Parenting | How to make day trips run smoothly

llama-935947_1920How many times have you taken your children on a day trip and five minutes after you arrive, or five minutes into the car trip, you feel like saying, “That’s it! We are going home.” We put time, energy and costs into organising days out, yet it can sometimes seems that your children just don’t care.

The stress of organising the event can leave you exhausted and with little energy to deal with what might be normal everyday behaviours. It becomes something bigger and you may be inclined to overreact. Coupled with this, children can be more excitable on days out. The excitement will make it harder for them to manage their emotions and behaviour. They can’t stop fighting and they won’t do what you ask of them.

Teens, on the other hand, may show no excitement. They may be so difficult to motivate, you wonder why you bothered. Feeling disheartened, you just want to go home and cry or maybe stomp about the house to let them know how angry or upset you are. The day out was not just for the children, it was for you too and you feel disappointed: you wanted this time out to relax and have fun with your children.

There are steps you can take to make things go a little smoother so the fun days out are fun from the time you wake up. Read our “10 ways to” have enjoyable days out this summer:

  1. Keep it simple. Think about what your child can cope with. If they are not use to travelling too far then don’t plan a long trip. No matter how good you think the far away venue may be, it may not be worth it. This goes for holidays too.
  2. Tell your child about the trip in advance. Some children love surprises but many don’t. If they are not aware of what is about to happen it can really upset them. Keep as many elements the same for them as possible: eat at the same times and eat the same types of food.
  3. Talk with your child about what you expect of them on the day out. Try to come up with some ways of keeping them safe but still allowing them some freedom.
  4. Dress children for play and not for photos. Too many children are over-dressed on play days out. Let them get dirty, have fun, roll in the sand. They shouldn’t come home clean; it is not a good sign! Bring spare clothes, bring the wipes and try not to worry.
  5. Dress appropriately yourself. Wearing your lovely white trousers may not be the best idea. It is all about fun, so dress in a way that supports you to relax and enjoy your time with your children.
  6. Photographs can cause lots of trouble. Take them if you can but making children pose can create stress for no reason. Fun days out will create memories in a child’s mind. They don’t need photos to have those memories. You can keep other things from the day and stick them in a scrap book to remind you of the day.
  7. If problems arise, stay calm. Think about it from your child’s point of view. Take a break, sit down for a minute and make a plan. Think about what is causing the problem. Are we hungry, are we tired? Whose needs are not been met? Can I do anything? The least you can do is acknowledge the need, if you can’t meet it at that time acknowledging it helps. If you can identify the problem and solve it things will improve.
  8. Allow them to cry; it doesn’t mean you have to leave. There are parents all around you. They know how hard it is. If you can stay calm your child will feel it and they will relax.
  9. Following on from that, stop worrying about who is watching. We put too much pressure on ourselves as parents to perform perfectly all of the time. Be the best parent you can and try not to let others knock your confidence.
  10. Do it more often!

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Your newly confident five-year-old

people-70979_1280It is amazing to look back after your child’s first year in school and see how they have grown in confidence. However, along with this new found confidence comes a good dose of cheekiness. They have truly found their voice and will no longer conform. Now, when you ask them to tidy their room you may get a very clear, “No, I am busy!”. When you ask them not to strangle their younger sibling they reply, “They hit me first!”.

You might be relieved that they are getting school holidays, presuming that it is the influence of bold children in school that has turned them into somewhat of a naughty terror. However, it may not be fair to blame the influence of other children; your five-year-old has had ten months of daily mingling with the world and they have realised that they can do things for themselves. Every day they have been encouraged to sort things out for themselves in the classroom and in the yard. They have watched and they have learned. They have discovered they can survive without their parents with them all the time. They are strong, they have skills and, for sure, have their voices that we hear loud and clear at home.

Children should have the safety of home to say no, to test the boundaries and to stand up for themselves. As parents our role is to help them understand the rules of play, of negotiation and respect for others, including their parents.

