Confidence Building



    After 8 years of working with teenagers (male and female) I wanted to put together a few thoughts for parents – from the teenagers perspective. Many of these thoughts we may not think about but we do need to. There are many stressors in parenting teenagers today but there are many ways to make this experience a more positive one for the parent and the teenager. There will never be anyone more important than you in your teenagers life (not always visible!) but it is true. Think of your own relationship with your mother/father – was it the way you wanted it to be, were there things you would have liked her/him to do differently – learn from your own upbringing. It is never too late to make changes.

    When I work one to one with teens they do tend to be very honest about their feelings, their pressures, their stressors in life. I came across an article from Psychology Today that I am also using as it resonated with me. Together there are some very valid realistic points here, I hope it helps!

    Teen‘Dont Give up on me. Don’t hate me back. Don’t react to my many moods, I need you to be stronger than me. When my room is a mess – ignore it, it looks how I feel inside. When I give out and tell you that you are the worst parent ever, that I hate you, I never mean it – I always need you to be a parent first. I need your love, your understanding, your knowledge more than you will ever know. I know I can be very hard to live with but I need you to know there are days when my head feels like it is going to explode, days when I doubt everything about me, days when social media makes me question my everything, it can be so confusing. My feelings get hurt at school, by teachers, guidance counsellors but mostly by other students. I don’t always tell you because sometimes I feel ashamed that it effects me so much. I know you are mad at me. I don’t blame you. Sometimes I say such mean horrible things to you. I push you away and stop talking to you. I try to
    remember when this started, I remember a younger happier carefree version of me – what happened, when did everything get so confusing? Please dont’ give up on me. You are the one constant in my life, I need you.

    If I could tell you how to help me, this is what I would say:

    1. Take my electronics away – am I addicted?  Yes I am. I try to put my phone down but I can’t. I am so tired of being available all of the time online. Social Media is a new drug, we are all addicted to it and so many of us are getting lost in it. I will fight with you but please just do it – I need YOU to set limits on technology for me.

    2. Don’t yell at me – I know how hard it is not to yell at me – I know how frustrated you may be but please try to talk to me and not to yell at me – there are so many noises in my head already. When you yell it makes me feel so sad, I believe you are so disappointed in me, you are so sick of me. I question do you still love me?

    3. Give me space – I am a teenager, I need alone time – I need space. That is what teenagers crave. Please try to remember what you felt like when you were a teenager? Some things have not changed that much. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with me because I spend so much time in my room – Im reading, listening to music, chatting to my friends, don’t worry so much please. I know you hear all the horror stories about teens spending too much time in their bedrooms but you ‘know’ me better than anyone. Im just taking time out.

    4. Stop spoiling me – I need to understand life – the ups and the downs. I know you are doing the best for me but sometimes the best for me is;
    -letting me learn from my mistakes,
    -helping me to understand the value of money by giving me jobs to do if I want something,
    -teaching me life skills to prepare me for living life independently,
    -all of these will make me feel more capable and stronger in myself. I need to learn to be independent – to feed myself, wash my clothes, make decisions, have opinions. Please help me to feel stronger, more capable and more self reliant – if you don’t, who will?

    5. Find me someone I can talk to (that isn’t you) – there are somethings I cannot talk to you about. When you were my age could you talk to your mum/dad about everything? I need another adult to look up to, to open up to, to help me to see myself more clearly. Someone who is not part of my immediate family. Just another ear and another voice that I can learn from and express myself to. Sometimes I have things in my life that I need to talk about but because you are my mum/dad I may feel embarrassed, or feel that I have left you down or believe that you might be disappointed in me. Do you understand? It is not about you (because you are wonderful) this is about me.

    6. Tell me that you love me-I know you presume I ‘know’ you love me but honestly mum/dad I need to hear the words. I may pretend and act like I don’t care but I do care, I care more than anything. You are and will always be the most important person in my life and I love you. You are the person I rely on every day, you are my rock. In a world where sometimes I can feel so lost and alone at times – I know I have you.

    My rant is over, please take it for what it is. I know parenting is really hard and frustrating but you are an amazing parent and I love you. Please remember through all the fights and arguments I see ‘everything’ you do for me and I appreciate it more than you will ever know.( I know I could show you more).

    Love your frustrating, hormonal, moody, angry (at times) daughter/son who is trying to find her/his way in a very confusing, busy, overloaded world. She/he loves you very much.


