Wear the word 'mean' like a badge of honour.
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"How do I get my kids to behave?" is a perennial issue for parents. However, talk to coaches of children's sports teams and they'll tell a similar story, but with one major difference. They'll replace 'kids' with 'parents'.
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The initial back-to-school glow has well and truly worn off for most students. If you're lucky, it's back to the routine of wake-up, school, homework, mealtime, bedtime... not necessarily in that order. If you're unlucky, you've probably got a battle on your hands when it comes to the homework part of this routine.
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It's funny how the seemingly small things cause the greatest angst for kids -- a sneer from a sibling, a curt remark from a teacher or being left off a classmate's birthday party invitation list can leave a child feeling insecure, even sad.
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The defining feature of 21st century parents is a fierce determination to provide children with the best possible childhood and the best possible start in life. In pursuit of these admirable goals, a parent can easily over-extend their role, entering areas of children's lives that would have been off-limits to parents a couple of generations ago.
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Do you know a parent who either yells at or nags their kids when they don't cooperate? If so, you know a parent with a limited parenting toolkit.
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Young children are egocentric by nature. As any three-year-old knows only too well, the world revolves around them. "I want...", "Give me...", "It's mine!" and other variations are the mantras of this age group. This self-centred behaviour is developmental, which means it's something they grow out of... or they're supposed to.
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Stretch limousines were once a novelty associated with celebrity and status. Now they are a dime a dozen, more likely to carry teenagers and twenty-somethings for a night of cruising and boozing than transporting genuine celebrities around.
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Most parenting experts are committed to positive action to maintain forward momentum. Half of the parents I have met don't need to learn what to do, they need to learn what to stop.
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If you want to understand a teenager then subtract a dozen years. A 14-year-old is not much different from a 2-year-old.
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There's no doubt that raising boys tends to be more of a challenge for parents than raising girls. Understanding and appreciating the differences is a great start
Parents should have conversations with children around social media before they reach the teenage years. Starting these conversations when they are younger means that they are more open to our parenting opinions, as well as being a little more amenable to the messages of tolerance, kindness and empathy that we need to encourage.