They often come to the conclusion that their child must ‘weird’ or ‘extreme’ and possibly the only one who is struggling in this way. After all, it’s not something that many parents admit to dealing with
Research conducted by Mission Australia in 2011 shows that 60% of teenagers still choose to talk to their parents about the issues that matter to them. However, most parents I share this statistic with wish their teenager spoke to them more often. A report written by Dianne Mckard, PhD suggests
When you and I were young, it was unlikely we ever had to support a friend who was self-harming, simply because self-harm was not talked about as openly. Today, young people are highly educated when it comes to mental health, and with the accessibility to each other through technology, friends
I recently received this question from a mum who found herself in a dilemma after snooping: ‘I read my daughter’s journal a few days ago, and I found out that she was self-harming. I was SO SHOCKED!!! She has been using my nail scissors in the bathroom which always go
If you have discovered that your child is self-harming you will be feeling a range of emotions – angry, sadness, frustration, disappointment or even plain old numb! Each of these are a very normal and understandable part of grieving for a child who is struggling. This article is dedicated to
Here are two emails I recently received which share parents’ concerns about their daughter’s body image. Hello Michelle, Love your blog and have your book, thank you. I have an adorable 12 year old daughter and she is starting to have doubts about her appearance just as she leaves for
Knowing how to manage emotions and comfort ourselves when we are unhappy or distressed is a skill that can take a long time to learn. Even grown adults look for someone else to comfort and rescue them. Why? It takes self-perception to find strategies that truly work, because we are
I learnt so much about gratitude from my father, who, to this day, is the most optimistic person I know. When I was growing up he would bounce out of bed every morning, whistling at the top of his voice. He would make eggs for breakfast while saying, “What a
It is normal for pre-teens and teens to experience a rollercoaster ride of friendship highs and lows as they search for their place in the world. (Heck, can’t you remember the revolving pecking order in middle school!) But, the friendship experience is definitely more challenging for some than others. The
Question 1: What Expectations Should I Put in Place? Even though you can’t control what your teenager does when they are away from you (don’t you wish they came with a remote control?), there should be some clear guidelines of how you expect them to behave. Holding teens to
For many years I ran a successful charity that supported young people and their families for 20 years. During that time parents whose children seemed to be struggling would consistently ask me the same question – “What do I do? When do I let go and when do I step
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