How To Stop Running Away From Being A Parent

The truth is that we spend hours a day trying to avoid being a parent. We look for excuses to get away from our children and to do something for ourselves. We feel constant pressure to be perfect and constant reminders through social media that we are not doing anything nearly exciting as what others are doing. We come up with opportunities to prove that we are good parents and take photo evidence to share with others to make ourselves feel better about the fact that we don’t always like this job, the hours, or the demands that it makes on our time or our sanity.

We are judged by others for the things that we do and for the things that we don’t do and we are judged by those who are similar and different, those with children and those without. Our biggest judge however is usually ourselves.

We criticise ourselves for our lack of time, energy, interest, motivation, money, skills or desire. We want to be perfect and we want to stack up to others expectations but we forget that we are all living in an illusion. No one actually has it all together and no one actually knows how to do it.

When our parents parented us it was without Google. They made it up as they went along and sometimes they stuffed it right up, but at least they were consistent. We are more likely to not parent rather than risk parenting proactively and getting it wrong.

We go into it with ideals, but no concrete plan. Our parents worked and worked hard. They didn’t play with us because that was not their job. They didn’t entertain us that was what siblings were for. They didn’t need to socialise us because we had kids in our class and we didn’t need play dates because we could just wait until Monday when we went back to school.

We made our own fun and often we were bored. We didn’t listen and we hated our parents when we were angry. We made a fuss and we got a smack and we got angry and then we got over it.

We wore hand me downs because that is what was available and we didn’t realise that it could be any other way.

We had a sense of protection and security, and regular meals even if we did not like what was served, and we didn’t have takeaway on every corner.

Our parents struggled but they never let on. They faked it as best they could and the good ones let us know that they cared and were prepared to talk about their parenting strategies when we grew up.

Now we have way too many choices and we are confused about what is required of us as parents. It is time to come up with a plan:

Be on your child’s side and understand their point of view. Love them and show them that you care, but do not seek to be everything and do not seek to take the place of other important people in their lives.

Let them live a slow childhood. One where time lasts a little longer and they can spend it playing what they like. Know that playing Barbies might be replaced with watching Barbie and that playing Lego may be replaced with building in Minecraft but don’t worry too much about this. Don’t force them to go backwards, be pleased that they are playing.

Make your own rules about how you want to parent and be flexible as your circumstances change.

Look for ways to improve your life but keep it simple. Create a relationship between yourself and your child that is independent of their relationships with others and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of you.

Decide clearly what your job description is and get on with it as best you can. Do the same for your children and let them get on with theirs. It might still be hard but at least you can make it simple.

Children Learn Through Watching and Listening To You

Children more than ever need to know that we are in charge. They have a basic innate need to know that we know more than Google and that we are invincible. When our children see us giving up or getting flattened by life, they lose their confidence in the world. After all who could ever be more important or more powerful in their lives than their parents? Even if children have some sort of understanding of God, this is still a very intangible thing. You however, are real, tangible and right in front of them.

You are not born into this world to get your self-esteem from your children. This is why you have friends, perhaps a partner and a connection with something greater than yourself. This is where it is your responsibility to respect yourself enough to set clear boundaries with your children. When they see that you respect yourself then they begin to respect you. Remember they learn through watching and listening to you.

They actually gain a lot of insight when you speak with your friends about your approach to parenting and when you compliment your children to your friend when you know that your children are listening. Remember to always shape their thoughts and behaviors towards what you would like rather than constantly pointing out their failings. If you want your child to listen then tell them they are a wonderful listener. If you want them to stop hitting then praise them for being so gentle. “He is such a gentle young man. He always looks out for his sister and he is careful of her feelings”. You are not lying; you are projecting their potential so that they can see it as an option or a possibility in their life.

You are showing them a behavior or characteristic, and very plainly showing them how it would feel to act in those ways. Why else did US president Barack Obama get a Nobel peace prize before he did anything overtly to promote peace?

If others speak of your positive characteristics then you want to live up to their expectations. When you see your child acting in a way that is positive then confirm it for them “wow you are being so gentle with your little sister there, I was just telling my friend the other day how gentle you are. It takes a strong man to be gentle to others” All of a sudden gentleness becomes something to strive for.

