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    confidence building kids


    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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    What is happiness? How can we pass this on to our kids?

    Recent research suggests that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life (for example, finding meaning in your work) and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.
    Think of it like you think about weight: if you eat how you want to and are as active as you want to be, your body will settle at a certain weight. But if you eat less than you’d like or exercise more, your weight will adjust accordingly. If that new diet or exercise regimen becomes part of your everyday life, then you’ll stay at this new weight. If you go back to eating and exercising the way you used to, your weight will return to where it started. So it goes, too, with happiness. You have to train your thoughts and feelings. Try to remember physical and mental health are both important, you cannot have one without the other.  Both need effort to make lasting changes.
    You have the ability to control how you feel—and with consistent practice, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying and fulfilling life. Try to notice when you feel happy –
    Where are you?
    Who are you with?
    What are you doing?
    Remember when you feel happiest and try to do more of it – whether it is spending time with friends or family, spending time at work or playing sport, painting or reading, get to know what makes YOU happy.

    There are too many people (adults and kids) looking for happiness in the wrong places – looking to make money, trying to hang out with the ‘right’ people, getting the ‘good’ jobs, trying to look ‘perfect’(whatever that is), sound ‘perfect’, dress ‘perfect’ – STOP. Social media has a huge impact on what we and our kids perceive as ‘perfect’, perceive as success, perceive as happiness.

    It is when we stop ‘trying’ so hard to fit into a very insecure idea of what can bring us happiness, that we may finally find true happiness. Personally, I know I have distanced myself from people I find negative and people who tend to spend a lot of time bitching and talking about others, because I know I do not feel good when I am with them. I try to spend as much time as I can with people who raise my energy levels, who make me feel warm inside, make me laugh out loud, make me feel safe and secure. Family for me is huge, for me there is no better time than sitting with my family, watching a movie, all cuddled up together on the couch (don’t get me wrong, this is not a daily occurrence) but I know it makes me happy. Spending time with my girlfriends is high up on my list, as I am lucky to have such great people in my life who understand me (most of the time) and who make me laugh out loud. I am extra lucky that I found a job that I am so passionate about. But, of course there will be days when I may feel sad, upset, alone (although I may be surrounded by people), and on these days I try to acknowledge these feelings and try to do something that will help me to lift my energy again to balance myself.
    We will all feel off balance from time to time – (parenting can push our buttons until we feel we could explode), but we need to understand these feelings are very normal. Whether it is family, jobs, friends or society that can bring us down, we have to acknowledge our feelings, so we can learn to deal with them in a positive way and move on.
    Why are so many people unhappy?

    Maybe it is the long grey Winter we have had.
    Maybe it is the far too busy lives we lead.
    Maybe it is the constant trying to be too much to too many.
    Whatever it is, please find someone to talk to – share your feelings out loud – be truly honest with yourself – get professional help if you need to but do NOT let another day go by without talking to someone and acknowledging your feelings. Remember it is ‘normal’ to feel down, to feel lonely, to feel alone, to feel frustrated, to feel confused – the important part is to talk to someone, get the support you need. You have to look after yourself first if you want to be able to support anyone else in your life.
    There are numerous people out there who can help you. You just need to take that first step – no-one can do that for you.
    Try to pass this message onto your kids as they need to understand what ‘real’ happiness means. What ‘normal’ feelings are and how important it is to learn to acknowledge them and to deal with them in a positive way. Talk to them about your feelings as this shows them it is ok to have negative feelings. If everyone was a bit more honest about their true feelings, it just might normalise so much for so many.
    Sometimes we are constantly running around trying to get fit, work hard, look great, be everything to everyone, and this can be a problem if it means we have no down time, no time to sit and talk to our kids, no time to listen to what is going on in their lives, no time to show them and to tell them how much we love them. Take a few minutes and really think about your life; it is never too late to make changes.
    Are you leading the life you want to lead?
    Are you spending enough time with the people who mean most to you?

