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As a parent I am extremely lucky that my eldest teenager who is 15 is not interested in taking alcohol.  Whether that is by design or because we talked about alcohol from a young age, I don’t know but I thought it would be helpful to give you some hints and tips on how to start these conversations with your teenagers.  Indeed, don’t wait until they are teenagers, have the conversations early and keep revisiting the topic as your children gain new levels of understanding.


Below are my top tips, let me know how you get on:



Start talking to your child when you feel the time is right, you don’t have to tell them everything whatever is appropriate at the right time.



Be ready and willing to answer questions that your child has about alcohol.  Read up on the effects of alcohol and what the legal limits are.



Read up on facts about alcohol and be ready for any question.  For example, know how drink impacts on children and the developing brain.  Know the legal limits and when the law says you can drink.



Know what you want for your child at specific ages.  You wouldn’t want your 7 year old drinking alcohol at all, however you may allow your 16 year old to try a glass of wine with their dinner.  Be clear and concise as to what your expectations are.



It is important to let your teenagers know that you are there for them and they can come to you at all times and ask questions or tell you things.  If they do come to you, don’t jump to conclusions, remain calm and answer with a consideration.


Related posts:

5 Mistakes I have made as a parent of a teenager

When is the time right to take a step back and let your teenager take the lead?

5 Things my teenager needs

How to stay connected to your tween



As a parent I know from experience that you can’t control them.  The best you can do is steer them in the right direction hoping the values you have instilled in them will be enough to help them make the right choices.  Talk to your child and try and steer them in a positive direction.  You will also have to listen to what they say too!


I have to admit to not drinking at all.  I could never stomach the stuff.  However, even if you do drink be a role model for your teenager.  Research shows that children can be influenced by their parents’ drinking so if you do drink, don’t drink in excess around your teenager.

I do hope these tips help you with your teenager and alcohol.  Let me know what you think below.




Need help to talk to your children or teenager about alcohol? These top tips will help you on your parenting journey.

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Round our dinner table is the perfect opportunity for us to relive what has happened during the day.  It’s where we can discuss our achievements, our dreams and have a laugh.


You can probably gather that the best way to make that connection with your teen is having dinner together. Research has shown that kids who eat dinner together with family members are less likely to be involved in drugs or alcohol or indeed suffer from depression.


Having dinner together on a regular basis is important and I would encourage you to do it and stay connected or help reconnect with your teen.

Here are my top tips to help you get started.


  • Turn off your TV & Smart Phones

    We give so much attention to the TV and our smart phones these days.  It’s important to protect family time together.  So prioritise having dinner together as a family after all the world will still be there after 30 minutes!

  • It’s not just about the food

    You don’t have to knock your pan in to cook the ‘perfect’ meal.  Pick an easy recipe and get everyone to help out.  This is especially important if you’ve been working all day or are exhausted.

  • Remember to listen

    Do you know that your teenager wants to talk to you?  Remember to listen to what your teenager has to say. Don’t offer advice unless you are asked.  I know it is difficult as a parent not to go in to advice mode but it does make for a better relationship if you hold off until asked and just listen.


  • Make it fun

    It doesn’t have to be a serious chat if it isn’t needed.  Take turns to select music or choose dessert.  It really doesn’t matter as long as you chat and spend time together.


  • Make a plan

    Agree on which nights will be family nights to have dinner.  Protect those nights too.  Of course plans can change but make this a priority for all the family and don’t miss this important time.


So do you have family meal times?  I’d love to hear how you stay connected to your teen.



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Disciplining is difficult as a parent at the best of times.  It becomes even more difficult with teenagers.  Having a balance between instilling independence in your teenager to setting boundaries means as a parent we have a fine line to tread.


Below I’ve listed some ways to help you with discipline for your teenagers.


Stay calm & don’t overreact

In the heat of the moment this is the most difficult thing to do but it’s also important.  If you need to give yourself time to calm down, remove yourself from the situation for as long as you need.  Also, do you need to say anything at all?  For example you may not agree with your teenager’s haircut or fashion so let it be.  Of course talk to your partner but some things are best left alone as saying something can cause more problems.


Be clear & precise

If you have rules make sure your teenager knows about them and they are clear and fair.  This means if your teenager breaks the rule they know exactly what the consequences are.  I would also suggest you make the ground rules together and talk about what is fair and unfair consequences.