Here are some tips to help you get started over the summer months:

  1. Welcome your child’s new found confidence. Tell them how great it is to hear them voice their thoughts.
  2. Talk with them about how they can say what they are thinking in a respectful way.
  3. Help them to figure out ways of dealing with anger that doesn’t inflict hurt on others.
  4. Ask them what rules they think should be in place in the house. Get them to help you write down some house rules that all the family can stick to.
  5. Talk with them about how confidence is a good thing, how we all need to say no at times and how this has created positive change in the world. Maybe you can think of some local heroes or ones from fiction or history to help children see how this is a talent they are developing and one they should use wisely.
  6. Talk with children about negotiation. We don’t always want to do what we are asked to do, and neither do they, so encourage them to negotiate with you to reach agreements.
  7. Help your child to understand that families and community, just like in the classroom, need co-operation. If we can all agree to do something, even if we don’t particularly like doing it, then we can move onto something more enjoyable.
  8. Stay calm when your child shouts demands at you. If you get into a shouting match with them they will win because you will feel guilty later. Tell them, in a calm voice, that you need to move away until they are ready to talk. Acknowledge that they are angry or upset, or whatever emotion it is you detect. Never ignore their emotions. When they calm down, thank them for doing that and start over. No sulking!
  9. Every time your child uses their talents, tell them how great it is to be developing these skills. Our job is to sand off the rough edges of these skills. Support and encourage them. You want strong and vibrant children.
  10. Look after yourself. Give yourself some break time so that you will have the patience to parent. This way you can support your child to gain control of all these skills and talents that are emerging.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Your teenager’s summer of freedom

youth-570881_1280This summer a whole new set of parents will experience, for the first time, their young teens at home and off school for three whole months. Teens will be so excited, but many parents may be questioning the logic of the Department of Education and their annual three month holiday for teenagers. They are still very young so they have to be monitored and cared for but how can you do this for three months and hold down a job?

Here are ’10 ways to’ support you and your teen to have an enjoyable summer:

  1. Firstly, do not panic. You have worked hard preparing your child for life. This freedom is the first real test of how responsible they can be. It may be absolutely necessary to leave them at home for part of the day while you get to work. Talk with them about keeping safe without causing fear. When they are at home go over safety rules with them. Make sure they answer their phone and check in with you. Ask them to call you if they are going out or if anyone comes over. This way at least you are aware of what is happening.
  2. It is all about demonstrating responsible behaviour. Once you see them act in this way it will support you to move forward. If they cannot be trusted alone, you will need to look at childcare options for them. They will not like having to go to a minder but if they are not capable of being home alone for a period of time you have no choice for now. Let them moan that you are being over protective and don’t trust them, that is to be expected.
  3. Aside from childminding options, check in with their friends’ parents. There are likely to be some parents at home at times. If you arrange teen dates, it could work well for everyone. Parents rather young people hang out in small groups. Talk directly to the parents yourself about any plans.
  4. Talk with relatives and see if they can go on holidays to anyone for a few days, here and there. It is good for them to get to know cousins and other relatives a little better. It would also give them some added independence to do this without you. I am sure you can return the favour at some stage.
  5. Encourage your teen to make a plan of action for the summer. What do they enjoy? Can they participate in sports, join a book club or some hobby group? Three months would be great opportunity for them to really pursue an activity they enjoy when they have time to do it. It would get them up and out of the house and keep them busy and motivated.
  6. Allow your teens to rest. Try to accept that teens are different to adults. They like to sleep late in the day, watch TV, listen to music, spend all day on their phone and sit in their pyjamas until dinner time. They can’t get a job yet so they have the luxury for a very short period in their life to enjoy doing nothing. Once they maintain the boundaries and the rules of the home they are not harming anyone. Of course they should also help with household chores as usual. Allow them dictate a little what they would like to do.
  7. Talk with them about what is appropriate for them to do and where they can hang out. Think about allowing them to travel on the bus alone, if you have not done so yet. It is scary to allow your child such freedom but unless you give them responsibilities you cannot expect them to learn. You prepare them for life by adding responsibilities layer by layer. You also get braver each day as you see them cope and make positive choices.
  8. It is not a good idea at this age to give teens the responsibility of looking after younger children. Be cautious and know that teens do not always have the patience and tolerance required to manage younger children. It may be a step too far to leave them home alone together. It may be better to look at other options around caring for younger children.
  9. Take time out with your teen this summer if you can. Get to know them as young people heading quickly towards adulthood. In a few years they will most likely have jobs and busier social lives, and parents will be far from important in their lives. Enjoy your last few summers with them.
  10. Try to think back to when you were their age. Don’t nag them and worry that their brains will freeze up over the summer with the lack of use. They will most likely be fine.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Parenting an adult child who won’t grow up

reading-1142801_1920What should you do if you have an adult child who thinks that they are all grown up but keeps lapsing into childish behaviours? It can be difficult to know what the issue is. If you treat them like a child does this encourage them to behave like one? Or, do they fall into the safety net of childhood because they are not ready to take the leap into full adulthood. When your child turns 18 they no longer require hands-on care. You need to empower them to grow up. Examine your behaviour. Are you enabling them to act like a child? As a parent your ultimate goal is to support your child to grow up and become a responsible adult.

