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For more great parenting advice and resources visit www.parentingideas.com.au


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Welcome to the second edition of Parentingideas magazine,

designed to give you great up-to-date advice to make your job of parenting easier.

E

MICHAEL GROS

The feedback for the first edition of Parentingideas was really positive. Attractive, easy-to-read, quirky ... these were just some of the comments we received. This edition is bigger and brighter than the first.

Raising Mig hty Boys

I’ve been g iving lots o f talks this year on Ra ising Mighty Boys. The two ho ur seminar is now available o n DVD. BONUS: A FREE work book full of boy-frien dly parenti ng strategie comes in e s ach Raising Mighty Boy seminar pa s ck. www.pare ntingideas .com.au

About Michael Grose Michael is widely regarded as Australia’s No. 1 parenting educator. The author of eight books for parents his latest Thriving! has been described “as the new roadmap for raising 3-12 year olds with confidence, character and resilience.” He supports over 1,000 Australian schools and hundreds and thousands of parents with his practical, easy-to-read resources. An in-demand speaker Michael is one of fewer than 100 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP’s) in Australia. Contact 1800 004 484 to find out how to have Michael liven up your next conference or event.

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FiveHive’s Yvonne Adele has returned with a lovely piece about a bedtime superman. The daughter of Time and Space’s Bill Jennings recently turned eighteen so he has written a reflective piece that’ll give all parents of young kids hope and a huge smile as well. We’ve got a girl theme happening with The Secret Girl’s Business member Fay Angelo writing about girls and their first periods. We’ve been joined by Enlighten Education’s Dannii Miller who has some great words of advice for parents of girls who experience bouts of shyness or self-consciousness. Parent Wellbeing’s Jodi Benveniste is back with a timely piece urging you to feel confident about your own parenting. Finally, there’s something for the dads. Malcolm Dix, author of Ninja Dad, reminds blokes about what’s really important about being a dad … with a few good laughs along the way. His picture is a real hoot! Check it out. If you think your kids spend too much time playing video games then you need to read Dr Jason Fox’s article on gaming. They may well be hooking into a new way of learning. I’ve written a piece about the man of the hour – Cadel Evans. At a time when great models for our kids are thin on the ground along came Evans with THAT ride. It’s too good a story not to share with kids. Well what are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy this edition of Parentingideas magazine. Happy Parenting,

Michael Grose

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PARENTS ARE UNDER SCRUTINY Feel like you’re being watched? It’s time to be a more confident parent A celebrity mum is photographed walking across the road whilst bottle-feeding her baby. A new website is launched to help parents find kid-friendly restaurants and cafes. A photograph of a child sitting in a dinghy fishing with her dad appears in a national magazine.

I don’t think so.

And in each case there is furore! There are letters to the editor. There is fervent online discussion.

I hope so.

A baby should be fed whilst seated comfortably! Kids in restaurants are so ill-behaved; parents should stay home! That child should be wearing a life jacket! There is so much scrutiny. But why? We know a lot more these days about what contributes to a happy, healthy child, and what leads to good outcomes in adulthood. And we know that parents play a major role in raising happy and healthy kids. So parents have become targets for information and advice. Government bodies, health professionals, education experts, parenting experts, advertisers, family, friends, and even complete strangers all want their say. Others in the community don’t necessarily want to help parents care for their kids, but they do want to tell parents when they’re doing something wrong. With so much research, information and advice, it can seem like there is one ‘right’ way to raise kids. So as parents, we scrutinise ourselves. We question: Am I doing the best I can? Will my kids be okay? Or am I stuffing them up!

BY JODIE B

ENVENIST

E

And if we understood that there is not one ‘right’ way to raise kids, would we be bold enough to find our own way?

Confident parents: • recognise that there is no one right way to parent • sift through all the parenting information and choose what’s right for their family • raise their kids according to their own values & beliefs. Confident parents also: • don’t falsely compare their own family to other families • only judge other parents if it’s a way to make decisions about their own parenting, and keep those judgements to themselves • hold the big picture and the end game in mind. Confidence comes with practice Parenting – like riding a bike, tying up shoelaces or performing brain surgery – is a skill. The way we learn any new skill is to practice.