Listen first, act second

Don’t go rushing in to a judgement or a punishment without listening to what your teenager has to say.  They may have a valid reason for something but you won’t know until you listen.  Hear what your teenager has to say and then take time to respond in a calm manner.


Appropriate punishment

Be fair with your punishment and let the punishment fit the crime.  Of course it will depend on the seriousness of what they have done but again have in your mind what kind of punishments would be suitable for different situations.


Follow through

I find this is tough, not just for me but for most parents.  Believe in the ground rules you have set and always follow through.  If you don’t then your teenager will start to take advantage.  Consistency is key to this.   Ask for your partner’s help with this.


Don’t forget to praise your teenager

If your teenager has done something good or has consistently kept within the rules, praise them.  This will help your teenager’s self esteem.


Related posts

Tips on How To Talk to Your Teenager about Alcohol

How 30 Minutes A Day can help you stay connected to your teen

Ways to Keep Your Children Safe Online


I hope these tips will help you with disciplining your teenager.  Remember teenagers will want to do different things from what we want them to.  They will also want to find their own way in the world and will rebel against you.  It’s a normal part of growing up.  Before you do discipline your teenager, remember to ask yourself if the situation warrants it.


Good luck, let me know how you get on.




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The internet and social media are part of everyday life as the various platforms provide a range of uses from discussion, news, collaboration, sharing and interacting.  With such an array of technology: computers, laptops, tablets, game consoles and smart phones we can connect with anyone, at anytime from anywhere around the world.


Technology is here to stay and while it can offer up many opportunities, it also comes with risks – especially for children.  As a parent, I know how difficult it is to keep up to date with the latest gadget or social media platform.  It was only six months ago, that I eventually got my head round Snap Chat before another one came on the scene – Twitch!


These are just a few applications I have needed to find out about recently to educate myself as a parent, so this article is about sharing with you the hints and tips I have found to keep my children safe online.


  • Limiting online/screen time

OFCOM completed a survey in England during 2015 that showed the amount of time children spent online doubled between 2005 to 2015 from 6.2 hours to 15 hours per week.  Research conducted by the University of Bristol in 2010, which involved more than 1,000 children aged about 10, found that children who spend longer than two hours a day in front of a computer or TV are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties than other youngsters.


You may want to consider limiting your child’s time online/screen time, there are many controls you can download to do this, check with your internet service provider to see what they offer in terms of setting times for when the internet comes on / goes off.


  • Be age aware

What is appropriate for a teenager is not ok for an 8-year-old.  Use your own judgement based on your own child and be aware of the age restrictions on games and websites.  Remember the age limits are guidelines, if you think your child isn’t ready for the age specified make that judgement yourself.



  • Set rules

It may be helpful to set guidelines for your child but remember to stick to them!  Consistency is very important.  Sit down with your child and set the rules together but also talk about the dangers of being online so they know to come to you if they have a problem.  Talk to children about their use of, and behaviour in the on-line world and have ongoing discussions with them.



  • Bedrooms

While it is easy to see what, your child is viewing when you are in the same room, it becomes more difficult when devices are in the bedroom.  Recent researched showed that using phones and tablets before bed stops kids from sleeping and can lead to health issues and disrupted sleep in children.  Consider removing any online devices from their bedroom when they are due to go to sleep.



  • Keep informed

To keep yourself updated visit where you can get information on all things to do with online safety.  It’s a great place to find out all the information you need to know to keep your child safe online, but it is also the place you can go to if you need to make a report about online safety issues of any kind.



Remember, communication is very important so above all, talk to your child and encourage them to discuss any concerns with you.  Consider parental controls on devices and be aware of where your child goes when online.




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I don’t know about you but there are days when I need a little bit of help parenting.  I try my best to have a great relationship with my teenager as it seems to help with everyone in the household being happy and content.


I’ve pulled together what I’m calling a game plan for anyone who needs that little bit of support parenting a teenager.


Game Plan Priority 1:  Eat dinner together

Meal times, especially dinner is a great opportunity to catch up with my teenager and talk about what has happened during the day and whatever other things are going on in his life.  It’s also a great opportunity to spot any problems that might arise.  I find this connection to be an important part of staying connected to your teen.


Game Plan Priority 2:  Establish together time

As well as meal times, I try and check in a few times a day.  I find that open communication seems to help especially if my son has any issues.  Of course there are times when he doesn’t want to talk but I try and go with the flow on that one!  Also, there are times when I go for a walk with him.  This is a great opportunity for a chat but I just wish he would walk slower!  You can find more ways of communicating with my blog post here.