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    With teen mental health deteriorating over five years, there ’s a likely culprit November 14, 2017 2.36pm GMT (The

    Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.

    In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.
    In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.
    What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.
    All signs point to the screen
    Because the years between 2010 to 2015 were a period of steady economic growth and falling unemployment, it’s unlikely that economic malaise was a factor. Income inequality was (and still is) an issue, but it didn’t suddenly appear in the early 2010s: This gap between the rich and poor had been widening for decades. We found that the time teens spent on homework barely budged between 2010 and 2015, effectively ruling out academic pressure as a cause.
    However, according to the Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership crossed the 50 percent threshold in late 2012 – right when teen depression and suicide began to increase. By 2015, 73 percent of teens had access to a smartphone.
    Not only did smartphone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online was linked to mental health issues across two different data sets. We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent only one hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online.
    Of course, it’s possible that instead of time online causing depression, depression causes more time online. But three other studies show that is unlikely (at least, when viewed through social media use).
    Two followed people over time, with both studies finding that spending more time on social media led to unhappiness, while unhappiness did not lead to more social media use. A third randomly assigned participants to give up Facebook for a week versus continuing their usual use. Those who avoided Facebook reported feeling less depressed at the end of the week.
    The argument that depression might cause people to spend more time online doesn’t also explain why depression increased so suddenly after 2012. Under that scenario, more teens became depressed for an unknown reason and then started buying smartphones, which doesn’t seem too logical.
    What’s lost when we’re plugged in
    Even if online time doesn’t directly harm mental health, it could still adversely affect it in indirect ways, especially if time online crowds out time for other activities.
    For example, while conducting research for my book on iGen, I found that teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide. We found that teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed. Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health (in-person social interaction) and more time on activities that may harm it (time online).
    Teens are also sleeping less, and teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely to not be getting enough sleep. Not sleeping enough is a major risk factor for depression, so if smartphones are causing less sleep, that alone could explain why depression and suicide increased so suddenly.
    Depression and suicide have many causes: Genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma can all play a role. Some teens would experience mental health problems no matter what era they lived in.
    But some vulnerable teens who would otherwise not have had mental health issues may have slipped into depression due to too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep or a combination of all three.
    It might be argued that it’s too soon to recommend less screen time, given that the research isn’t completely definitive. However, the downside to limiting screen time – say, to two hours a day or less – is minimal. In contrast, the downside to doing nothing – given the possible consequences of depression and suicide – seems, to me, quite high.
    It’s not too early to think about limiting screen time; let’s hope it’s not too late.

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    We want our kids to be happy, successful, healthy and safe – this is a natural wish for every parent. But the reality is ‘there are no guarantees – except for those we wish were not there’.
    Despite our hopes, prayers, and best endeavours the only guarantees we have are;
    no matter what we do, our children will experience pain and loss, they will be disappointed in life, they will make mistakes, they will be let down, they will get sick, they will miss out, they will be lied to, they will get sad………

    Even though we want to give our children a life without hardship, we know it is impossible. What we can do though, is make them resilient, teach them how to deal with life’s ups and downs. We do our kids no favours making their lives too easy – we cannot protect them from ‘life’ and the many challenges they will face growing up.

    By making our kids resilient we can tilt the balance in our child’s favour. We have to teach them to take responsibility for their actions, teach them the importance of sticking up for their values, show by example how to cope with the many difficult situations we all face on a daily basis. Show them you believe in them and support them, even if you may not agree with their choices all the time. Our children are not ‘us’, they are a separate identity, with original thoughts and ideas. A person with their own dreams and goals to achieve, this can be very hard for some parents to accept. Try not making the mistake of wanting your children to live your dreams, allow them to find their own so they can make their own mark in life – this is the true road to happiness and success. I see so many teenagers and young adults trying to ‘please’ their parents but at a very big cost – allow them to find their own way in life, support them, trust them and believe in them and you will not go wrong.

    Parenting is the hardest, most frustrating, infuriating, emotional job in the world but can also be be the most rewarding, wonderful and heartfelt job too, that gives our life extra meaning and purpose.


    “Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.”

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    “Don’t try so hard to fit in and certainly don’t try so hard to be different, just try to be you.”

    I recently ran a workshop ‘Have a Positive Transition from Primary to Secondary School’ with a 6th class mixed group. I wanted to share this with you as it can be a big worry for many kids. The things the kids were looking forward to about starting 1st year and they things they were worried about.