At the same time when you see your child acting against the characteristic i.e. being rough, put a halt to the behavior saying something like “Hey, we are gentle in our family remember, play a bit more gently please”. Be specific if you need to be “You can give her a gentle hug if you like but don’t push at her like that because it will hurt her and you’ll end up in time out and that’s no fun”.

If he persists with the behavior then act swiftly and remove him from the room to a time out. As a parent you need to play nice and then act swiftly and with decisiveness to correct poor behavior. It is easier if you have a plan of what behavior you are targeting so that it doesn’t take you by surprise.

Remember, parenting is about connection. This goes for praise as well as correction. You might have your own secret code for when your child is behaving well, like a high five and they may begin seeking opportunities to get this special signal. In the same way it is possible to have a code for discipline which could be very subtle, like a look or a signal or not saying anything. This can be used well in public situations where you warn your child without shaming them. For example, if your child is about to jump on someone else’s couch you say ‘Mark?’ in a really normal tone of voice. When he looks at you, you just give him a smile and a knowing nod and he understands not to do whatever he is about to do. If he holds back from the behavior acknowledge him later with “Hey Mark?” in the same tone, when he looks at you give a thumbs up and a knowing glance. Later you can reward him with a lollie or a treat and remember to say “hey you did such a good job listening today, I think you’ve earned yourself a treat.”

This way they begin to learn that good behavior immediately equals good things i.e. the thumbs up or the high five and then later with a treat.

As you and your children learn this system you should be able to communicate very well with a gesture or a glance that is very subtle, that gets the message across and gets a result without shaming them or embarrassing you.

Later you give them a brief sentence about why you asked them to stop. “Thanks for not jumping on our friend’s couch. It looked like it could be a lot of fun but we need to respect other people’s things”. In this way they get praise and information that they can store away for other situations that involve other people’s property.

Wherever possible get your kids to act as a team either with their siblings or with you. When one child does something positive reward the whole team. For example, if one child shares with another you say “wow, great sharing, I think you just earned the whole team a reward”. When everyone gets a reward for one person’s good behavior now they want their siblings to be good and they themselves have a motivation to be good.

Add yourself to the team and reward yourself. For example, say “good job mum!” and pat yourself on the back “hey kids I just folded that whole load of washing AND put it away, I think I just earned us a treat”. This way they kids learn that letting mum do her tasks uninterrupted equals rewards for everyone and all of a sudden they are getting rewarded by letting you do your thing. It’s also great for your own self esteem to get a high five from the kids for something that you have achieved during the day no matter how bizarre or mundane.

A great trick when you are feeling burnt out is to verbally put yourself in time out. When you are losing it with the kids or getting super frustrated then say, “That’s it mum, you are losing it. TIME OUT” Then storm off to your room and if it is safe to do so shut the door for a few minutes. The kids will be so surprised that you live by the same rules that you impose on them that they shouldn’t disturb you. Check an email or Facebook or read or deep breathe for a minute or text a friend and then come out. You don’t need to apologize for your behavior as you do not need to make your children apologize. Remember time out is for taking a break and diffusing a situation, not for blaming or shaming yourself or someone else.

Go about your business as though it’s no big deal. You may find that when you are getting cranky your children will ask you if you need a time out. Rather than getting offended this is a great step forward because they are showing you that they understand the principle and know when to implement it. It is also awesome that your kids would help you to have time on your own for a few minutes!!

Play as many games as you can to get things achieved. Having trouble having breakfast or taking your vitamins because the kids keep interrupting you? Then get them involved in being a part of the solution. Tell them that you are playing a game called ‘Focus’ tell them that you are getting distracted when you need to eat breakfast and get them to help you concentrate. When you get distracted get them to say ‘focus’ and then get back to what you are supposed to be doing. Make it a game by saying “oh, I better wipe this bench” while the kids yell “focus!!” “Oh I better put out the rubbish” “focus!!” “Oh I better concentrate on eating my breakfast”. Then eat your breakfast without distraction and when you are done hi five the kids for playing and get them to put a tick each on a white board or a piece of paper. This gives them a sense of satisfaction again for helping you to do what is important without too much distraction.

It also teaches them the art of focus so that when eventually teachers at school or you yourself tell them to focus on what they need to do they remember how to do it.