Here are ’10 ways to’ support an adult child who lives with you to mature into a responsible adult:

  1. Firstly, ask yourself are you too involved in your adult child’s life. Are you still calling them in the mornings? Are you still doing all the cooking? Are you still asking them to tidy up? Are you still telling them what to do? Are you commenting on what they watch? Are you commenting on their friends or relationships? Are you commenting on what they wear? If you answered yes to most of these then I would suggest that you are too involved in your adult child’s life.
  2. If your adult child needs to continue to live with you, past the age of 18, then it is important to put some ground rules in place. To some extent you can treat your adult child like a roommate now and not like your child. Agree some principles of sharing a home – keep them simple – base them around respect and love.
  3. Paying rent is crucial, even if it is only a small amount. Agree on the use of space. Agree on the use of materials in the home, such as TV, computers and the washing machine. Agree on a roster of cooking and buying groceries.
  4. If you are parenting a younger child and have an adult child living with you it is really important to have an environment of harmony for the child. Try not to allow your relationship with your adult child impact negatively on your younger child. You are the only one who can protect their environment.
  5. Younger siblings usually hugely admire their older adult siblings. Living with them can help them develop close, long lasting and meaningful relationships. If you can have a positive relationship with your adult child your younger child will benefit too.
  6. Ask them to respect the needs of their younger siblings but do not expect your adult child to be a parent to their siblings. Of course they will look out for them and spend time with them but they will not be interested in babysitting, school pickups and homework. This is your role as a parent. Often we expect too much parenting support from our young adult children.
  7. If you feel you and your adult child are at the battle gates all the time, try to sit with them and tell them how much you love them. Talk about the fun things you did when they were little. Talk about what they are doing now and what their plans are. Talk with them about how you would like to support them in the next few years to reach their goals.
  8. Tell your adult child if you need some support from them. Talk to them like an adult, stop talking to them like a child. Think it out and communicate in a clear and direct way. No threats! You cannot discipline them.
  9. Make a date with your adult child every other week and check in with them. Do not expect that they will check in with you each day. Trust that they are doing okay. You can text them whenever you want but sending a text should not mean you have to get one back. Respect their privacy and ask them to respect yours.
  10. Be honest if it is not working and set a timeline for them to move out. Move into a new chapter of parenting. Let go. It is not about control. It is about loving and being there for each other.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212

Parenting | Talking to Grandparents about Childminding

window-932760_640Many parents have relied upon grandparents’ support to raise their children, both now and in the past. Their help can relieve pressure in many cases. However, in some cases it can also increase the pressure. Parents can feel gratitude to grandparents for their time and efforts but if they cannot speak honestly with them, for fear of upsetting them and losing their valuable help, this can lead to challenging relationships between parents and grandparents. With childcare options so few, due to costs, parents need grandparents more than ever.

What can parents and grandparents do to support each other in the care of children? Here are ’10 ways to’ ensure happy, positive relationships between parents, grandparents and children:

  1. The first step in this relationship is to establish it in a business-like way. Keep it a little different to when you call to visit grandparents. Agree the days and times.
  1. Raise the issue of money. Do not assume that grandparents will care for children for free. They may not want to be paid but they may not want to be out of pocket either.
  2. Agree on what children are allowed to eat. Will you provide meals and snacks or will you give money for the cost of the food?
  3. Respect the days and times you agree upon. Do not be late. You would not be late for a minder outside of the family so show the same regard for grandparents.
  4. Grandparents have other things to do. When extra days come up look for other options. Do not expect grandparents to step in all of the time.
  5. Reward grandparents as much as you can: have them over for dinner; take them places; sit with them when you know they need company; remember birthdays and key dates; buy them a cake or flowers when they least expect it. People like to feel valued, just because they are family doesn’t mean you don’t need to thank them.
  6. Talk with grandparents about behaviour. At times grandparents can be too strict and at times too lenient. Talk with them about what you do. Help them to plan for challenging days. Sit the children down with the grandparents and talk openly about what will happen when there are behavioural challenges. Do not leave grandparents to work it out alone and then complain about how they do it. Support them.
  7. Grandparents often give sweet treats and this is fine occasionally but when they are in the role of childminder they will need to provide healthy food. Talk with them about how it will affect the children’s energy for school, for homework, for play, for sleep. Grandparents want what is best for children as much as you do. Help them put rewards in place that are simple and easy to follow. Help children to know that, on the days grandparents are in charge, they do not get the same treats as on visits with grandparents.
  8. Grandparents will need days off. Ask them to give you notice so you can find alternative childcare options. Talk about holidays in advance and work out your own leave around grandparents’ own plans.
  9. It takes a lot of people to raise a child. It is very important to make friends and to get to know other parents in order to build up a network. The only way to work and parent is to have a variety of options around childcare. There will be times it will cost more when the key people cannot help out, but this is the joy of parenting. Children will grow-up and one day childcare will no longer be an issue.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212