    Things they were looking forward to:

    Different teachers
    Lots of new friends
    Different subjects
    New uniform
    Having a canteen

    Things they were worried about; (some overlapped!)

    Different teachers – having a teacher who didn’t like them
    Finding it hard to make friends
    Homework – nervous of not being able to cope
    Lockers – nervous about getting books from lockers on time
    Getting lost in a big school
    Exams (this came up a lot)
    If you have an older child, try to get them to go through some of these points. They may seem trivial to an older sibling or parent but they are important to the 12/13 year old starting into a new school.

    Help them to understand the importance of doing ‘their’ best and whether that ‘best’ is a D, C, B or A is irrelevant – once it is their best. Academia is important but so is friendship, family, past-times, mental and physical health. President of UCD recently commented on the number of 11 A students finishing school who cannot cope with life, cannot communicate, have no interests and few friends – this is not the ideal scenario for any of our kids. Balance is so important – try to remember academia is only one aspect of your child’s life.

    Help them to understand that many kids don’t make friends straight away – that is normal. When I work with 5th year students and ask them when do they think students make their ‘real’ friends in secondary school, the answer is always the same – 3rd or 4th year. This is really important as kids feel there is something ‘wrong’ with them if they haven’t found their ‘group’ in 1st year.

    Your 1st year student may be totally stressed out in the mornings because their hair is not right or their uniform is dirty or something else we, the parent, may think is not important but PLEASE remember, to them it IS important or else they would not be upset about it. Try to remember when you were starting secondary school;
    what were you nervous about
    what was important to you
    it is very easy to forget what it is like to be a 13 year old starting into a new phase of life.
    For some kids this will happen without a hitch, for others there may be a few pitfalls along the way. This is an age group I work with a lot so feel free to email me with any concerns you may have and I will do my best to support you.

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    What did we do for fun when we were kids?

    Did we come home from school, spend 1/2 hours on homework and then take to the screen (phone, tablet, laptop)?
    Did we spend hours during our holidays chatting with our friends online, playing games online,
    relying on internet to communicate and entertain ourselves?
    Did we lean much of our behaviour and language from online games and shows?

    Little did we know the hours we spent building tree houses (not necessarily in trees), making up imaginary games with our friends or at times on our own, climbing trees, cycling our, walking half a mile to our friends house, baking cakes with mum (dad!!) or playing house for hours, truly believing those dolls were real babies – all of these activities taught us something.

    The benefits to this type of play;
    we learnt how to use our imagination
    we played how to play with our friends by using our imaginations
    we learnt how to beat our fears and eventually succeed in climbing that tree
    to entertain ourselves without the help of technology
    to be kids, to have fun, to be ourselves, to take chances and to be brave.

    What has happened over the past 15/20 years. Kids need to have freedom to develop
    emotionally and psychologically, they need to play with each other to learn the meaning of winning and losing and taking chances, they need freedom to learn how to be brave and to cope when things might not work out, kids need time without parents, to learn who they really are. We have become so obsessed with safety, work, academia and money and sometimes
    over parenting that many of our kids are losing out. Kids need to be allowed to feel independent (age relative), to stretch their limits and be allowed to fall occasionally but they will always pick themselves up – they are very resilient little people – if they are allowed to be.

    Try to encourage you daughter to climb that tree, to play on that new swing in the playground – without automatically warning her of the dangers. We tend to be more careful with girls, why is that? – some of the strongest, bravest people I know are women. If we want to raise brave
    confident, successful, happy kids, we need to teach them and allow them to be brave, to try new things, to make mistakes and more importantly to teach them how to deal with those mistakes and to learn from them. We must allow them to be themselves even if that may be someone we did not expect (the singer rather than the gaa player, the artist rather than the accountant!). Try to help them to get to know who they really are. Teach them about life without technology and social media. They do need reminding as this is the world they are growing up in – what seems normal to them is not necessarily right. Help them to understand the reality of that online world to be able to balance their online world and their real world. Set age appropriate boundaries in your home, that suit your family, you know your kids better than anyone. But, most importantly, try to ensure that they have ‘time’ to be kids, to play, to explore, to use their imagination, to learn from their mistakes, and to appreciate life.
    Our kids need to be brave and confident to survive this ever changing technologically run world. Try to give them the freedom they need to grow, show them how to enjoy life, to laugh out loud, to beat their fears, to be honest, loyal and trustworthy, show them by example – you will always be your child’s number 1 role model.