And we scrutinise other parents. We judge: I’d never do that! How can they let their child get away with that! She is always so calm and in control. If only, I could be like her. But if we were all feeling confident in our own abilities as parents, would we feel the need to scrutinise ourselves and others so much?

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RECOGNISE THAT THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO PARENT

Every moment you spend with your children – observing, listening, and responding – you learn how to raise them. It doesn’t necessarily come naturally or readily. It takes time, effort, and commitment. And we learn through our mistakes, as much as through what we do well.

Tips for confident parenting:

No one raises kids without making mistakes or wishing some experiences away. But it’s not about being error free.

2. Parenting is a skill that takes practice. It isn’t something you learn overnight so be kind to yourself.

It’s about learning.

3. Every moment you spend with your children – observing, listening, and responding – you learn how to raise them with confidence.

Parenting is one of life’s most challenging activities, but for some reason, we expect to ‘get’ parenting instantly, and feel like a failure if we don’t. We place unrealistic expectations on ourselves, which undermines our confidence. The more you practice parenting, the more you learn, and the more confident you become. Visit www.parentwellbeing.com to learn how you can worry less and enjoy parenting more. Sign up for feel-good parenting info, and to receive your free ebook ‘6 top happiness tips for families’.

www.parentingideas.com.au

1. There is no one right way to raise kids. There is only your way, done with love and care.

Jodie Benveniste, Parent Wellbeing Jodie Benveniste is director and founder of Parent Wellbeing – an online resource for feel-good parenting info. parentwellbeing.com info@parentwellbeing.com facebook.com/parentwellbeing twitter.com/parentwellbing

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CADEL EVANS – ONE TOUGH HOMBRE, ONE GREAT ROLE MODEL BY MICHAEL GRO

SE

Finally, here is someone worthy of emulation by our kids. Cadel Evans showed all the qualities of grit, determination and mental toughness that most parents would love their kids to develop.

Cadel Evans, supreme cyclist that he is, showed in winning the Tour de France that he is also the master of timing. Not only did he time his winning ride to perfection, taking the coveted yellow jersey on the only day that mattered – the final real day of racing – but his win has come at a time when Australians are in desperate need of heroes and positive role models who display the types of attributes we want our kids to aspire to. Federal politics isn’t a hotbed of inspiration right now! The banal antics of our leaders in parliament have become something of a national embarrassment. More disturbingly, the adverse public response to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon pricing campaign has been so bitter that for the first time in living memory, Australians en masse have shown little respect for the institution of prime minister. The recent Murdoch phone tapping scandal was high drama, but somehow has reinforced what many have suspected for a long time. That is, that there is something fishy going on in high places. It’s only the size of the stench that has shocked us! It says something about the state of affairs when the only hero from that whole unsavoury event was Wendi Deng, for delivering a mean right hook when she came to her husband’s aid during a filmed parliamentary inquiry. That’s how cynical we have become about public life. Then along came Cadel Evans, and his winning ride.

Finally, here is someone worthy of emulation by our kids. He showed all the qualities of grit, determination and mental toughness that most parents would love their kids to develop. The story behind his success is fascinating, and worth relaying to your kids. He is no overnight success. He’s been cycling at an elite level for over fifteen years, riding mountain bikes in the 1990s before switching to road cycling after the Sydney Olympics. He’s worked long and hard to master his craft. He didn’t let disappointment deter him either. Twice runner-up in the biggest road race of them all, and on another occasion hampered by a broken elbow, he didn’t let setbacks and bad luck derail him. Learning from these past experiences, and taking lessons in preparation from past winners, he came back stronger and more determined than ever to make this race his own. But the race that brought him victory is also worth telling your kids about. It’s a story of working with others, but at the same time not relying on others to get the job done. According to press reports, Evans’s BMC team gave him terrific support until he got to the final mountain stages. Without quality climbers in his team he took it on himself to attack the leaders alone.