    Are you making sure you have balance in your life?
    Do you know what is going on in your child’s life?
    Do you spend a few minutes every day talking to them?

    In my job I see a lot of lonely kids, kids who may have it all materialistically but who crave ‘time’ and ‘understanding’ from those they love the most in the world, those they look up to most in the world, those they mimic most in the world – their parent(s). Don’t underestimate how much they need you, whatever age they are, you are their parent and you will always be the most important person in their lives. Even 5 minutes a day is going to make a huge difference to them, if that 5 minutes is 100% for them and them alone. If your kids see you leading a balanced life, understanding what real happiness is, you are setting them up for a balanced happy life themselves. If they see you making changes to get a more balanced life, you are teaching them the life skill that we can all control our lives and we can all make changes to be in a better place.
    You are their number 1 Role Model.

    “What a child does not see, he can seldom later give.”

    – P D James

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    Life Coaching is not just for adults – why wait?

    Confidence Coaching for Kids is a very effective way to help your child to deal with the ups and downs of growing up.  Every child will benefit from Confidence Coaching as it gives them the tools to deal with the many different challenges they may face on a daily basis;

    Dealing with peer pressure

    Learning to love themselves

    Knowing how to learn from their mistakes

    Learning how to to take responsibility for their actions

    Learning how to make and keep friends

    Learning how to make good decisions


    Stories are one of the most effective ways to make positive changes with kids.  Each of these workshops are explained through different stories in a fun and interactive way.

    Why wait?  

    Give your child the best gift you can give him – the tools to grow into a strong, confident, happy teenager and adult.

    “It’s not what Happens to you, but how you REACT to it that matters”. – Epictetus




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    How To Get Your Child To Talk To You

    Listen and hold your tongue.

    Kids want to be heard. They want to be understood. If we rush in to give our opinion – they aren’t going to feel heard or understood. Bite your tongue – literally if you have to. This simple and obvious skill took me a long time to master. Silence is uncomfortable, but very necessary.

    What I have learned is that some kids don’t verbalise their feelings quickly. When I nod and show I am listening – they tend to continue to talk. They continue to tell me more.

    Do not give advice – unless it is wanted.

    The number one complaint I hear from kids (my own included!) is that they do not want our advice. Well that’s confusing? Your daughter cries to you about her friend drama or your son talks about the mean kids on the bus. You naturally move in with your words of wisdom. It can be very hard to hold back on this one. Try to listen first, let they get it all out without interruption.

    Sit with their feelings for a bit. Commiserate about how that must have made them feel.  Sentences like, “That must have been so hard” or “That must have made you so angry” will help continue the conversation.  Just hold your tongue!

    When your child is done venting ask them, “What do you think you’ll do about it?” Hear what they have to say. If you have advice at this point, soften it with something like, “there might be another option. You can…” This will help your child feel like you are working with them and not lecturing them.  Try not to jump in with your advice before they are finished talking.  Very often if we listen to them, and let them get it all out, they will end up solving the problem themselves.

    How you word things can be the small change that makes a big difference.

    Do not ask direct questions – instead say something like, “I wonder…” In front of your sentence. For instance:

    Your son tells you he is angry at his best friend and he is never going to talk to him again. Instead of saying:

    “What did he do to you?”

    You might say:

    “Oh, you seem so angry. What happened?”

    Sounds pretty much the same – I know. But, trust me – it makes a difference. Most kids (not all) are more likely to answer the second question. Especially if you stay silent after making the comment.

    Change sentences like:

    “What is good about it?” or “What is bad about it?”


    “What is the best part about it?” or “What is the worst part about it?”

    For some reason – the first sentence can sound judgmental, while the second is acknowledging the feeling and asking for them to tell you more. Just try it out yourself and you will see what works for you.

    Every child is different. Every conversation is different.

    Every child needs someone they can go to when there are troubled, worried or confused about something.  Who will they go to if that person is not you – the internet, their peers?  Is this what you want?