    10 Things I Want My Kids To Know –
    1. Be Yourself
    2. Don’t Waste Time Worrying
    3. Appreciate the Little Things
    4. Stand Up For Your Friends & Family
    5. Don’t Whisper About Others
    6. You Are Not Your Emotion
    7. Always Be Willing To Learn
    8. Pick Your Battles
    9. Surround Yourself With Those Who Respect You
    10. Be Brave

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    “I want better education regarding sex for both boys and girls [and] information about pornography, and the way it influences harmful sexual practices.”

    This post comes from an article originally posted on Collective Shout by Melinda Tankard Reist.
    “[I want] better education regarding sex for both boys and girls [and] information about pornography, and the way it influences harmful sexual practices.”
    These are the words of Lucy, aged 15, one of 600 young Australian women and girls who took part in a just-released survey commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch. The survey, conducted by Ipsos, gathered responses from the girls and young women aged 15-19 in all states and territories.
    In the survey report, entitled Don’t send me that pic, participants reported that online sexual abuse and harassment were becoming a normal part of their everyday interactions. And while the behavior seemed so common, more than 80% said it was unacceptable for boyfriends to request naked images.
    Sexual bullying and harassment are part of daily life for many girls growing up as a part of this digital generation. Young girls are speaking out more and more about how these practices have links with pornography—because it’s directly affecting them.
    Pornography is molding and conditioning the sexual behaviors and attitudes of boys, and girls are being left without the resources to deal with these porn-saturated boys.
    If there are still any questions about whether porn has an impact on young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors, perhaps it’s time to listen to young people themselves. Girls and young women describe boys pressuring them to provide acts inspired by the porn they consume routinely. Girls tell of being expected to put up with things they don’t enjoy.
    Some see sex only in terms of performance, where what counts most is the boy enjoying it. I asked a 15-year-old about her first sexual experience. She replied: “I think my body looked OK. He seemed to enjoy it.” Many girls seem cut off from their own sense of pleasure or intimacy. The main marker of a “good” sexual encounter is only if he enjoyed it. Girls and young women are under a lot of pressure to give boys and men what they want, to become a real life embodiment of what the boys have watched in porn, adopting exaggerated roles and behaviors and providing their bodies as mere sex aids. Growing up in today’s porn culture, girls quickly learn that they are service stations for male gratification and pleasure.
    When asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” an 8th grade girl replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].” A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys. A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.
    7th grade girls are increasingly seeking help on what to do about requests for naked images. Receiving texts like “send me a picture of your tits” is an almost daily occurrence for many young girls. The girl asks: “How do I say no without hurting his feelings?”
    As the Plan Australia/Our Watch report found, girls are tired of being pressured for images they don’t want to send, but they seem resigned to send them anyways because of how normal the practice has become. Boys then typically use the images as a form of currency, to swap and share with their friends. Often times boys will use the revealing pics to humiliate girls publicly if there is a bad break up.
    7th grade girls are asking questions about bondage and S&M. Many of them have seen 50 Shades of Grey, and wonder if a boy wants to hit me, tie me up and stalk me, does that mean he loves me? Girls are tolerating demeaning and disrespectful behaviors, and thereby internalizing pornography’s messages about their submissive role.
    Girls describe being groped in the school yard, and being routinely sexually harassed at school or on the school bus on the way home. They are saying that boys act like they are entitled to girls’ bodies, like girls are only there to pleasure them. It is partially true what defenders of porn often say, porn does provide sex education—but not in the way they think. It teaches middle school boys that women and girls are there for his pleasure and that they are always up for sex. To them, no just means persuade me.