Game Plan Priority 3:  Appropriate Parenting

This has been the most difficult aspect of parenting a teen.  Having an appropriate way to deal with the issues which are sometimes presented.  Understanding that you teenager is growing up and needs more freedom is the first step to being able to parent in an appropriate way without over-reacting.  An example of this was when my teenager wanted to dye his hair – I decided to let him and also help him do it!


Game Plan Priority 4:  Keeping the communication going

No matter what is going on in our lives, I try my best to keep the lines of communication going with my teenager.  It’s an important tool to know what is going on – after all if you know then you can help them.  At the moment I am trying to be a better listener and ask open ended questions to encourage my son to continue engaging with us.




I hope the game plan helps you parent your teen.  This is an exciting and challenging time for us as parents.  It’s especially challenging when teens shift their focus from us as mummies and daddies to their peers and other passions.  It is critical then to ensure we remain connected to them and continue to guide them.


I’d love to know what challenges you are facing as a parent of a teen.  Feel free to get in touch.



parenting your teen



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I know my son is no longer a child but it’s difficult sometimes to catch up as a parent when they enter the teenager phase.  That is true of both my teenager and my tween!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!  Below are some of the mistakes I’ve made.


Reading too much

Since my children were born I’ve read many, many parenting books.  To the point I thought there was something wrong with me!  Sometimes it is best to go with your instincts then you can follow this up with having a look on the internet.  You can do this to arm yourself with more information – but don’t overdo it!



Expecting the worst

You hear so much and read so much about how difficult teenagers can be.  I started off expecting the worst until I realised that I would be a complete and utter nervous wreck if I continued on this path.  So now, I expect the best and if that doesn’t happen then we deal with it as a family.



Being anxious over small stuff

I would often be concerned about my son’s choice of hair cut or what he wore until I realised that I had to let him make his own decisions.  In fact, that’s why I decided to let him dye his own hair.



Forgetting about the big stuff

I recently discovered my tween has seen porn, it was a reminder to me to continue to focus on the bigger picture of guiding and protecting my sons as they go through what is a difficult time for them.  It also reminded me to stay involved in their lives – even if they don’t want me to.



Not too much and not too little

Too much or too little of anything with a teenager is tricky.  In terms of discipline, a fine line is required.  I don’t want to push my teenager way so balancing discipline with guidance is key.  There are times when I get it wrong but at least I will know for the next time.




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It is a fact of the parent/teenager relationship there comes a time when your role as a mother or father changes.  I must say for me it was something I have found hard to cope with.  My feelings were ones of not being needed or wanted.  Of course, the reality is that my teenager is growing to be an independent loving boy who while he still wants a connection to us, he also wants to find out where his place in the world is.


Recently I have been wondering what the next stage will be in our relationship and at what point he will be taking the lead and I will be the one following?


I can see some of that now and then at age 14 when he isn’t that interested in chatting for long periods of time.  However, I constantly remind myself that it will ebb and flow like this until such times he heads off to University or work.


What I’m saying now is that I miss him and he isn’t at that stage yet!  I guess as I see my teenager growing in confidence and independence every day I am trying my best to navigate the changes and the separation as he becomes more independent.


The truth is that letting go of our children at whatever stage of development is extremely hard.  I know with my logic head on it has absolutely nothing to do with him not loving me as a parent.  The reality is that my mother isn’t that central in my life today, of course she is part of it but not as much as when I was young.


At the moment I’m finding it difficult letting my teenager take the lead.  But I know that it is part of being a parent, after all we successful got through to the teenager journey by allowing him to take the lead.


It is only right that I continue to follow his lead no matter how difficult it is for me as a parent.  It’s just that it all seems to be happening so fast.


Is there a ‘right’ time to let your teenagers take the lead?  What are your thoughts?








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I absolutely adore and love my boys.  There are days though where it is challenging.  I often forget how difficult it is being a teenager with all the stresses and strains of growing up.  When I look at my boys I still see them as children.  I feel for them and the struggles they face as they try and find their place in the world.

Below I’ve listed some things that I believe every teenager needs.  I’m doing my best to provide these to my two boys.  I would love to know what you think.