Assisting The Creative Process

Children do not let us just use one faculty. They expect more from us and they know that they use all three all the time and they are better for it. When we observe children and we say ‘I don’t know where they get their energy from’ it is not because they are young, it is because they engage all of their faculties (mind, body and spirit) at once and rest them frequently. They play and then stop. They run and then stop, they talk (use their brain) and then well, not so much stop, but they do spurts of activity followed by spurts of less vigorous activity and then they switch off completely for a bit (TV). When they sleep they may dream but they do so in a healing capacity. They experience great satisfaction through their productivity and are not exposed to the hours of constant worry that we, their parents are, for maintaining the essentials of life. It is not age that dictates energy it is the way we co-ordinate our brain, body and spirit.

When our attention is split so is our satisfaction. We think that there is not enough time in the day and so we tend to get as many things done at once as we can. People often comment that they have their best ideas in the shower. This is not because they are multitasking it is because they can access mind, body and spirit at the same time without the distraction of their smart phone. Generally the ones, who say this, shower alone, they do it without distraction, they do it with the door shut and they take their time. These are all factors that assist with the creative process.

What is a little frightening is that this is sometimes the only time in someone’s day that all of these criterion’s are met. If we have our greatest insight in the 10-15 minutes a day that we set the right conditions, imagine how our lives might be if we maintained these conditions for longer periods, minus the running water and the nakedness.

If we made the time to be creative I wonder how many of our day to day problems and irritations could be minimised or even solved. I wonder how our daily lives may be different or better and I wonder how this role modelling to our children would impact on their ability to do amazing things.

Thinking For Ourselves

We need to get better at recognizing the old world when we see it. It is in the old ways of doing things that seem unproductive. The old world creates work for the sake of creating work. The old world is always insisting on red tape and holding up good ideas. The old world sees the debate as the end result rather than as the pathway to change.

This is not to say that we should ever ignore the needs of others but it means that when you have a good idea that has benefit for all, then there should be no barrier in implementing these new systems whilst the energy flow is there.

When you are relying on what is already in place without asking why and for what purpose then you are getting sucked into the old world.

You do not immediately need to know how to be in the new world as the systems are still in development but you will know that arguing, fighting, contracting, paranoia and rigid thinking are all of the old world. When you have something that you need to share with the world, you should not be held back by traditional forms of advertising etc. You should not allow yourself to be bought or sold.

In the new world we operate with integrity, respect and word of mouth. Funnily enough this is something that we used to do long ago but this has been forgotten. We all need to move away from sales and instead focus on having our concept available.

We need to begin to rely on synchronicity to guide our schedule and our inspiration. We need to reduce the pace of life so that we can be more efficient and more productive. The governments of the world feel that if we just keep producing and selling and borrowing that all will be well and that if we do something radical like have integrity and be responsible then they lose control.

This is a scary concept and they genuinely believe that marketplaces would crumble, jobs would be lost and people would suffer, but this is just not true.

The new world involves a more relaxed pace, reasonable working hours and conditions, inspired thinking and simple living. It is still possible to be clean, simple, fun and productive and maintain a viable economy; we just need to do it.

We need to be personally responsible for ourselves and for helping others as required. We need to move out of the victim patterning so that we are not expecting handouts. We need to all focus on getting better in our own way without excessive reliance on doctors to make us better and schools and universities to educate us.

We need now, to begin to think for ourselves. Yes a scary thought given that I am unsure as to when we last did this. We need to ‘Google’ less and reason more. We need to be become clear on our own ideas before we flood ourselves with other people’s answers.

Today we are being traumatised on a large scale by not only seeing the devastation around us, but oftentimes viewing it live, as it happens. We see the tragedies and we seek to solve old conflicts with old solutions.

We cannot simultaneously solve all of the problems of the world at once, but if one person has a good idea and implements it and then another person has a good idea and implements it and then another and another, then maybe we actually can create change that is positive.

If you want to read five books you need to open just to one page and start there. Your eyes cannot process five books simultaneously. If you attempt this you will become overloaded. The people of today are essentially trying to do too much at once and they are breaking down.

We have been tricked into thinking that we can have everything we have ever thought of and everything that we haven’t even thought of, right now and that if we don’t then we are missing out. This is not the truth people! We need to stop believing lies.

We only have this life to live right now. There is no point in trying to do everything. The amount of information and experience available to us grows by the second. We used to feel grateful when labour saving devices became available but instead these devices have made life more complicated. All of these devices require additional features that are constantly upgraded and they all cost more and more money. We will never be able to buy something once and have it for ten years because as soon as we swipe our credit cards the item has already been out-dated by something that is newer, better and more essential.