    Girls describe being ranked at school on their bodies, and are sometimes compared to the bodies of porn stars. They know they can’t compete, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking that they have to. Requests for genital surgery have tripled in a little over a decade among young women aged 15-24. Girls who don’t undergo porn-inspired waxing are often considered ugly, dirty, or gross by boys, as well as by other girls.
    Some girls suffer physical injury from porn-inspired sexual acts, including anal sex. The director of a domestic violence centre on the Gold Coast wrote to Collective Shout about the increase in porn-related injuries to girls aged 14 and up, from acts including torture:
    “In the past few years we have had a huge increase in intimate partner rape of women from 14 to 80+. The biggest common denominator is consumption of porn by the offender. With offenders not able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, believing women are ‘up for it’ 24/7, ascribing to the myth that ‘no means yes and yes means anal,’ oblivious to injuries caused and never ever considering consent. We have seen a huge increase in deprivation of liberty, physical injuries, torture, drugging, filming and sharing footage without consent.”
    The Australian Psychological Society estimates that adolescent boys are responsible for around 20% of rapes of adult women and between 30% and 50% of all reported sexual assaults of children. Just last week, Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs argued that online pornography is turning children into copycat sexual predators, acting out on other children what they are seeing in porn.
    A 2012 review of research on “The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents” found that adolescent consumption of internet porn was linked to attitudinal changes, including acceptance of male dominance and female submission as the primary sexual paradigm, with women viewed as “sexual playthings eager to fulfill male sexual desires.” The authors found that “adolescents who are intentionally exposed to violent sexually explicit material were six times more likely to be sexually aggressive than those who were not exposed.”
    The proliferation and globalization of hypersexualized imagery and pornographic themes makes healthy sexual exploration almost impossible. Sexual conquest and domination are untempered by the bounds of respect, intimacy and authentic human connection. Young people are not learning about intimacy, friendship and love, but about cruelty and humiliation. As a recent study found:
    “Online mainstream pornography overwhelmingly centered on acts of violence and degradation toward women, the sexual behaviors exemplified in pornography skew away from intimacy and tenderness and typify patriarchal constructions of masculinity and femininity.”
    It is intimacy and tenderness that so many girls and young women say they are looking for. But how will young women find these sensual, slow-burn experiences in men indoctrinated by pornography? Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says of young men: “They don’t know the language of face to face contact … Constant arousal, change, novelty excitement makes them out of sync with slow developing relationships – relationships which build slowly.”
    Most importantly, it’s young people themselves demanding change. Josie, 18, is quoted in the Plan Australia/Our Watch report:
    “We need some sort of crack down on the violent pornography that is currently accessible to boys and men. This violent pornography should be illegal to make or view in Australia as we clearly have a problem with violence and boys are watching a lot of pornography which can be very violent … This is influencing men’s attitude towards women and what they think is acceptable. Violent pornography is infiltrating Australian relationships.”
    Girls like Lucy and Josie deserve our response. It is wrong to leave sexual formation in the hands of the global sex industry. We need to do more to help young people stand up against warped notions of sexuality conveyed in pornography.
    Fight the New Drug is all about pro-love and pro-healthy sexuality. That is why we are anti-porn. Porn is full of ideals and beliefs that are completely opposite of what real relationships, real sex, and real love are like. Healthy relationships are built on equality, honesty, respect, and love. But in porn, it’s the reverse; interactions are based on domination, disrespect, abuse, violence, and detachment. Our generation is the first to deal with the issue of pornography to this intensity and scale. And, as we’ve seen with today’s society, if we don’t take a stand, the problem is only going to get worse and worse. By being informed and understanding porn’s harmful effects, we can make a much needed change to our perceptions about love, sex, and relationships.
    not trying to ban porn