My Teenager needs privacy

I can remember at that age I wanted to spend most of my time in my bedroom with the door closed.  That seems to be the same for all teenagers.  As a parent I’m trying my best to give my teenagers their privacy.  At that age they often need a lot of space so I’m not going to take it personally at all!


My teenager needs love

While the hugging at the school gates is no longer welcome, I try my best to give my boys a hug or two every day.  I also find it important to tell them how much I love them and think they are great too!  Teenagers still need support and guidance, I try my best to offer when it’s asked for.


My teenager needs to be listened to

There are times when he needs time to himself.  But there are time when he wants to talk.  I try to be there when he needs to talk.  My job is to listen and ask questions and take an interested in what is going on in his life.


My teenager still needs boundaries

While I respect my teenagers need for privacy and I completely understand the changes in his body, he still needs boundaries.  For example, staying safe online is extremely important.  We have certain boundaries but we also explain why we have them in place.


My teenager wants/needs to be different

My son recently asked me to help him dye his hair.  My first reaction was to say no!  But that was more to do with my issues than his.  So I decided to say yes, in fact I helped him!  I guess this reaction to doing things different is him trying to see where he fits in this big world.  I am doing my best to be supportive of that.



parenting teenagers


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Dear Mum / Dad


Over the course of this week I have come in to contact with a number of parents.  What has struck me is how hard parents are on themselves.  Only yesterday a mother was berating herself for not doing a good enough job at getting her teenager out in the sunshine.  The day before another mother was annoyed at herself for not knowing how best to communicate with her daughter.


In all of these encounters it is clear that us parents are very hard on ourselves.  I am writing this post to tell you that I know it’s not easy being a parent.  There are joyous moments.  Moments that we treasure for a lifetime.  There are also challenging times that cause us no end of emotional turmoil.  Often these challenges can be on a daily basis. It’s not as if there was a manual given to us with our child!  So we all try our best to raise our children as best we can. This is often based on how we were raised as children ourselves and what we have gleaned from books and the internet.


So, I just want to tell you – yes you mum and yes you dad – that you are doing great.  I know we worry,we get angry, we get frustrated, we continually second guess ourselves at every turn, we worry about the decisions we have made and we worry about the future and the decisions we have yet to make.


Please remember you are doing great.  Remember also to be in the hear and now and continue to embrace your relationship with your child.  But above all else, remember to give yourself a break!


Love and happiness to you x



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I am more relaxed as a parent with my youngest son as he enters the tween stage and heads to being a teenager.  Probably because it’s not new, second time around is easier but no less fearful at times!

It is so easy to dismiss the tween years and get in to an argument with your tween thinking they are more challenging or not behaving as they used to.  Again, your tween is becoming more independent and becoming interested in their social life and where their place in the world is – it is extremely important to continue to guide, support and show love as they venture forward.


What may happen

Well, all tweens are different but generally what is happening with our tween is that there are times when our views and guidance are not needed.  Again, as a mother it’s hard to accept but your tween will probably start to chat things over with their friends more often and there will be times when they will head to their bedroom and close the door because they need space.  Just like I do at times!

What I would say is this, whatever is happening be that answering you back or not listening – it is not personal – in fact it is never personal.  These are all signs you have a tween who is growing up to become independent and that is to be welcomed.  However, don’t just think ‘oh my parenting is done’ or ‘oh so you don’t need me’ – this is not true, your child needs you in a different way so continue to offer guidance, support, and love – just be prepared for how your tween acts.


Things that might help

As with our teenager, we do things that often improve communication, here are some ways that may help you:


Meal times – spending quality time is very important especially when your tween may want to spend more time in their room.  We make sure we have at least one meal a day together – that’s normally dinner.  It’s lovely sitting together and all chatting together.  Even if your tween is reluctant to join in stick with it.


Quality time – I go for walks with my tween, it’s a great time to chat.  There are times the conversation is hard but again stick with it.  There are also times though where my tween would talk forever, take this time, and appreciate that your tween is going through a lot.


Bedtime – we have a bed routine still which we established when the boys were little.  Your tween will start to need more sleep so you may need to establish a new routine.  We continue with the same routine now but the times have changed.


Affection time – continue to show affection to your tween even when there are times they don’t want to.  It doesn’t have to be a hug or kiss but saying I love you or I’m proud of you goes a long way.  As a parent, I try my best to say this at least once a day.  I think it gives kids a sense of being secure and loved.


I hope these tips help you.  I’d love to hear your experience of communicating with your tween.




communicating with your tween

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