HELP YOUR KIDS TO BE BRAVE Michael has created a range of wonderful resources to help parents promote a real sense of confidence so kids can reach their full potential. Check them out at parentingideas.com.au The link needs to go through to parentingideas.com.au/parents/confidence

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Best of all, Evans held his nerve. Evans always said that the last three days would determine the tour. And so it did. He didn’t panic, even when he experienced equipment failure and lost valuable time on the second-last day. After receiving a new bike he fought his way back to the front in readiness to strike when it mattered. Evans’s feat was a shining story of resilience. His ability to hang in both physically and mentally when times were tough was astounding. Sure, cyclists are a breed unto themselves – they are used to enduring the pain that long days in the saddle can bring. But Evans’s efforts were supreme even by cycling’s lofty standards. This is also a story of preparation, and knowing what it takes to be successful. A loner by nature, Evans told his minders he needed 30 minutes a day of solitude for the sake of his sanity. For Evans to achieve success it was vital that he attend to his mental state, in the same way that he looked after his physical state. One of the lessons of the past he learned was the importance of carving out moments of calm, even at the busiest and most chaotic times.

As a parent and teacher there is so much to take from the Cadel Evans story. It’s the type of story that doesn’t come along very often, and too good an opportunity to pass up. Besides, he’s come along when there’s a dearth of quality stories in public life that offer kids the type of inspiration and hope that they need right now. As Evans showed, timing is everything. Now is the time to share his story.

Michael Grose, Parentingideas Michael Grose is the founder of Parentingideas, Australia’s No. 1 parenting education provider.

www.parentingideas.com.au office@parentingideas.com.au facebook.com/michaelgroseparenting

HE SHOWED ALL THE QUALITIES OF GRIT, DETERMINATION AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS...

www.parentingideas.com.au

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HOW TO INSPIRE AND SUSTAIN MOTIVATION BY JASON

FOX

Thinking like a game designer is a novel way to get your kids engaged

“Back in my day, we used to play in the park, not sit around inside playing video games!” says the nostalgic parent. But things have changed: more people are spending more time playing video games online. Half a billion people, in fact, spend over three billion hours playing online video games each week. They are, on average, 35 years old and 47% are female … but within that group are a lot of kids. Nowadays, the majority of children who grow up in developed countries will have spent 10,000 hours gaming by the time they turn 21. Should parents be worried? Maybe. Should they be intrigued? Definitely! From a motivational design perspective, games are brilliant at creating and sustaining motivation. Games are, at their core, interplays between goals, rules and feedback that produce particular results. A well designed game will be fun to play. But let’s be clear, whether we are talking about board games, sports games or video games, all games are designed experiences geared towards one thing: engaging players in challenges in order to make progress. So, if you want to help your child build and maintain the motivation to make meaningful progress in their lives, it is thoroughly useful to think like a game designer. Even former US Vice President Al Gore now says that games give him cause for tremendous hope in the future. So, here are five frames you can use to help your son or daughter craft and play a better game: 1. Track progress All good games have ways of giving you useful feedback on your progress. Sometimes this takes the form of points and scoresheets, and sometimes it takes the form of a narrative progression. Recently, the Harvard Business Review found that ‘a sense of progress’ was the single most powerful motivator at work. The same applies anywhere If you can close the gap between actions and useful feedback, you’ll make the effort required to achieve goals all the more worthwhile. They don’t say “what gets measured, gets done” for no reason.

2. Manage the challenge Games are play-tested rigorously to ensure that they are not too challenging or too easy, so that players are neither paralysed by anxiety nor demotivated by boredom. Unfortunately, we don’t play-test our goals and endeavours in the real world, which means we either set audacious goals that are extremely difficult to achieve (creating a sense of failure) or we shy away from anything ambitious and settle for no goals, or tiny goals that’ll keep us comfortable. I say, design games, not goals. Games combine goals, rules and feedback, and hey, if something’s not working, it’s just a game. No dramas, we can just go and reshape the rules to see if it works better! 3. Celebrate wins! Most of the games we play are finite experiences – they have a start and an end point. Whether it’s a embarking upon a quest in an online role playing game, playing a game of Scrabble, or stepping into the boundary of a sports game – games allow us opportunities to make clear achievements. So, rather than waiting for the end-of-year report to celebrate with your children, why not celebrate the successful, on-time submission of assignments at the time? Find the wins in your child’s positive actions and work. 4. Play with the narrative If your life were a book, what would the current chapter read like? And what would you want to happen in the next chapter? This could be a powerful perspective shift you could use with your son or daughter to get them viewing things in a new light. It would work even better from a game perspective because in any role-playing game, you have endless freedom to make progress in new directions. It would be a playful way to move from the world of what is to the world of what if?