When we finally feel that we are on top of our obsession with our regularly updated cars, houses, holidays, smart phones, tablets and gaming systems etc. we are introduced to…ta da SPACE TRAVEL!!

Now we NEEEEEEED to set our sights on getting into space because Earth is so boring now. But we don’t need to save because that is something that doesn’t exist any more. Now you buy everything on a credit card or a pay later plan and in sixty years time you will still be working to pay for the meals that you ate and the toys that you played with in the last century.
When you die it doesn’t really matter because all of your debt will be passed off to someone else and they will just add it to their credit card or their pay it later plan and continue to exhaust themselves in pursuit of all of the ‘stuff’ that is essential for their generation.

So how do you recognise the old world? Well if it feels like it might drown you if you paid attention to it then it is probably old world.

The new world is still enjoyable and fun and contains plenty for the sensation seekers among us but it is also reasonable, relaxing and balanced. It is centred around real connections with loved ones, satisfying hard work and contribution to something more than just the self.

In the new world we don’t sell, sell, sell and we don’t just buy, buy, buy. We pause and we reflect a little more. We make choices that fill us will a strange feeling called contentment. This is not stagnant or unchanging but it is empowering and fresh and life giving. When we step into the new world we do not think less, we think better. We allow ourselves to have inspiration and we get excited by life instead of dreading it.

In the new world the children actually want to grow up! They actually see the joy in becoming an adult. They want to be a grown up because it is achievable, not because they are trying to escape the torture that has become their childhood.

Children at the moment are trapped with all of the responsibilities of adults as far as expectations of education, consumerism and production, but without any of the privileges or means by which to meet their own needs. In some respects the children have had to be responsible for their unprepared parents who are still stuck in between phases of being a child and being an adult as well.

When their parents were kids they didn’t have the toys and the gadgets. They don’t want to miss out on all this new stuff so they become childlike again. The children have been born into a world where these gadgets are commonplace and so they are bored easily and are looking to their parents to show them what it is like to be an adult. What they see is a tech obsessed society that forgets to eat and move and sleep and so the children assume that this is normal.

Because we are so caught up in this world we actually expect more from our children then we expect from ourselves. We expect them to work five days a week at school and then do homework after hours. We expect them to do as we say and be respectful and attentive and we expect them to do all of this without pay and without complaint and without any of the perks of being an adult.

We however, refuse to behave in the same way as adults. We defy authority; get caught up in politics and news and technology. We push ourselves to work harder and play harder and we get frustrated with our children when they don’t fit in.

We have lost sight of what being an adult is actually about. We get angry with the government for not providing for us and we get angry that we need to spend money on stupid things like doctors and underwear and groceries. Our brains have been so fried that we genuinely don’t remember any other way to live and we can’t be bothered bursting our bubble because if we don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist.

When we get sick or breakdown and have to step out of this crazy old world that we have created, we realise that we have attempted to survive in the world sustaining ourselves only with wants and not needs and we believe that the basics like air and water can be easily replaced with take away and soft drinks. Our bodies do a magnificent, selfless job trying to keep up with these demands and when they suddenly break we want it to be everyone else’s fault.

We forget, we suppress and we deny, but the truth keeps coming back. We need to change. We need to remember a new world. We need to say no to the old world ways. We need to start thinking for ourselves. We need to retrain our brains to focus. We need to relearn how to listen and how to speak and how to walk and how to physically and mentally BE in this new world.

We need smaller houses so that they are easier to maintain. We need to cook for ourselves with local products. We need to sleep regular hours, drink plenty of this stuff called ‘tap water’; we need to walk more and move around so that our bodies do not stiffen up or shut down. We need to learn to talk to people face to face. We need to save for things and stop digging ourselves into a deeper hole. We need to let go of things that are not helping us and we need to say no to the obsession of upgrading every day. Most importantly we need to show our children how to do this also.

We may think that it is hard work but if we don’t do something different then where will we be in ten years from now??

Pick Up After Yourself

When you do not pick up after yourself you are announcing that you don’t care anymore and that you do not respect yourself or those around you.

This may be the case and if it is, it needs to be dealt with more directly but, if it is not the case then your behaviour is communicating the wrong message.

