If you look at my Facebook feed over the summer you’ll see the highlights of the season. I love the summer holidays - time with my children, the slower days, seeing friends and the lack of dashing out to school. It’s all true - we make special memories and have a lot of fun. It’s also true that some parts of the summer holidays are difficult, stressful and like every family we have our flash points. You might not see it online, but it doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing. Yo
What's your worst family holiday or day out? A few years ago we paid a significant amount of money to go on a holiday abroad with a combination of our foster and birth children. The place we were going to was familiar and we were excited - we’d had some fantastic holidays there previously. Only this holiday was anything but fantastic. One of our children who hadn’t been before really really struggled. It was really hard being away on holiday with a child who struggled so muc
For those times you wonder if the effort of a day out is worth it... Once upon a time we took one of our teenagers (and friend) on holiday.
We were based on a brilliant site about 40 mins outside Amsterdam - it's got a swimming pool with amazing slides and a theme park on site as well as a whole heap of other activities. We spent the bulk of the week on the site or visiting one of the local beaches. It was great - totally teenage friendly.
As we were so close to Amster
If the relief of the end of the school year is closely follows by the worry of what follows then this 5 minute reflection is for you. The change of routine can be both a welcome relief and the source of a whole heap of other challenges - childcare, extra expense, how to keep everyone entertained, keeping up a steady supply of snacks and negotiating sibling squabbles. It can feel exhausting! This coaching based activity is to help you tap into your wisdom and experience and
10 ideas to help when your family are constantly on a screen or arguing about them! The pull of devices can be strong – not just for children, but the grown ups too. There isn’t a magic formula or fix all. (Sorry!) Throwing out all devices might be tempting at times, but even my 79 year old mother in law acknowledges that, like it or not, they are an unavoidable part of life So if you can’t avoid them, how can you ensure that their benefits outweigh the costs to your family
This topic is huge and I could write so much – I’ve tried to make this as practical as possible because that’s ultimately what it boils down to – how do we positively address the challenges living in a digital age presents in family life? How do we move beyond adding parental controls and hoping it all turns out ok?. This is part 1 which is really about the foundations – about starting to put in place important connection points in the non digital world which mean our child
How often do you get that sinking feeling where you know that you can’t let your child do what they want, but you dread the potential conflict which comes with saying no? Maybe you avoid it and know you’ll have to face that internal (or external) criticism “You shouldn’t let them get away with that” “You’re too soft on them.” Maybe you charge in to get it over and done with and then have to deal with the waves of guilt or shame which come after when you hope the neighbours di
Are you in a family, surrounded by people, yet feeling so alone? Do you crave space and solitude yet also feel desperate for real connection?
Are you full of love and fulfillment from your children yet also have such a big hole where something is missing?
These seemingly opposite sentiments are a common combination for many parents. Despite being surrounded by those who you love more than anything in the world it can, nevertheless, feel very lonely at times and not just du
Guilt. When you become a parent it seems to come with the package. The feeling however much you do it is never enough and that you’re doing something wrong. Whether it’s guilt about how you handled your child’s behaviour, guilt about taking time out, food, routines, work…… There are so many different things which set it off. Now imagine the next time parent guilt hits you are able to ride that wave, gain something useful and then move forward positively. Sounds too good to b
In my blog “From Stress to Success - Positively Handling Conflict In Family Life” I wrote about the importance of preparation and how it can make a significant difference to how a conflict goes. This is something I encourage clients to break into 3 parts – before, during and after as at each stage a different response may be required. Also if you’re in a heightened state in the midst of a conflict neuroscience indicates that your best decisions may be based around what will c
I’ve yet to meet a parent who dreams of the conflicts they’ll have with their child. No one I know aspires to being a shouting, reactive, angry care giver who constantly questions their own decisions. Yet conflict with your child can turn you into a very different version of the parent you imagined you’d be and leave family life a far cry from your original dreams. When you’re choosing paint colours for the nursery it’s hard to imagine your offspring as anything other than a
Spring is here. Lockdown is easing. Days out and time with family and friends (albeit in a snowy garden at times) beckon. Surely we should feel relaxed and happy that life is finally returning to some sort of normality? BUT Have you found you’ve been feeling strangely unsettled or just a bit wobbly lately? Are your children are particularly emotional or their behaviour a little up and down at the moment despite all the nice things you’re doing? Perhaps that lovely day out you
How often do you feel squeezed into doing things aren’t a great fit for you and your family, or worse leave you with a real sense of unease as to whether it’s really right or helpful? I’m not talking about the mundane necessities – doing chores or attending an event you find a little dull. It’s those times when you are battling your child to do something you’re not even convinced is right for them, and deep down you wonder if it’s doing more harm than good, but you feel you h
Ask most parents what they want for their child and the answer is always something to do with being happy, able to make choices, do their best and thrive. Right now, when we’re in lockdown 3.0 and many parents who are hanging on by a fingernail just getting through the day is a challenge. Surviving feels a battle and thriving - that’s just what other people do on social media whilst you limp along just about making it through. In the midst of what has been a tough year for f
The responsibility we feel for our offspring is huge. The potential impact of our choices and behaviours weighs heavy. It’s a frightening thought. If you’re asking the question have I broken/damaged/f****ed up my child then I gently want to challenge you Is this the real question? Perhaps there’s a more helpful way to approach this. Perhaps as you gently explore what can be a very painful question, this might even be the birth place of hope. Press pause on the raging emotions
When your child is struggling in school it can be hard to see the wood for the trees, yet sometimes taking a few steps back to pause, reflect and tap into your expertise can be immensely valuable. If you’ve missed part 1 and 2 I’d encourage you to go back and take a look. We’ve looked at addressing triggers and we’ve asked many questions to gain understanding. We’ve used our wealth of expertise to explore what’s happening and now onto step 3. The next step is often challengin
On this immense journey it can be hard to see the wood for the trees, but today I want to encourage you to take a step back and access the wisdom and expertise you have on your child (probably more than you give yourself credit for) which will help you find the best path forward. Step 1 was all about addressing what’s going on for you so that you’re best placed to support your child, but this doesn’t address the question of how specifically can you help your child when you
How do you begin to put into words how tough it can be at times? At the point where many parents are breathing a sigh of relief as their children are settling back into the routine of school, for you, the stress levels have just escalated. And the whole family are feeling the ripple effects as school stress seeps into home and makes everyday life so much more complex and tumultuous. And you’re working your socks off to support your child, but it’s exhausting and lonely and yo
Right now it’s tough. Really tough. Trying to be all things to everyone – constantly winging your way through this crazy time with none of your usual fail safes. The endless list of daily worries and the fear about what next. Feeling like your worst parenting flaws have been laid bare, whilst others appear to be sailing through on their epic adventure. Unable to stay on top of it all, yet unable to let it go. It’s overwhelming And terrifying And so, so relentless And the guil
The last few days I’ve been watching the news with a roller coaster of emotions. I know for me all the current uncertainty in the world can all too easily trigger a spiral of all sorts of worries. Much of my concerns are over things that I have no control and to which no one has answers. So in those moments I am asking myself the following four questions. I’m sharing them here because if they’re helpful for me then maybe they’re helpful for you too. Many things in life happen