APPLYING THE POWER OF GAME DESIGN

By applying the best elements of behaviour science and game design, Jason shows forward thinking leaders and their teams how to craft and play better games – games that boost productivity, influence behaviour and accelerate innovation.

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SHOULD PARENTS BE WORRIED? MAYBE. SHOULD THEY BE INTRIGUED? DEFINITELY!

5. Let them unlock status Do you remember pen licenses? If you were able to prove your ability to write neatly in lead pencil, you were able to unlock the privilege of using a pen. It’s a brilliant game because human behaviour will always gravitate to that which is most rewarding. The same thinking sits behind the way Qantas make the bulk of their profit: by encouraging people to ‘level up’ in the Frequent Flyer game. And it’s why Mathletics, an online maths tool, is totally rocking at getting kids engaged with sharpening their maths skills. Status is a powerful motivator, especially when it is visible and earned.

We’ve only scratched the surface of how game design can be used to motivate and influence behaviour, and you’ll need to stay tuned to ParentingIdeas for more. For now, whenever you are thinking about motivation and your son or daughter, think: “how could this work if it were a game?” Remember: the house always wins – games always favour their maker.

Dr. Jason Fox Summary

rogress 1. Track p nge the challe 2. Manage e wins! 3. Celebrat rative h the nar 4. Play wit us unlock stat 5. let them

arents/boys ideas.com.au/p www.parenting

www.parentingideas.com.au

By the age of 25, Jason had completed a PhD in goal setting, lectured at three universities and authored the book Master Exams. He’s a multi-award winning international speaker who has helped thousands of students master the academic game. You can learn more about Jason at www.drjasonfox.com and www.enjoyexams.com www.enjoyexams.com www.drjasonfox.com jason@enjoyexams.com +61 (0)407 446 757

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HELPING SHRINKING VIOLETS TO BLOOM LLE MILLER

BY DANNIE

Self-consciousness is normal in girlworld, but you can help your daughter grow out of it

Intense self-consciousness is a part of life in girlworld. Even an extroverted girl can have moments when she feels as if a spotlight is shining just on her and the whole world is staring at (what she perceives as) her flaws. In my diary when I was 14, I lamented the fact that a plastic surgeon had told me he couldn’t fix the scars I have on my neck and down one arm as the result of third-degree burns I received as a little girl.. I wasn’t self-conscious about those scars … until I hit puberty. Then I wore long sleeves no matter how hot it was. I believed those scars meant I would never be loved. Melodramatic? Sure, but that fear was painfully real at the time. When a girl says she’s going to “die” because she has to give a five-minute talk in class, it sounds like a total overreaction – but that may be how she truly feels. Some self-conscious girls blush. Some clam up to the point of seeming rude. Others underachieve so that they don’t outshine their friends. They might apologise, or even get angry, when they receive a compliment. Binge drinking and other risky behaviour can also be misguided ways of handling social stress. This is all puzzling to adults – unless we remind ourselves what it was like to be a teenager, simultaneously wanting to stand out and fit in. With all that we have learned and experienced as adults, there is much we can do to help shrinking violets bloom.

7 Ways to Help a Shrinking Violet 1. Know the power of your words. A friend of mine heard a teenage girl at a party wishing that she would stop growing as she didn’t want to be “too tall”. No adults spoke up to give her some perspective. In fact, one woman said, “Oh yes, you want to be able to wear high heels.” The subtext: if you grow too tall, you’ll tower over any potential date and will be doomed to a sad, lonely, high-heel-less spinsterhood. To that girl, I say: whether you’re short or tall or somewhere in between, you are beautiful and you will be loved. To grown-ups, I say: we all have to be careful with our words. 2.Help her tackle shyness in small steps. You can eat something as big as an elephant if you take small enough bites. If your daughter finds social situations challenging, suggest she works on one thing, such as talking to new people. Next time she’s in a social situation, she could try saying hello to just one person she hasn’t met before. The more often she does it, the easier it will become. 3.Create opportunities to socialise.. Provide your shrinking violet a non-stressful environment in which to get to know other girls and develop social skills. You might organise one-on-one opportunities for her to hang out with another girl at your place. Girl Guides and community groups are other great ways to gently introduce girls to social situations. 4.Help her be prepared. For girls who become anxious about public occasions, being fully prepared can be a real confidence booster, especially when giving a talk in class. For social events, some self-conscious girls find it helpful to visualise how they’d like the event to go and the kind of things they’d like to say and do.