    NOBODY knows your child as well as you do. Ensure the person they go to is YOU!




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    What is communication?
    The goal of communication is to understand others and to be understood by others.
    Communication is a two way street.

    Everyone talks about teenagers and communication –
    Why don’t they talk to me?
    How can I get them to open up to me?
    Can I trust them?

    What about communication with babies and toddlers? Teenagers learn how to communicate from day one, they learn from you.

    It is never too early to think about communication and how important it is at any stage of development. We need to start communicating openly with our kids from day one.

    This may sound basic and some of you may be ready to stop reading now but I cannot emphasise enough the importance of communication with your kids/teens. These tips will most likely be things you already know, but being reminded of them will help you to check in to see if your communication skills are working.

    0 – 1 years of age;

    Babies tend to communicate through eye contact, your touch and the sound of your voice.

    Hold eye contact were possible.
    Use your touch to show emotion.
    Use your voice to communicate your feelings.

    Your communication with them will install a sense of love and security – their basic need at this age.

    2 -10 years of age;

    kid and granddad drawing dep pic

    Come down to their level (eye contact) when you are talking to them or when they are talking to you.
    When they come to you to tell you something, show them you are interested in what they have to say by concentrating on them and listening to them.

    If you are busy at the time, tell them you will talk to them in 10 minutes, at tea time (whatever suits you at the time) but you must come back to them.
    If you do not come back to them and tend to push them away because you may be on the phone, on the computer, making dinner, chatting to a friend – over time they may stop trying. How would you feel if you had something really important to say to your parent and they showed no interest whatsoever? Would you go back again and agin to try to get them to be interested? Does it hurt your feelings? Does it make you feel valued?
    Share stories about your childhood, good times and bad times – tell them how you managed mistakes, how you coped when you were upset, your experiences with friends (good and bad experiences).
    By sharing these experiences you will show them it is ok to make mistakes, it is ok to be upset, it is ok to have a problem with a friend. It is how they deal with these issues that is  important.
    Make sure there is a time in your day that you know you can communicate with them (give them your undivided attention if only for 10 minutes)e.g.
    bedtime * in the car * bath time * meal time – whatever suit your family.
    (Years later your 16 year old may still rely on this time to talk to you)
    Try not to use labels like ‘useless’, ‘hopeless’, ‘waste of space’ when talking to them or about them. This is hugely damaging to their self-esteem. You are the most important person in their lives – if they believe this is what you think of them, what will they think of themselves. Parents are only human, if you let a comment slip out and you know it was wrong/nasty/unnecessary – remember to say sorry. This is also a great lesson for your child – teach them the ability to take responsibility for their actions and be strong enough to say ‘sorry’.
    Try not to swear or curse at them – they will most likely copy you – at the most inappropriate times!
    Try not to make comments comparing them to their siblings or their peers.
    Tell them you love them. We tend to presume they ‘know’ we love them. They do need regular reminding. Helping them to understand we may not like their actions or their words but we will always love them is a great lesson for later on during their teenage years.

    Children need to feel loved, respected and valued if they are to grow into teenagers who feel loved, respected and valued. These feelings will build your child’s self-esteem and confidence and give them a strong sense of family, values and self into their teenage years.
    Sometimes, they may learn more from your actions than your words. They will watch how you react in different situations, how you treat other family members, how you treat friends and presume this is the way it is supposed to be.
    Communication is both words and actions.

    You are your child’s number one teacher and role model.

    “It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”

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    How can we help our kids to discover their Gifts & Talents?

    Using the 7 Types of Intelligences to Help Your Kids Discover Their Gifts & Talents

    Grades, “IQ” tests, and other standardised tests have caused major debates amongst parents and the education community because many believe they don’t measure the “whole child”.

    Although these tests might predict how a child will perform in school, they don’t predict which children will become powerful leaders, accomplished composers, unique artists, great musicians, creative inventors, professional athletes, top-ranked sales people, inspirational teachers, spiritual leaders, or great writers.