Parenting | How to support a teen who lacks motivation for school

teenager2Parents know how important school really is, whether they have worked hard themselves or wished they had worked harder. Watching your teen have no motivation for school is extremely frustrating for parents. What is crucial for teens is that they maintain positive relationships with parents when they are struggling to find their path. Education is only one path in life and it is not worth losing that parent and child bond over. How do you maintain that positive relationship with your teen without a constant daily battle?

Here are ’10 ways to’ deal with your teen’s motivation to succeed in school:

  1. Try to be available for them. Find time to talk when they are around. This could be late at night and not early evening when it might suit you. Remember, teens are not built the same as adults. They like to stay up late and sleep late.
  2. Spend time with your teen when they are relaxed. Listen to their views. This will really help you to understand them, their wants and their struggles. The more we learn about them, how they think, how they see the world and what they enjoy, the more we can support them in finding their path.
  3. Hear what others have to say about them. It will often make you wonder if you know them at all. They may be so different to the child you once knew.
  4. Take an interest in what interests them. We can often dismiss the things they like too quickly. Maybe there are things we can learn from them. The learning should not all be one way.
  5. Think back to when they were little and what you really enjoyed about your relationship with them. Can you bring any of these things back? Often we think that when our children get older they need less of us and less cuddles, but really they need more of us. Teen life is extremely complex.
  6. Try not to worry too much about the future. All parents will have dreams and plans for their children and that is okay, but really the dreams and plans need to be our children’s dreams and plans. Our role as parents is to support them to achieve. Be open minded in how you can support them.
  7. Do not allow other parents to pressure you into feeling you are doing the wrong thing. Education is important but there are so many courses and so many colleges. Find the right one for your child and help them to succeed. Getting grind after grind to get the CAO points may not be the answer.
  8. Be strict with them and set clear boundaries. Do not pamper them and treat them as babies. Expect them to be responsible.
  9. Respect their right to choose what they want to do. Stay calm and have faith in them. It is not a reflection on you, or your ability to parent, what your child chooses to do with their life. Be proud of their achievements whatever they are.
  10. Help them to become responsible adults. We would hope that our children turn out to be good people, to be respectful of others, to be kind and caring, and to be happy in their relationships. Give them space to think, to plan and to decide what they want and need from life.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212

Parenting | Should Children Hit Back?

bullyMany parents still believe that telling a child to hit back is the right choice on the playground. In an Ireland where we have recently criminalised the hitting of children by adults, do we really want to tell children that hitting each other is the way to deal with playground problems?

Children need to learn to deal with issues in ways that will teach them lifelong skills. Hitting back is not a lifelong skill.

Here are ’10 ways to’ tips to support your child if they are experiencing playground problems:

  1. Support your child to stand up for themselves using words not by hitting back.
  2. Role-play the situation with your child. Help them find the actions and words to deal with the other child.
  3. Allow your child to talk about issues. Ask the child what support they need from you as the parent. Ask them what they think they should do. Explore with them the outcome of those actions. Decide if the outcomes are positive or negative.
  4. Make a plan to deal with the issue but make it their plan. Praise them for thinking this out and coming up with the plan. When their plan succeeds they will grow in confidence much more than if it was yours.
  5. If the plan backfires you can go back to the drawing board with them.
  6. Support and encourage your child to try again. Look at what they did, what went wrong, and ask them again what they think they need to do.
  7. Explore the options with them but do not tell them what to do. Facilitate your child to come up with their own ideas. They are very capable of thinking this through. This is the life skill: problem solving. The first plan is usually not the right plan but most of the time you will get there.
  8. Never allow your child to walk into danger. Alert a teacher to a challenge your child faces, if you need to, but ask them to be vigilant as opposed to jumping in.
  9. All too often we jump in and want to fix things for children. This is where we. In the past parents encouraged children, maybe a little bluntly, to sort it out for themselves. They didn’t have time to get involved. Today parents can be too involved. Do not fight their battles for them.
  10. Remember, the hitter is usually a bully but they may have issues with confidence. They may be bullied in the home or living in a domineering environment. This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Ten Ways to Help Your Child Be Active

child swingResearch suggests that children should have 60 minutes of physical exercise per day. We all know the benefits of exercise for ourselves as adults. We know when we get out walking or doing any form or exercise we always feel better afterwards, and it usually supports a healthier environment all round, combined with diet, attitude and well-being in general.