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5.Be a role model. Strong, confident role models can inspire girls to come out of their shell. Parents are the most important role models of all, so as well as encouraging her to find role models outside the home, it’s important for you to look inwards, too. How do you respond when someone gives you a compliment? Do you sometimes struggle to find your voice to express your beliefs and feelings?

6.Encourage her to find her inner Amazon. I recommend that girls spend some quiet time visualising their inner Amazon, who is strong and powerful. Girls can then summon up their inner Amazon whenever their confidence gets wobbly. At the end of my book, The Butterfly Effect, I give a visualisation exercise that girls in our workshops find really empowering.

7. Celebrate difference. Our aim should be to support girls and help them develop the confidence to be themselves, not to force everyone to be outgoing. Some people are naturally quieter than others. If a girl is especially shy and quiet in class or is really struggling in the playground, then of course we need to help her develop the skills to contribute in class and in social groups – while always respecting individual differences.

Dannielle Miller Dannielle Miller is a major innovator and expert in the field of education and student welfare. She is CEO of Enlighten Education & is currently working on her second book, aimed at adolescent girls. She is featured in education journals, has written articles which have appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a popular speaker at youth and education conferences and forums. www.enlighteneducation.edublogs.org www.danniellemiller.com.au danni@enlighteneducation.com 1300 735 997

www.parentingideas.com.au

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PREPARING GIRLS FOR THEIR FIRST PERIOD ELO

BY FAY ANG

Dealing with that first period can be stressful for all. Here are some great ideas to make it easier

As girls await their first period it can be a time of uncertainty and some anxiety. Parents are in a position to chart a course which will make this smooth sailing. The age at which periods begin varies greatly. This is normal. Parents need to be alert for the first signs of puberty so they can help their daughter to prepare. Some girls begin as young as 8 while others have not started to menstruate at 16. However, most girls begin to have periods at about 12 years of age. Talking about periods with girls, early and often, is helpful because it:

Other essential information your daughter needs includes the following: • Understanding that body changes at puberty signal that periods may begin soon • Instruction on how to use pads and tampons • Information about how often periods occur • Information about some of the uncomfortable feelings they might experience when they have periods, and what can help.

• Prepares them for the changes to come • Avoids confusion caused by misinformation from other people • Builds a relationship for future conversations • Reduces anxiety about the unknown • Allows time to prepare a period kit. • Avoids the panic associated with an unexpected period • Increases independence and self esteem.

Your daughter needs to know why periods happen At puberty, a girl’s body changes so that sometime in the future it is possible for her to have a baby if she chooses. Each month an egg matures (develops) in her ovaries. If this egg joins with sperm from a male, a baby is made. Her uterus develops a special lining of blood to nourish and protect the baby if this happens. When there is no baby, this blood leaves her body through her vagina. This is called a period. For further information see ‘More Secret Girls’ Business’ pages 30 to 49

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Tips for Talking 1. Talk about what it might be like to have a period – before it happens. 2. Share your own experiences in a positive way e.g. “Before my period started I was really nervous and embarrassed. But once it happened, it wasn’t a big deal and I coped really well.” 3. Discuss puberty and periods over time, not just in a one off chat. 4. Keep the lines of communication open and be prepared to discuss any queries or comments in a thoughtful way. 5. Talk about possible mood changes and how these feelings might be coped with. 6. Talk to other members of the family, especially siblings, about the need for privacy and respect. 7. Displaying a positive attitude towards growth and change will empower girls to become confident young women.