    In his ground breaking book “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences”, Harvard Psychology Professor Howard Gardner asked a different question. Instead of asking “How smart are you?” he asked the question “How are you smart?”

    What a powerful question for parents to explore with their kids!

    In his book Gartner outlines 7 different segments of intelligence. Although each person exhibits some level of ability in all areas, most people tend to shine in two or three areas. As parents and mentors we have an opportunity to help our kids explore each of these segments in more depth so they can discover and further develop their natural talents and abilities.

    The 7 intelligences are grouped into what Gardner calls three different “frames of mind”:
    Linguistic Intelligence and Logical-mathematical Intelligence which are categorised as “academic” and emphasised by public schools and IQ tests.
    Musical Intelligence, Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence, and Visual-spatial Intelligence which tend to be categorised as artistic abilities.
    Interpersonal Intelligence and Intrapersonal Intelligence which are categorised as “people skills”.

    Let’s understand each in more detail and look at how we can help our kids explore each area.

    Linguistic Intelligence
    Children with strong linguistic intelligence tend to think in words. They love to read, write, play word games, study foreign languages, etc. Professions include areas such as writers, journalists, interpreters, and attorneys. If you think your child has talent in this area, he can explore it further by participating in a journalism club or debate club, by writing, or by studying a foreign language.

    Logical-mathematical Intelligence
    Children with strong logical-mathematical intelligence tend to think conceptually. They love numbers, patterns, mathematics, and science. Professions include areas such as engineering, computer science, research science, medicine, and accounting. Schools provide a lot of opportunities for children to explore this area of intelligence.

    Visual-spatial Intelligence
    Children with strong spatial intelligence are strong at working in three dimensions. They tend to love maps, models, and building things. Professions include areas such as architecture and interior design, photography, engineering, and mechanics. You can help your child develop in this area by giving her models to build (including Legos!), having her create maps, or by taking a photography class.

    Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence
    Children with strong Kinesthetic Intelligence tend to process knowledge through physical touch. They will learn more by doing an activity versus reading about the activity. Professions include areas such as sports, dancing, theatre, firefighter, and any work that requires them to be good with their hands. If you think your child has a natural intelligence in this area encourage her to explore many avenues of physical expression – sports, dance, acting, sewing, woodworking, etc.

    Musical Intelligence
    Children with strong musical intelligence tend to think in terms of sounds and rhythms. Professions include areas such as performing and/or composing music. Encourage your child to study a musical instrument, participate in a choir, and explore a wide variety of music genres.

    Interpersonal Intelligence
    Children with strong interpersonal intelligence understand people – they are good with communication, relationships, and getting along with others. Professions include areas such as teaching, counselling, marketing and sales, management, non-profits, medicine, and politics. Provide opportunities for your child to work with and lead others. Examples include participating in Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, mentoring programs, volunteer organisations, and other clubs.

    Intra personal Intelligence
    Children with strong intra personal intelligence really understand themselves. They are deep thinkers and tend to be self-motivated. Professions include writing, philosophy, psychology, clergy, and art. If your child exhibits strengths in this area, give her time to be alone to think and create.

    So why is understanding these areas of intelligence so important?

    First, if your child tends to struggle in the traditional classroom finding other areas where he can excel can greatly enhance his self-esteem and joy in life. Whenever kids feel they are good at something it enhances their self-esteem and self-confidence.

    Second, when kids understand more about “how they are smart”, it enables them to choose extracurricular activities, classes, and careers that leverage their strengths and natural abilities.

    And finally, even if your child does well in school, exploring all areas of intelligence will empower your kids to find their passion and purpose in life. When people create lives based on a passion and a sense of purpose they tend to live happy fulfilling lives. They also excel at whatever profession they choose because they are passionate about it and believe they can make a difference.
    It is so important to help our kids learn to understand their own talents and believe in them. If we, their parents cannot believe in them – who will?
    How many of us ended up in careers for the wrong reasons?
    How many of us would have made different choices if we had someone behind us who believed in us, whatever our strengths were?

