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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2 Words + 3 Words = 1 Word

     ~ the secret to happiness ~ 

Last week I chatted with two girls – best friends.

I asked them: “What’s the next big thing coming up that you’re excited about?” This is one of my favourite questions. It always unlocks a world of stories and potential mentoring topics.

One girl started, “Camping! We always go camping at Easter.”

“Cool,” I said, “Who is going with you?”

“Everyone! My family. My cousins. My grandparents.” Then she turned to look at the other girl. “And my best friend!”

“Wow!” I said to the other girl, “You get to go camping with her family! That’s cool.”

“Not just me!” She said, “My family comes, too. We do it every year.”

“That sounds like fun!” I laughed. “Do you go camping often?”

They both nodded their heads. 

Then the first girl’s eyes teared up. “But you know what?”

I saw something big coming. I leaned forward and focused on her eyes. “What?”

“Sometimes, my parents leave me with my grandparents,” her voice was a shaky whisper as she confessed, “and they go on holiday without me.”

“By themselves?” I said quietly.

She nodded.

“That’s AWESOME!” I nearly shouted, throwing my hands up in the air. “Do you know what that means?”

Scowling at my joy, she said, “What?”

“They love each other!” I clasped my hands together. “Am I right?”

“Yes,” she said, smiling sheepishly. “They always say that.”

“And they are proving it, by spending time together.” I said, “They are keeping their love alive and keeping your family strong by going away together. You are one lucky girl!”

“I am?” She looked happier, hopeful even.

“Yes, you are!” I leaned back in my chair. “You both are.”

“Your parents know the secret to happiness!” I cupped my hands together like they held a surprise. “Do you want to know the secret?” I peeked in my hands. “I have it here in my hands.”

“Yes,” they both said, excited.

“Repeat after me,” I said as I lifted my cupped hands up to my ear and paused to listen.

“I’m sorry!” I said.

“I’m sorry!” They both repeated.

My hands shook like there was something trying to get out. “Oh, there’s more to the secret!” I held it up to my ear.

I smiled. “I forgive you!”

“I forgive you!” They laughed, repeating me.

“Those five little words are the secret to happiness.” I said, “Your parents obviously know them well. I’m guessing they taught those words to you, already.”

Both girls nodded.

“You are the luckiest girls in the whole school.”

“We are?”


Monday, March 12, 2018

Time for Self-Care

Self-care is choosing to actively spend time maintaining your overall health and happiness. Taking care of yourself leads to holistic healthiness – body, mind, social and spiritual wellbeing.

Daily Time: Find daily time for yourself. Start small. One nurturing activity each day will lead to beneficial long-term results.

Weekly Time: Switch off the technology and spend time with your family for an entire day each weekend. A day disconnected from work each week greatly benefits the health and well-being of both you and your family.

Group Time: Join a club that meets regularly. Spending time with peers doing something you love will increase your friendships which is proven to add years to your life!

Annual Time: A yearly holiday away from home, work, school and all the other responsibilities of everyday life is important for both you and your family. It doesn’t need to be expensive or distant, just get away and spend time having fun with those you love.

A happier healthier you improves relationships with family, friends and workmates.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Self-Calming Techniques

We all get overwhelmed. We could be angry, frustrated, anxious, tired or even hungry. Here are some simple strategies to help regain your calm. Learn them and teach them to your children.

1. Breathe. Fill your lungs as deeply as you can. Breathe out slowly.
2. Listen. Think/talk about three things you can hear in your environment. 
3. Look. Name five things you see around you. 
4. Draw. Doodle on a piece of paper for a few minutes.
5. Release. Make a tight fist, then release it.
6. Count. Slowly count to ten. 
7. Imagine. Take a mental holiday. Imagine every detail.

Some self-calming techniques will work better than others. Try each with your child. Talk about how each one affects you. Not only will you learn some better self-awareness and self-calming skills, you’ll get to know each other better.