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The Period Kit It is a good idea to get a period kit ready before your daughter gets her first period. You will need: • • • • • •

A groovy purse or small bag 2 pads 2 paper bags A pair of spare undies A plastic bag for used undies Disposable wipes

A first period will not always happen at home so girls need to be prepared. They may be at mum’s or dad’s house, with grandparents, at school camp or at a friend’s place for a sleepover. A period kit will mean your daughter will feel secure, independent and ready. She needs to know the appropriate way to dispose of used pads and tampons. Discuss with your daughter who she can talk to if she is away from home when her period starts.

Common questions girls ask about periods. • When will my period begin? • How will I know when I have my period? • Will other people know? (I don’t want anyone to know, e.g. “Don’t tell Dad.”) • Is it okay to use a tampon?

Emotional aspects to consider.

• What can I do if I have period pain?

It is normal for girls to be teary, sensitive and out of sorts leading up to their first period and at period time.

• How can I go swimming?

Girls who have their period when they are younger often feel upset because their friends don’t yet understand the changes they are experiencing. It can be helpful to identify someone who they can talk to at school. Girls who are amongst the last of their peers to get their period can feel worried, left out and different. It is important to reassure them that it is normal for periods to start at widely varying ages. If they continue to be concerned a quick visit to the doctor may help.

These common questions should help you to plan what you will talk about with your daughter. Remember Be proactive in preparing your daughter for her period and you will both reap the benefits. Note: Girls with special needs may need very simple explanations, and step by step instructions, for managing periods. These are provided in our books Special Girls’ Business and Puberty and Special Girls.

Free Postage and Handling

Fay and her team have a great range of child-friendly books that help boys and girls prepare for puberty. Go to our website www.secretgb.com, download the order form and write ‘Michael Grose’ in the Postage and Handling box to receive FREE postage and handling. Offer expires 31/10/2011

Fay Angelo |

www.secretgb.com

www.parentingideas.com.au

secretgb@hotmail.com.

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RISE OF THE NINJA DAD OLM DIX BY MALC

The ‘Ninja Dad’ shares his secrets to success in the dad stakes

Historically, the term ‘ninja’ referred to trained spies, saboteurs and assassins. Dressed in black, they would hide in the shadows until the precise moment when they would drop from the ceiling, silently striking their victims with lethal force before vanishing without trace. Similarly, babies, children and teenagers strike with lethal force, though they never vanish, are rarely silent and don’t drop from ceilings .... unless the child is very big or the ceiling is very low. The principles of ‘ninja’ are acceptance, patience, humility, laughter and teamwork, and it is these attributes that Ninja Dad proposes to encourage in the reader. So put away your black pyjamas, beer and katana sword, and prepare to ... concentrate! Past generations of Australian dads dealt with parenting using all sorts of creative strategies such as going to war and bombing the life out of each other, drinking way too much, becoming workaholics or simply avoiding their kids altogether. Remind you of anyone? It's safe to say that not many men have (or had) great relationships with their dads and it's always terrifying and humbling when we suddenly find ourselves parenting exactly like our dads parented us ... bugger. Those of you who have (had) an awesome dad, you really are the lucky ones so enjoy and celebrate it. The rest of us often start our dad journey from year zero, making it up as we stumble along. Thankfully times have changed and men are now more actively involved with their kids’ lives than in the past and the support and information available to Dads far surpasses anything our fathers ever had access to. Today Ninja Dads exist everywhere and the world is a much better place for it. They are dads just like you and me: ordinary everyday dads, sometimes far-too-busy dads, funny and wise dads, occasionally slightly forgetful or easily distracted dads. But at the heart of the matter they are dads doing their best to raise happy, healthy and beautiful kids.