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    Is your child/teenager addicted to their phone? Does their phone rule or do they take control of their phone?

    I recently ran a workshop on Self-Development with a group of 6th year students in Co. Laois. I would like to share some of my findings which are very relevant to any parent with kids of any age. This was a mixed group – males and females aged 17/18 years of age.

    Question asked;
    Do you think your phone/gamine effects your study?
    Yes because once you start using it you never get off it and waste hours
    -Yes sometimes I loose track of time and I am then too tired or its too late to study
    -Yes it is distracting when your friends message you, you feel you have to reply straight away
    -Yes playing too much ultimate geam
    -Yes because you are constantly checking it which effects my concentration

    Up to 95% said their phones effected their study. We spoke at length about how they could change this and what would happen if they did/did not make some changes now. (4 months before Leaving Cert Examination)

    They really were very open to taking on change. They admitted they never really thought about the effects their phone was having on their lives – study, family, past-times, but they will now.

    Question asked;
    Do you think this workshop might encourage you to make any positive changes in your life?
    yes, to turn off my phone when I am studying
    -yes, to take my phone out of my bedroom at night
    -yes, to find a balance between my real life and my virtual life
    -yes, I feel motivated to study
    -yes, not to rely on my phone so much
    -yes, to set goals for myself and follow them through
    -yes, to try harder at training and switch off my phone

    My point is, in all the workshops I run, the students are so open to change. I really believe they do not think about the negative effects of their phones, as they have grown up believing this is the only way to live (phone constantly in their hands). They need to come to this realisation themselves, when they decide to turn their phones off themselves because they understand the negative effects of it, they have a good chance of sticking to it.  When they are ‘told’ to turn their phone off for study, this is when the battles begin.  We spoke about the effect of phones on family life, past-times, fitness, friendships, sleep, values and strengths – our kids need life skills, they need to learn how to control their phones, take control of their lives. We, their parents, can help them to do this from a very early age. We have to set boundaries for them and stick to them. Will there be arguments? yes. Will there be tantrums? yes. But this is part of our parenting job now. We have to support and help our kids to have a balance in their lives, to understand the world offline and to try to take part in it as much as possible.
    I would love to see Self-development modules become part of our curriculum from a very early age as our kids are growing up in a very fast paced, changing technological run world and they do need help and support to live in it in a more positive, healthy way.

    Please contact me should you have any questions relating to the above. Eileen

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    Having worked with 8yr-18yr for the past 6 years, I have put together a few tips that may help your parenting skills. Learning what is going on in the heads of tweens and teens over the past number of years helps me to stay up to date on the many issues and problems they may face.

    I am also the mum of 4 daughters (12yr – 20 yr), there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way but I have learnt what battles to pick, what is most important to them, what may add fuel to the fire during the many disagreements along the way, and how important it is to keep communication open and mutual trust at any cost.

    Adolescents need to establish themselves as their own person – separate to but part of the family, connected to but independent from their parents. I have learnt many lessons from my own mistakes – after all this is how we all learn!


    Parenting a tween/teen means facing many issues that can either result in all our war or maybe less reaction and more understanding, can result in a peaceful solutinon. Try to remember what was important to you at their age, fitting in, feeling grown up and responsible, thinking you knew it all, believing your parents could not possibly understand what you are going through (they rarely believe we were ever teenagers). Try to pick the battles that really matter – take a breath before you launch in with your words of wisdom. I understand this is not easy but it really does make a huge difference.



    Without trust the relationship between parent and tween/teen is very tricky. Trust is the bond that keeps the relationship strong. I would suggest your trust your own child (regardless of other peoples opinions) until they give you a reason not to. Talk to them about the importance of trust within your family. When tweens/teens believe you do not trust them, they feel they have nothing to break, when they believe you do trust them they are less likely to break that trust. I see this over and over again – setting boundaries (realistic to their age group) and sticking to them helps the child to understand their boundaries. You know your child better than anyone else, if they have never given you a reason not to trust them – why would you question their trust.


    Communication is vital to any relationship – this is the same for the parent-child relationship, try to keep communication open at all costs. When you cannot speak to them, text them, write to them – it does not matter how you communicate to them once you do communicate. They are at a stage when they want to feel independent, capable of making decisions on their own, testing their boundaries – this is all ‘normal’ behaviour for a tween/teen. Their behaviour and the person is not the same thing. Try to separate the behaviour (typical to their age group) and the person. They are going through so many changes, physically, emotionally and psychologically, they are very often on emotional overload. This causes the irrational behaviour, silly decisions – try to separate the two, let a lot of the irrational behaviour go over your head and try to understand what might really be going on;
    did they have a tough day at school
    did they have an argument with a friend
    has their skin broken out (big deal to them)
    are they over tired
    are they stressed from exams
    are they lonely/not fitting in with they peer group
    It is so important that you try to see beyond the behaviour and cut them a bit of slack. Im not saying accept rudeness or lack of respect but the general moodiness, lack of chat – try to ignore.

    Think about what are the values in your family. Explain the need for values and what they mean. This is an area that I work on a lot when working with teenagers – it explains a lot of issues they face when it comes to;
    peer pressure
    family issues
    friendship issues
    Think of your relationship within your home like a tree:
    The roots are the things that hold you together;
    communication – love – trust – responsibility – traditions — whatever is important to your family, the branches are the many changes that will occur during your parenting years but whatever happens if you stick to your values, the roots will remain strong and in tact and will hold you together.

    Parenting is the most important job anyone will ever have and yet the only job that comes without any training – ask for help and supportt, it does make a difference.

    “The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour.
    The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behaviour.”

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