When we don’t pick up after ourselves it is often because something lacks a home or we have too much stuff.

We need to respect our stuff and to care for it.  If we are unable to do this then we need to pack it away or get rid of it.

Kids are infinitely creative but we keep wanting them to switch it off.  We buy them lots of toys with a specific purpose and we discourage creative pursuits.
Get rid of these things.  Your children will not be bored with 5 toys each and 5 shared toys.  Try it and judge for yourself.

Involve them and see how much fun they can have with this adventure.


Don’t let anyone or anything feed off your family. Don’t let anyone or anything feed off your soul.

Be clear that you are no dying carcass, that you are strong and healthy and vital, and that your energy is your own.

Do not be a parasite to others. Do not cling and suck and be jealous.

I take and I give. I reap and I sow. I open and I close. This is my life, my power and my time. So be it.  So be it. So be it.

Do not allow your children to become parasites. This is not good for them or anyone they come in contact with.

Help them to empower themselves. Help them to walk away from those things that compel them to forfeit responsibility.

Be responsible to them but do not be responsible for them.

Children need to be children. They need to laugh and have fun and play, but they also need to have responsibilities to this world and so do the adults.

As adults we need to take care of our responsibilities first and then have fun, laugh and play, not the other way around.

When the world is running smoothly and things are on track we all enjoy ourselves.

Do not allow yourself to get addicted to anyone or anything. If you do, you become the parasite.

Do not put up with those who drain your energy and leave you feeling angry, flat or depressed.

Manage your energy people! Tidy up after yourselves emotionally.

Take responsibility for your mess and tidy it up. When we pick up after ourselves the world is a nicer place to live and work in.

No one wants to trip over someone else’s stuff and no one wants to get hit with other people’s emotional baggage. So work on it, deal with it and do something about it, and expect the same of others.

No one wants to know what you had for breakfast. Maintain some privacy and dignity. Share what’s important but don’t pour yourself all over other people. It’s uncomfortable.

And for those who never share, never open up to others, come on! Give it a go. Start making a contribution. We need more than spam on the airways or we just become a planet of Ads.

Let’s create a world of value and meaning.

Let’s take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions, and start growing a world that is decent, and that we can be proud of. Let’s stop sucking the life out of each other and start growing strong on positivity.

It is possible and it tastes a lot better than what you had for breakfast today!

Our Children’s Education

The children of today suffer from the on again off again switch. They are either struggling or they are not being encouraged enough. Schools attempt to meet the individual needs of the child and they want the parents to take responsibility for educating their children at home as well, but they do not necessarily take into account each parent’s view on what their child needs.

The school system needs to be more transparent. To give the parents a chance, in really concrete terms, to know what their child is expected to achieve over the course of the year and to let them see the high pressure times and the more relaxed periods.

Children these days are never given a chance to relax and enjoy the learning process. For the kids who are struggling, the normal homework and curriculum are hard enough without extra work lumped on top and the kids that should be excited that they have learned a word list or have had major achievements should be given a breath before they are loaded up with the next level.

In our children’s education, we have forgotten how to pause and how to breathe. Our children do not have enough time to complete tasks and adding more of the same task is not always the answer. Children need to understand concepts and problem solving. Sometimes they need less work and more focus on their understanding. For some children, they are not going to ‘get it’ until they ‘get it’. For these kids it’s just a matter of time.

We have at the moment a situation where children are burnt out before they even reach the school system.

How do our children unwind? They have no places that are safe to play anymore and no opportunity to be out of the watchful eyes of their parents. They suffer from anxieties and stress and the school system does not seem to be encouraging a love of learning but rather, is just showing them how to jump through academic hoops at younger and younger ages. This does not make for confident students, it makes for tired ones.

These children are completing homework and readers and spelling lists on a daily basis, on top of the regular school curriculum and, in many cases, weekends are taken up with activities designed to reduce stress. Kids who were previously bursting with creativity and energy sit lethargically complaining that they are ‘bored’ when what they really mean is ‘I am too exhausted to think of something fun to do’.

Our children are wanting to connect with their friends and as parents we are always trying to find the balance between ‘socialising’ our children, whilst regulating their peer group so that they are associating with the ‘right’ friends, whom ever we determine these people to be, whilst trying to make sure that they are not playing too much because there is homework to be done or meals to be had.