So what is a ‘Ninja Dad’? N – Never forget who you are: a mighty dad forever growing, learning and laughing. I – Intuition. Trust your natural fathering instincts (even at those times you don’t know what the hell you are doing!). N – Now is your time: forget yesterday and tomorrow, dad it now. J – Jump into parenting, don't hold back. Chances are you will never be entirely certain about what you are doing as a dad so simply take the risk and get involved.. A – Act. If you want to do something amazing with your life and your kids ... do it. Time waits for no dad. D – Decide what sort of dad you want to be, embrace it and go for it ... even if you have doubts. Doubt is just the other side of being a dad. A – Arrange for it to happen. Don't leave being a dad to chance: plan clear goals around what you want to do as a dad and write them down. You triple the chance of it happening if you commit it to paper. D – Deliver on your promises to your kids, your partner and yourself. Remember, brother and sisters, that one day we shall all give up the ghost, cark it, push up the daisies, expire, go kaput, pull the plug and snuff it. This happening is unavoidable; however, till then we must embrace life with every ounce of mighty ball-busting energy we can muster. Start living in THE NOW and go forth and celebrate being the best Ninja Dad (or indeed Sensei Mum) you will ever be. Sayonara

Malcolm Dix (AKA Ninja Dad) Malcolm is a father of four, Speaker, MC and Corporate Comedian. Read his weekly Ninja Dad blog www.malcolmdix.com

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MANAGING BEDTIME Here are a few ideas for getting younger school-age kids to sleep

BY YVONN

E ADELE

We’ve all been there: “Just ONE more story.” “I’m hungry!” “I’m thirsty!” “Pat me.” I’m a mum of three (17, 9, 6) and here are the bedtime techniques that I switch between.. Once the agreed number of books have been read, I agree to one more ‘make it up’ story. I ask Miles to come up with three things I have to include in the story (a throwback to my improv. classes) and then I weave together a magic tale of fun and craziness for a few minutes. Somehow all of my stories have to have Batman, Superman and Spiderman in them. (Which reminds me: once, I said, “Batman, Superman and Spiderman were invited to a party. They were so excited that they got there early, one by one. Batman came in and went straight to the party table and started eating all the bats. Spiderman arrived next and started eating all the spiders. Then Superman arrived..” I asked Miles “what did Superman eat?” “SOUP!” he shouted.) Another technique I use is to start talking about breakfast. “I’ll see you in the morning, and if we all get to sleep on time, we’ll have time to make pancakes for breakfast – would that be good? What will you have on yours? Will you drizzle the honey on mine for me?” This usually leads to: “OK, let’s go to sleep straight away so tomorrow comes quicker!” and my reply, “I’ll come back and check on you in 10 minutes.” Finally, both younger kids have iPods attached to speakers in their rooms but they know they’re not allowed to listen to them every single night, and never unless they are in bed on time (7:30pm) and only for half an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever gone in to find them still awake after 8! If all else fails, sometimes it’s GOT TO be OK to give up and fall asleep with them, right?

www.parentingideas.com.au

Yvonne Adele, FiveHive Corner FiveHive was hatched by me, Yvonne Adele (previously known as Ms Megabyte) - a parent of 2 primary school aged kids. My buddies and I are constantly swapping great nuggets of information on how to get through this crazy parenthood maze. It is a collection of useful fives for busy modern parents. Recipes, craft activities, things to do, ways to live etc. Submit your own ‘five’: www.fivehive.com www.fivehive.com

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MILESTONE MOMENTS ENNINGS

A bit of preparation can help you and your child get the most out of their biggest milestones.

BY BILL J

Wow! In June this year our little baby girl turned 18. What happened to the time? On the momentous day that Amber legally became an adult, I was up before dawn searching for and eventually finding some of my old journals. As a milestone day, this was a day to be thankful that I’ve always kept journals. I eventually found what I was looking for: a record of Amber's arrival on the planet eighteen years before, at 8.47am on 15 June 1993, the Countess Hospital, Chester, UK. My journal entries give a minute by minute account of the details of Amber's very dramatic entry into the world. As first-time parents, we had it all planned: a water birth and minimal intervention. All that went out the window when Amber chose 'sideways' as her pathway to the outside. After her arrival I rang my parents in Australia, learning that my Great Great Auntie Flo' was staying with them ... Amber's birth had created five living generations in our tribe. My journals brought back lots of other memories of life with Amber. Here are just a few (related with the birthday girl's, in fact birthday woman's, permission). In 1995, we were renting in Richmond and had no car. I used to ride Amber to crèche in a baby seat on the back of my bike. Down Lennox Street to Collingwood where I worked. There was a park in front of the high rise flats, always blanketed with seagulls. “Birdy, birdy, birdy!” was the daily shout of delight from the little girl on the back of the bike. And dad would join in. Around the same time was the day Amber showed her zest for learning. The Mighty Lisa and I had thought it important to teach Amber the proper names for the human reproductive parts. We were in a long supermarket queue, Amber sitting on my hip. Amber looked down the line and saw a man, a woman, a man, two women and a man, in front of us. Leaning out and pointing in a confident fashion she tested her biological knowledge ... in full voice.

