Three amazing teenagers. How did that happen?!? Parenting tips from the pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

‘right back on’

True or False:

__ The girl who broke her arm falling off the bars goes climbing again before her plaster is even off.

__ The boy who fell off his bike and ended up in hospital is riding again the next day.

If you answered true, you know someone who has confidence. If you ask that boy or girl why they are not scared to go back to the thing that hurt them, they will tell you: “Because that’s my favourite thing to do! I fell and I’m OK. I’m not going to fall again but if I do I’ll be OK next time, too.”

Confidence comes from failure not success. The adage that you must get ‘right back on’ the horse when you fall off is not teaching you to conquer the horse. It’s teaching you to conquer your own fear of falling and build a ‘right back on’ attitude which shapes your self-esteem.

If all you’ve had is success, you’ve never got ‘right back on’. Your skill level and confidence level grow the fastest when you’re in a pattern of falling off and climbing back on.

Does this mean you should let your children fail?

More than that! You should congratulate them when they do. “Mate, you just took your skateboarding to the next level!” “Look at all those red marks, your writing skills are growing by leaps and bounds. Keep writing!” “Honey, of course we want to have her over for another play, you forgave each other!”

Failure combined with getting ‘right back on’ – that’s how we build confidence and resilience in ourselves and in our kids. Our example is the greatest parenting tool we have. We have failed many times to get where we are in life. Tell your ‘right back on’ stories to your kids. Let them know, failure and getting ‘right back on’ is what makes us great!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Secret to a Happy Family

Does your family seem to explode at the seams every time you sit together for a few minutes? Have you seen other families having fun together and wondered how they do it?

Or, perhaps you are one of those families who laugh together and wonder why other families have so much trouble getting along. Did you know you have a secret you can share?

Here’s the secret to having a happy family: Planned time together. Sit around the table every night for dinner and talk about your day. Play the ‘story of your day’ game. See how many details you can each remember.

One consistent difference between families that don’t get along and families that do is a schedule with rules. This schedule and rules will be different in every home. But the primary thing that must be scheduled is regular repeated time together with a purpose. Food and fun is a great purpose!

Planning a weekly game night at home and a monthly family night out is a great next step.

At home: Play board games or other interactive activities like puzzles, craft, building something or reading a book aloud.

On your night out: Go for a walk in the park, or play a sport outside, go 10 pin bowling, laser tag or to a trampoline centre. Be creative – it’s all about learning to laugh together!

Change is not easy. If your family has difficulty spending time together, start slow. Try one meal a week with a planned time and purpose (talking). Make a rule: Everybody listens quietly while others speak and can expect to be treated the same when it is there turn. Once this weekly night is working, step it up to every school night. Then every night.

We all learn by repetition. So, get started and keep going.

Soon you’ll be laughing and loving your time together.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Biggest Bully

Bullies hold others down. With their words and with their actions, they tell us what to do and then make us do it.

The biggest bully in most of our lives is not another person. It is a force inside our own minds. For most people, their biggest bully is fear.

­Fear tells us we cannot do things. It says horrible things about us inside our heads where no one else can hear. And, when fear really has a hold on us, we start repeating aloud what we’ve been hearing inside.

Fear can feel like a physical force bullying us away from trying something new. Just as some people cannot walk under a spider or lean over a cliff edge, fear causes all of us to avoid risk.

Fear tells us there is no greater enemy than failure. And yet, anyone who has succeeded at anything great will tell you they failed many times before they succeeded. In fact, if you haven’t failed, it’s because you haven’t tried!

The first step to conquering fear is to let your imagination loose. Dream. Dream big. The time you spend dreaming reprograms your mind to think positive thoughts and begins to replace your fearful thoughts. Research the new thing you want to try. Make a plan. Gather the resources, training or helpers you need.

Then jump! Have a go. Take a shot. And when you fail, say alongside Thomas Edison as he tried to make the first lightbulb, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

Don’t let fear bully you. The first step is always the hardest one. So, be brave and go for it! Chances are, you’ll succeed far before the 10,000th try!