We are struggling to be in control of everything. If we didn’t we would probably be inclined to go the other way and not regulate anything. It is an all or nothing approach to life and parenting but we cannot maintain either approach, and so our children get very inconsistent variations of parenting.

Some days mum is in control. She runs a tight ship. Meals are prepared and homework is enforced. Play time is limited.

Some days mum doesn’t even see me through the glaze of exhaustion. She doesn’t care and she lets me do what I want. She yells and half heatedly tries to put in place consequences.
I don’t think I prefer either of these mum’s. My in the middle mum is the best. She is kind of good enough, most of the time. She is normal and fallible but she doesn’t beat herself up about it. Sometimes we play more than other times depending on what needs to be done, but on the whole she is aware of what’s going on around her and what she would like us to be doing as a family.

We need to find safe places for our children to play and we need to let them play without our constant supervision. We need to allow our children to develop their skills at their own pace and extend or assist them as they require it. Sometimes more work is not better, more time is. Sometimes we need to push a little but mostly we don’t.

As parents we ourselves, need to remember how to play. We need to get our own anxieties under control and we need to start role modelling this new relaxed paced, but still productive life.

It is possible, because we have asked for it. When we are ready to ask how? The answers come to us.


Refuse to allow your life to become busy. We think that this is impossible but actually this is under our control.

If life becomes busy then do not let this be a permanent fixture of your life.

Establish your family’s priorities. Take note of the lyrics from the Circle of Life from the Lion King “There is more to see that can ever be seen and more to do that can ever be done.”
There is always more to experience in this world than we could ever hope to experience in just one lifetime. Rather than letting this overwhelm you or paralyse you, consider the experiences that you find most important and enjoyable and focus on these.


What you do right now, in this moment, today, will always have more power than anything that you are ‘going’ to do in the future. When you change your behaviour and take action, no matter how small, it counts.

‘Today I took my daughter to the pool’ is always more powerful than ‘I’ve decided that I am going to take my daughter to the pool every day’.

No matter whether you ever take her again, she will always have the experience that you provided today, in this moment.

So often we decide not to connect with our children because we are not going to always be able to do it.

We say ‘I better not get them used to breast feeding because I have to go back to work’. We say ‘I’d better not soothe my baby with a dummy as I will have to wean her off it one day’. ‘I better not hold my baby too much as they will begin to expect it’.

‘I better not attach to my baby as they will have trouble going to child care’.

‘I better not connect to my child because one day they will have to grow up and I won’t be around’.

But can you see how each of these decisions mean that time and time again your child is missing out on the most important person in their life? You.

Every time you hold yourself back because you fear that one day you will lose them, or that you will not be there, you are dying to your child over and over again.

Of course they will grow up, of course they will need to become independent one day, but for now, just for today, what if we hold, and love, and tend to, and care for, and soothe our babies? Just for now, what if we enjoy this precious moment that is gone soon enough without us cutting it short because we have things to do?

When our children are growing they will also have ‘things to do’ but hopefully they will have learned by your example that there is always time to stop and connect and appreciate your family.

At the end of the day isn’t that what counts more than what your money or other people can provide?

Christmas Every Day

When you are dealing with an unruly teenager the most important feeling that you need to get under control is your guilt. If we stop putting our guilt onto our teenagers they would be far more responsible. We pour our emotions all over our children and we drown them in them. It doesn’t matter what they do, it is not what we would do so we get anxious, we worry, we fret and we feel sick in the stomach because they are making choices that we have no experience of. When something goes wrong we feel guilty and we feel furious, usually both at the same time.

Kids need the opportunity to make their own choices but they need a foundation of teaching from their parents that shows them HOW to make good decisions.

We have not taught our children these skills probably because we were not taught them. We do not know how to take philosophy and turn it into action and decision making skills and yet we expect this of our children. When our children fail miserably at making reasonable decisions we then blame ourselves for not teaching them or not being harder on them.

It is not about being hard and soft. It is about being responsive to their needs, but not necessarily their wants.

In days gone by there used to be Christmas and Easter and Birthdays. These were the major events in which children were given a gift, and often it was just that, A gift. Easter was the time for chocolate and Christmas and Birthday’s were the day of treat foods. Three days out of the year. These days any day that ends in Y is a reason to give a gift. These days our gift giving is dictated by the catalogues and the sales. I got my son or daughter this because they were 20% off. We are the kids in the candy store and we model this to our children.