With rates of child obesity and diabetes rising in Ireland, some small changes can make a big difference. Here are ten ways to support your child in getting 60 minutes of active exercise each day, which respect your budget and which can be incorporated into your regular routine.

  1. Join in with your child. We always talk about quality time with our children. Why not do something you enjoy outdoors with your child?
  2. Walk to school, walk home, or walk part of the way. Plan an activity for each day that fits in with your schedule.
  3. Get an App on your phone and tell the children about it. Record your steps and make it a competition to see how many steps you take each day.
  4. Encourage your child to join a club. A dance club, running club, football, martial arts, swimming, tennis, ballet or gymnastics. While some can be expensive most communities have funded groups for all children to access.
  5. Check out what your school offers. A lot of schools want children to join sports teams. Help your child find what they are good at and enjoy.
  6. If your child is very young take them walking. Walk to the shops, to the library, around the roads, up the hills or visit the animals. There are so many interesting things to do on the way. They don’t have to walk nonstop. You could be easily out for three hours by the time you stop and explore what your community has to offer. Try not to put children in buggies once they pass 2 years old. You come home exhausted and they are full of energy. They can only get good and strong at walking if you allow them to walk.
  7. Climb a hill. Children love to explore and you will too once you get use to getting dirty. Visit a forest. You can walk for hours or find the short path.
  8. Offer to walk the neighbour’s dog or walk your own. Maybe get a dog to make you get out walking all year round.
  9. Children love to use scooters, skate boards or roller blades. Find a local park where they can do this safely.
  10. Use the local football grounds to give young and older children a safe space to run and a space they cannot escape from. For younger children the fear can be letting go of their hand.
  11. In the spring, summer and early autumn children love to just run about the garden if you have one. Stop off at the park on your way home from school or work. 20 minutes of running about could improve the whole evening and give your children what they need around exercise.
  12. Don’t forget to keep exercise top of your list when it is colder outside. Often children who wrap up and get out for a run about are less often sick than those wrapped up indoors all year round. Usually it is adults who hate the winter, children love so much about all the seasons.

Be creative, sit with your children this weekend and plan all the active things you can all do. Make it a game, make it a challenge and you will all feel better. When children feel healthy and fit they will have more confidence and as result have better friendships, do better in school and over all have a better outlook on life at home and in school.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Parenting | Communicating with Your Child about Family ‘Secrets’

secretsThere can be a lot of ‘secrets’ in some families, such as health or relationship issues, that family members simply do not speak about or refer to. At times children don’t know the content of the secret, they just know it is something they don’t talk or ask about.

Do you remember what it was like for you as a child to have a secret? If it was your fun secret to have, that could be great! If, however, it was a secret in your family – something hidden or hushed – it probably often left you feeling very confused and with many questions. Children can carry this as a heavy burden. They may ask people outside of your family to help them understand, or they may never ask yet listen intently to adult conversations for a clue as to what is going on.

This week in our ’10 Ways’ parenting tips series, we explore how the types of secrets that parents tell can cause challenges within their families, and how to communicate openly with children about them.