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    How We Can Help Our Children To Talk About Feelings – Help Them To Be Strong Confident Adults – Help Them To Be Themselves


    This is an area I believe will become an even bigger problem in generations to come if we do not teach our younger generation it is ok ‘not to be perfect’. There are many levels of mental health, so many start with low self-esteem and self-belief. We are all affected by how others view us, those with low self-esteem can be deeply affected. When talking to students I often ask them – “if you have a pain in your tummy, would you tell your friend?” All answer, “Yes of course”.

    “If you are feeling low, upset, angry, confused, overwhelmed, would you tell your friend?” “Mmmm, maybe not”, was the reply from many.

    Why? Why are we so afraid of being honest about our emotional health? Physical health and emotional health are equal in importance and yet there is such a stigma attached to talking about feelings, admitting that all is not perfect.

    This comes up again and again in my area of work. Kids feel ‘no one’ likes them – they may feel they are not cool enough, smart enough, pretty enough, popular enough…. this is so sad and can have a very deep impact on them emotionally.

    Teenagers may feel they are not cool, not part of the cool gang, too fat, too thin, their skin is a problem, their hair is a problem or they may just feel they are not capable of much.

    Young adults may feel they are lost, they do not know who they are supposed to be, they do not know what they want to do with their future, they may find it hard then others close to them do not seem to know who they are.

    Adults – where do we start and where do we end? Emotional issues do not disappear unless they are dealt with. Whether it is underlying issues with relationships with parents, siblings, friends. Issues with husbands, partners…. not feeling confident as a parent, not feeling capable as a person, not feeling loved – the list is endless.

    I strongly believe if we were all a little bit more honest about how ‘not perfect’ our lives are, it would normalise a lot of this and maybe people would find it easier to talk about emotional issues with each other.

    If we teach our kids it is ‘ok’ not to be the best in the class, the most popular, the sportiest – they need to know it is ok not to feel ‘ok’. It is ok to be sad, to be angry, to be lonely, to be confused. It is ok.

    Communication is a two way street, maybe if we share our feelings more (where appropriate) with our kids, we can help normalize feelings for them. Kids need to believe they are loved unconditionally – whether they make the first team in rugby or not – whether they get top grades or not. Too many times we see kids playing out a role to please their parents – please be careful of this as this kid will not find it easy to be true to himself – if he is trying to be someone else to please his parents. This may sound harsh but unfortunately is a harsh reality and one I see too often. Kids need to believe it is ok to be themselves. It is ok to fail, to ask for help, it is ok to be different, it is ok to follow ‘their own’ dreams.

    It is not always easy to accept your child is not going to be the rugby player you presumed he would, or the doctor you had hoped she would, but it is time we all really listened to our kids and understand who they are and who they hope to be. I do believe this is one little step that would really help. There is no benefit to us having doctors who want to be artists, teachers who want to be doctors, bankers who want to be social workers etc….if we were all a little bit more honest and a little bit more accepting we might end up with the best doctors, teachers, artists, bankers, social workers because this would be their passion – their ‘own’ passion and that will ensure they will be ‘the best they can be’.

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    How and when do we know what to do with our lives?

    My daughter showed me this recently, how appropriate it is as we near the end of school for many and the begining of new things to come. Not everyone will know what they want to do with the rest of their lives as soon as they leave school , the most important thing is taking the first step in something you are interested in or passionate about and the doors will open from there. Always stay true to who you are – and follow your dreams, only you can make them come true – take the first step and believe in yourself.
    It took me much longer than most to find what I was supposed to do with my life, but now that I have, I fully understand what it means to love your job – it is never a hardship to go to work, I love every aspect of my job. How lucky am I – it took a lot of self belief and passion but it was worth it. When I am working I feel so complete at at ease with myself. Everyone has something to offer this world – take your time-one step at a time, believe in yourself and work hard – no one can stop you achieving your dreams, but yourself.



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