Every time we treat ourselves to food or anything of financial value we feel that we need to share with our children or it is not fair.

We do not have treat food days; we have cake for breakfast and soft drink instead of water. We feel ashamed if our children do not fit in with the latest clothes and gadgets. We literally smother our children with material things and our own desires.

Kids respond by playing the game. You give me things and then when I ask for what I want you get angry because it is not up to me to pick and choose what you give me.

Kids are confused. Everything feels like a power play for them. Love is expressed through material goods (a clear message that we have given them) yet when we ask for stuff, parents resent giving it (so they don’t love me), what they don’t understand is that the rules are confusing because parents don’t know what they are doing or why.

We are manipulated by the media. When we were younger we discovered the happy meal and it made us ‘happy’ we want to share this with our children but they don’t feel ‘happy’ with the same meal they want more, and then more, and then more.

In a desperate attempt to get the same happy feeling we had as kids, we keep throwing happy meals at them thinking they just don’t understand it. One day they will. The trouble with Christmas every day is that the meaning gets lost.

When everyday is a party, kids get tired.

As parents, we want to be in control but we are trying to be in control of all of the wrong things.

Kids need to work hard for their rewards in order to appreciate them. They need to value the time that they get to play with their toys and they need to have their gadgets as an equal measure of healthy behaviour. For example ½ hour of homework = ½ hour of a gadget.

Children are not our equals. They are our children. They do not have the reasoning abilities that adults allegedly have and they should not have the responsibilities that adults have. They are not ready for it. They should not carry all of your stress and your expectations.

You need to be clear on your philosophy of parenting. You need to be clear about what your family stands for and what is important and valued in your family. When you know what you want for your family YOU can set the tone and the environment for learning and experience.

When you know that it is your family philosophy to be responsive but not a concierge, then you do not feel guilty getting your children to put their own rubbish in the bin and tidy up after themselves. You know that it is important to listen when your children speak and respond to them when they are hurt or upset. You are clear that you respect your child but that there are rules that everyone in the family has to live by.

Make sure that you have some rules that are different for parents and for children to show them that there are privileges that come with being a parent. We want our children to want to grow up and to want to embrace the responsibilities and the privileges of being an adult.

Write a list now of the 5 things that are most important for your family.

What rules help your family to achieve these aims?

What actions can you take to move your family towards these aims?

What responsibilities do the children in your family have? Why do they have these responsibilities?

What privileges do the children in your family have? Why do they have these privileges?

What responsibilities do the adults in your family have? Why do they have these responsibilities?

What privileges do the adults in your family have? Why do they have these privileges?

What days are important in your family during an average year? How do you celebrate them? How much do your traditions cost you? Would your traditions still be enjoyable if they did not cost you as much?

We often have the idea that we need to spend money in order to have something be enjoyable and that we need to spend an equal amount on each child in order to make it fair. This is parent guilt and again it is affecting your children’s experience of life.

Value is not always measured in monetary terms, by consistently buying equal value and constantly tipping the scales and upping the ante to make things even, we are telling our children repeatedly that it is.

We are letting our guilt raise our children and we are letting our guilt make us poor and sad and angry and miserable. Does this make our children want to be in our company? Do you like being manipulated by guilt? If not, then don’t use this to control your children.

Have clear expectations. Family time is important in our family. We enjoy spending time together. We have positive relationships with each other. We respect each other. We care about each other.

These are your philosophies so what responsibilities come with this?

Parents need to take time to listen and speak with their children. They need to pay attention to what family activities the family enjoys together. They do not need to do more of these activities as more is not always better, but be aware of what works in your family. Parent’s responsibility is to pay attention and have a higher level of insight into what their children need and enjoy.
It is a parent’s responsibility to manage their own emotions and to set reasonable limits on themselves and their children.

Parents have the privilege of setting their own bedtime, deciding what the family will eat and they are allowed to drive and drink alcohol responsibly. They are allowed to watch what they want to watch on TV and play on their gadgets but these things should be done after children are in bed or consciously limited when children are around. Kids want to mimic you. They want to do what you do or it’s not fair.

Rules and reasons need to be explained and you need to set rules and reasons for yourself. Adults have different privileges but they also have higher level responsibilities and we need to be mindful not to be hypocrites.