  1. Many parents, when they separate or leading up to a separation, try to keep it secret for a length of time. Children may find this very challenging. It would be better if children had permission from parents to talk about what is going on at home with close friends and family if they wished to. It can be hard at times like this for children to talk with parents, when they can see how upset parents may be.
  2. Children who don’t know one of their parents can have great curiosity around this. It may be a secret as to who the parent is; maybe the child is told fairy tales to explain where they came from. However, children are clever. They know they have two parents and leaving them without this information can lead to great confusion and identity challenges. Also it can create challenges in the playground as other children may see them as an easy target for bullying. Children usually want to be the same as every other child. They need information to feel confident about their family form.
  3. Children who are adopted often don’t know this to be the case, even though other family members will know. Children always tell other children what they know about them. It doesn’t take much in a small community for children to overhear stories about class mates. Telling children the truth about where they came from and who their family is equips them for a more confident passage through childhood.
  4. When there is abuse of any form in the home, addiction issues, or mental health problems, it can leave children confused and worried. It is really important that one parent can help a child to understand what is going on in their family. Children need permission to talk with trusted adults about things that worry them, be they other family members or child and family support professionals. It is okay for them to ask about why parents fight, to ask why one parent may stay in bed a lot, or what death is.
  5. Try to adopt a policy in your home of talking, voicing concerns and sharing worries with trusted people. Don’t ask children to keep things a secret. Don’t tell them not to talk about certain things. Share with them what is appropriate about their family life.
  6. So many times children have told me that they know the truth about something in their family but that their parent doesn’t know they do, or they don’t want to upset their parent by telling them that they know. Give them support or ask someone in your family or circle of friends to help them to understand.
  7. Children need to be free to grow, to live and to laugh. Holding onto so many secrets can only impede their journey through childhood. Think about what secrets your family holds and what this may be like for your child.
  8. Try to talk with them, be open about the difficult, awkward or sensitive issues that exist. Often once you start talking, these issues are no longer as big as they seemed.
  9. Once children have age appropriate levels of information, they will not be as inclined to worry and they will feel safer. Children are resilient once they are equipped with what they need.
  10. Trust is the foundation of positive relationships. Build your relationship based on trust and you will not go wrong.

Next you might like to read Talking to Your Children about Your Family.

This week’s ‘10 Ways’ parenting tips is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email Join our Facebook parenting group.

Parenting | Reading as a tool to manage challenging behaviour

family readingAs yesterday was World Book Day we thought it would be an ideal time to discuss reading and how reading can be used as a tool to manage challenging behaviours. Reading can create an opportunity for calm, quiet reflection and relaxation. It can also open up an opportunity for discussions between parent and child and can be used as a starting point to discuss any issues going on in the child’s life.

Here are our ’10 ways’ tips on using reading as a tool in your parenting:

  1. Many parents know about time out or they think they know from all the TV shows telling them about it. However many parents get totally confused in how to implement time out and for what reasons. Time out can become a challenging behaviour rather than a tool to resolve it.
  2. Quiet time can be a much more positive tool to try and implement in your home. The whole purpose of time out is to calm down. However the mechanism of implementing time out is very challenging. If you focus on creating quiet time it can make things much easier.
  3. In advance of challenging behaviours taking place, talk with your child about what you can all do when you are feeling angry, overwhelmed or frustrated. Allow your children to talk about what they need at this time. Talk with them about how you feel when they act out these feelings. Talk with them about what currently happens when any member of the family has these feelings.
  4. Talk with them about the idea of creating space and calming down.
  5. Ask them to describe what currently helps them calm down. Tell them things you do to help you to calm down. Bring them back to the idea of a quiet place to sit and calm down. How would this help you restore balance to how you are feeling? How would it support you to talk about how you are feeling so it can be explored?
  6. Ask each person in the family to take part in creating the calm, quiet place. Where it should be, what it should look like, how much space is there for it, should there be activities in this space such as mindfulness tactics. Children and adult colouring books can be really useful. The space must be an area that all family members can use and want to use. Each family member must respect each other when in this place.
  7. There should be some small rules around the space. Such as when someone goes into the space, no one else should talk to them and leave them to calm down. You can sit with them but do not engage with them unless invited to do so. You can stay in there for as long as you need to. Each family can create their own rules and review them every so often to ensure the space is still working for everyone.
  8. A further idea is a feelings tent. You could use a pop up tent which is cheap to purchase and easy to store. It also doesn’t need too much space. It can be a lovely place to sit when you have feelings that need time to resolve, time to sit with, to think about and to understand. Support children to become aware of their feelings and to understand how to name them and why they exist. This is crucial to emotional development and well-being as they grow.
  9. For many parents we have difficulty in identifying our feelings and sitting with them. We can be inclined to make them someone else’s issue and we blame others for them. The feelings tent can be a really good place for you too to further develop your feelings, own them and be kind to yourself in understanding why they exist for you. Role modelling is key to positive parenting.
  10. One Family have compiled a comprehensive book list that is useful for families going through times of change. The book list is divided into the following topics: Separation/Divorce; Family Types; Fostering and Adoption; Death and Bereavement and Stepparents and Stepfamilies. Many of the books should be available in your local library and if not the library will order them in for you.


This week’s ‘10 Ways’ parenting tips is written by Geraldine Kelly, One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email