How To Talk With Your Teenager Effectively – 5 Helpful Tips

Adolescence is a transitional period from childhood into adulthood. It is a period of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes, that frequently result in confusion. As it is a period of self-discovery, it’s normal for teenagers to experiment with friendships, activities, substances, and sexuality. In search of their identity and independence, teenagers often push their limits, confronting parents, teachers, and any other authority figure.

However, teenagers are not all bad. They are curious, fun, and intense! They are in a very vulnerable stage, and they need the support, care, and guidance from adults.

To help your child and yourself to survive their teenage years, you need to have a strong relationship with them (one in which you are involved in their life, but you are not their best friend – they still need to see you as an authority). Effective communication is the foundation of a strong relationship between you and your teenager.

Here are my top 5 tips to effectively communicate with teens.

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The Art of Getting Things Done With Kids’ Homework

The art of getting things done is to have a system and then implement that system. Dave Allen is the guru of “getting things done” of the modern era. Though his books and seminars he has actively engaged with people to organise their life and get things done!

For kids, it is about getting organised and taking action.

The 5 Keys of Getting Things done

Key 1: Capture your thinking
This means have a place to write everything down. Either in a diary or a notebook or on an electronic device.

Key 2: Define actions and next step
The key here is to define what the work to be done and use the right map

Key 3: Use the right map and organise information in appropriate categories

Key 4: Review actions

Key 5: Track the big picture

You can watch a video of Dave Allen in action here.

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10 Ways You Can Teach Your Child How to Thrive

A recent article in The Age, “Are you surviving or thriving?”, resonated with me this week. The author mentioned research from more than 10 years ago that suggested only around 17% of adults were thriving and the rest were merely surviving.

This article reminded me that when my son Charlie was born (he’s 19 months-old now), I definitely went into survival mode! It took some time to adjust to the reality of being a new mother. It was a huge change and no amount of reading or advice from other parents could have fully prepared me for the months that followed. I had to learn how to survive as a parent before I could even start thinking about how to thrive again…

Similarly, when parents first bring their children to see me for counselling, they are often in a crisis situation. Something has gone wrong and help is needed. I often start by asking them what is actually working well at the moment. The reason for this is that we first need to focus on their strengths so we can then use these positive qualities to help them resolve their current issues.

But my ultimate goal in counselling is not just to help kids learn to survive or get through a ‘rough patch’ … My aim is always to help kids learn how to thrive.

So how can you teach your child how to thrive?

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The Importance of Play and Experiential Learning in Early Childhood

I came across an interesting article in The Age this week (Little learners in the rug-rat race) about how parents these days are “facing increasing pressure to begin their child’s education while still in nappies”.

The accelerated early-learning approach and intense focus on a child’s academic achievement made me think of all the young people I see who are developing anxiety about school and academic performance. In particular, there are a growing number of children who require counselling in order to get through the dreaded NAPLAN ordeal!

An accelerated early-learning approach can be problematic when taken to an extreme. This, of course, depends on the format of the teaching and the intensity and how effectively the teaching is balanced with playtime and other activities.

Sure, some degree of structured learning from a young age can be beneficial. But it’s important to understand that young children need unstructured play and experiential learning to grow and develop to their full potential.

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How to Set Realistic Grade Expectations For Your Teenager

Nearly every parent wants their teenager to achieve their best at school.

Perhaps you have a particular “dream career” in mind or maybe you would be happy simply knowing that your child is reaching their full learning potential.

Well, believe it or not, most teenagers do actually want to do well at school for themselves, as well as to make their parents and friends proud.

However, “doing well” at school can mean many different things to different people. Some parents will be happy if their child passes, while others will be satisfied with Bs and Cs. And then there are those parents that will settle for nothing less than straight As!

But what many people don’t realise is that the best way to motivate an adolescent is to set expectations that are in line with what they are actually capable of.

And it’s vital to communicate your expectations clearly and to listen to your child’s opinions regarding grades and future career prospects.

So how can you go about this?

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Working Together – The Importance of Consistency in Parenting

So you’ve had a good hard think about how to parent your child…

You’ve figured out when to draw the line with discipline … and when it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned cuddle.

BUT … what if your partner disagrees? What if your opposite number has a very different way of going about things? Does it matter?

Should you just continue on your merry way, doing things the way you see fit? Or should you go through the (sometimes difficult) process of trying to get both parties on the same page?

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What I Learned About Child Care and Dealing with Separation Anxiety

Kids are hard work!

They bring us, as parents, so much joy and laughter and so many smiles … but also an overwhelming sense of responsibility for their welfare.

Then there comes that time in their early years when your child starts child care. And so along with the joy of caring for a young toddler, there comes the joy of letting them go (at least for the day)!

My son is now in child care for two days per week at the moment and I HATE drop offs! The first day was the worst. He was so upset…but I put on my brave face and did a quick good bye. I cried myself on the way home.

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Four Parenting Styles: Which One is Right for Your Child?

Strict or relaxed? Rules or play? Smacking or “time-out”? Listening or telling?

There are so many different opinions on how to parent, it’s enough to send you into a tailspin!

Many new parents start out with firm ideas about how they will balance a loving approach with a nice dose of discipline in their household… But often this all goes out the window when you first find yourself in the supermarket with a toddler throwing a tantrum!

And what if your child has been diagnosed with a learning difficulty or a developmental delay? Should you adjust your parenting style to deal with a child who has different needs?

In this article I summarise some of the most important research findings on common parenting styles and their effectiveness (which, to a certain extent, depends on how you define “effective”!). I also offer a brief summary of research on parenting children with different needs. (Hint: they may benefit from a different approach).

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Adapting Your Parenting Style For Your Child’s Developmental Stage

Have you ever heard (or said) something like, “Grrrrr, my parents treat me like I’m still 5 years old!”?

As you might imagine (or know from personal experience), it can be very frustrating for anyone to be treated as though they are younger than they actually are.

And, on the flip-side, it can be confusing and alienating to be treated as if you are older than you actually are. (Think: “I can’t believe they expect me to do this? I have no idea how to do this! They’ve left me alone and I’ve got no one to help me…”)

It may seem obvious, but as children and teenagers progress through the different stages of their lives, so must parents and the adults around them adjust their language, their expectations and their disciplinary style.

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