If you limit your child to 20 minutes on their gadgets and then spend 5 hours on them yourself you are not setting a very good example. You may limit yourself to 2 hours because you are an adult but be clear with your child when your limit is up. Say something like ‘whoa I’ve been on this for an hour it is time to take a break, my eyes are getting really tired.’ You can use these teaching moments to subtly explain how a behaviour effects you. You might say to your partner in front of the kids. ‘No wonder I didn’t sleep very well last night. I stayed up and watched a scary show and it gave me nightmares, I think it’s early to bed for me tonight…’

By role modelling your thought processes occasionally out loud, (in a non annoying way) our children have the opportunity to see that you do actually have a thought process for the things that you do.

The best piece of advice for parents of unruly children is get your own emotional issues sorted first. You cannot seek to change others if you yourself do not have adequate support for your own emotional issues, even if these issues are simply that your child or children are driving you mad.

As you read through these suggestions regarding philosophies and reasons it may cause you to realise that you don’t actually have them. In days gone by our parents would have acted according to the etiquette of the day. We are doing the same but, today there does not seem to be a clear etiquette as we deal with technologies and life circumstances that seemed to be rare in generations gone by.

The best thing to do is to have confidence. If you are reading and acting on ANYTHING that you have read here then you are doing really well. It is important to not get overwhelmed with everything that is before you. Take your time. Complete and implement one activity or strategy at a time and let it slowly change your life for the better.

Sometimes it is best not to let anyone in your household know what you are reading or what you are trying to do as their internal saboteur will get involved with yours and you may end up achieving less than you initially expected.

Make changes slowly and others in your household will wonder what has changed. This is where their curiosity may get the better of them and they may ask you. It is ok to share freely about what you are reading and doing if you are asked but otherwise just go about your business and let them go about theirs.

You may feel angry initially as you think about all of the things that have not been going to plan and you may feel frustrated that others in the household are not helping. This is ok. Change yourself first. Become strong yourself first. Begin to manage people differently and get through the initial reactions of others then keep putting one foot in front of the other.

As you begin to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual home a sense of peace and accomplishment will eventually take hold and you will be freed up to discover and act upon your higher hearts calling.

As you take this journey you will be supported every step of the way by the universe who always supports someone with a clear intention and the action to back it up.


Children may not understand but they can feel.  Help them understand their feelings by listening and summarising. Don’t be afraid to ask why as children’s why represents curiosity.  It is only as adults we perceive why as critical or requiring  justification.

Look at each emotion like a secret code.  If a child says I’m frightened they are saying I need comfort.  If they say I’m angry it’s because they are hurt then frightened that going without will damage them.

When a child first turns on a tap, they do not know that water will come out.  This is both frightening and exciting, what they do know is that if you the parent are not afraid then it is OK.

When a child falls and grazes their knee they respond to your reaction more than their own pain.

If we as parents can rear our children in a way that suggests that we are calm, in charge and in control, then our children will learn that it is safe to explore and that their parents will stop them from doing anything dangerous.

So what then is dangerous?  Is it pulling the pots and pans out from the cupboard or running out onto the road? Is it licking a dirty floor or playing with an electric knife?

Only by calmly disciplining our children will they respond.

A lesson will only be learned by repetition.  Many parents strive instead to discipline hard enough or severe enough that the child will never do this again, but what they find is that their child then becomes fearful to learn anything.

Minimise the risks but maintain the enthusiasm for learning.

Look to your own upbringing.  How did you learn?  Are you enthusiastic or terrified?  Where is the balance for you?

Each of us will learn differently but much of our learning is the same.

Children need to learn to respect others but in turn parents need to respect the limitations of the child.  Understand that children cannot comprehend the rules as we see them.  Look to the rules you yourself follow and ask like a child does “why?”

Why do I have to bathe every day?  Why do I have to get up early each morning?

Children see simplicity and complexity at the one time and when you long to answer “simple we get up early because we need to go to work” and feel satisfied, look further and ask why again.  Soon we see that what was so mind numbingly simple and taken for granted becomes infinitely complicated.

When we question our core beliefs we often become frightened, frightened to admit we sometimes do things ‘just because’.  Do not be angry with a child for asking, they are not trying to trip up your philosophy on life or uproot your belief systems and way of life, they are simply trying to create their own.

To answer from birth what takes more than a lifetime to contemplate, that magical question WHY.