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“PENIS, VAGINA, PENIS, VAGINA, VAGINA, PENIS and daddy then there's you and you have a PENIS!” Triumphantly she smiled and stretched out her arms, having proudly declared her knowledge to the world. Great parenting idea we had there. Thankfully the people of the queue found it hilarious. Another journal entry recalled a Saturday in September 1999: Preliminary Final day at the MCG. Amber, six years old, was asleep on my lap from late in the third quarter ... probably the most relaxed Bomber fan of the 80,519 people there that day as our team went down by a solitary point. There was a time much later when Amber had to deal with some stuff with one of her friends. I told her that it is better to take things head on – talk directly to the person you have a problem with, not about them, behind their back. Let them know how you feel. She did it: spoke her mind with her friend and sorted out the problem. I haven't forgotten how proud I was of her. Digging out the journals isn’t the only thing we do to celebrate milestone moments. Something we always try to do is make sure we share affirming notes with the person whose day it is. On the day of Amber’s 18th birthday her brother presented a funny and touching note in the birthday card he gave her … he noted that in his life, he had 'learnt a few things' about his sister. Three actually. #1 Don't bother you in the mornings; #2 Don't go into your room; #3 You are a very lovely, beautiful, loyal, fun, caring and passionate person and that I am lucky to be your brother. That's a pretty cool affirmation from a nearly 15 year old boy. The Mighty Lisa commissioned me with our card writing duties:

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IT’S IMPORTANT TO SAVOUR MEMORIES & CELEBRATE YOUR FAMILY’S MILESTONE MOMENTS. Dearest Amber. Officially an adult. We are so proud of the young woman you have become. You are blessed with so much. May you have an adult life that is stunning ... that makes a difference. We love you. Mum & Dad On the night of Amber’s birthday we shared a meal at her favourite Indian restaurant – a family tradition. It was her first birthday dinner with her boyfriend along (yep, nothing prepares you for that moment either dads... there is no handbook) We didn’t take this occasion for granted. We know we are fortunate: it is not a given that every kid makes it to 18. But none of us should take any of these occasions for granted. It’s important to savour memories and celebrate your family’s milestone moments. Here are some handy tips for capturing and celebrating the milestone moments of your child’s journey, wherever you are on that journey:

occasions as well. Poignant recognitions of their qualities and achievements will become heirlooms that they will treasure for nothing short of a lifetime … your kindness will be embedded deep in their memory. 4. Are you an expectant mum or dad? Start journaling! Quick, descriptive notes trigger the memories down the years. A moment recorded in writing keeps the images you’ve filed away sharp and clear.

COMPLIMENTARY OFFER! If you would like to take up a complimentary membership to the ‘Time & Space’ Update group… just e-mail bjennings@time-space.com.au – if you’d like a prospectus of the Time & Space program options, just ask and Bill will send one out to you.

1. Take a couple of hours on your own to recall and jot down an early memory of a special time together, just the two of you. Recall, also, a moment when your child has made you proud. And capture some funny stories as well.

Bill Jennings, Time & Space

2. At milestone moments in your child’s life, bring other members of your tribe, especially siblings … fully into play. Encourage them to write a thoughtful note that has warm humour and true affirmation. This builds your family bonds.

Bill Jennings is Australia’s leading parent-child program facilitator. As director of Time & Space, Bill offers your community exactly that… ‘time & space’ for young people and their parents to share important memories and, in doing that, create a new one.

3. Write notes of affirmation to your children when they reach a milestone and, importantly, on random

www.parentingideas.com.au

www.time-space.com.au bjennings@time-space.com.au

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Parentingideas Magazine Issue 2  

Full of great tips and advice for parents who are really serious about bringing out the very best in their kids. Download it now and start s...

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