1. Many children at my daughter’s school are participating in lots of outside of school activities. I do not think that my child would be able to cope with extra activities after school. Is she missing out?
Are you less of an adult because you can’t speak three languages, play every position in netball, pick up a violin and sound like Sebastian Bach all while making perfectly nutritious school lunches? No! So neither does your child have to be? The aim is to raise happy, well-adjusted children, not skill perfectionists! Ease the pressure here and just let them enjoy being a child, it is not a competition. Let their imagination guide them to where their interests lay and they will tell you when they want and/or are ready for more.
2. My daughter has a girl in her class that was always mean to her. After years of torment, teasing and tears at home, my daughter has now made friends with this girl and wants her to sleep over? What should I do?
No way! As much as your child should learn to forgive and forget, the more important lesson here is to learn to first respect themselves and recognise their own worth! This is even something that many adults have still yet to master! Once they appreciate their own worth, they’ll find that they will only WANT to attract good people and genuine friendships into their lives, not be forced to “suck up” to the mean girls in order to feel loved and accepted. Your daughter has likely only made friends with this girl in an attempt to stop her from bulling her. This is when you as the parent need to step in and have real conversations about the type of people we seek to attract into our lives. Sometimes we form these toxic-type friendship patterns early in our lives, and then spend years trying to break the cycle of “needing to be liked and accepted” no matter what the personal cost.
3. Am I a slave to my children because I spend the whole weekend driving them around to activities? Help me… I need a life for me.
Here is a thought……Life is all about balance! It is okay to actually have a bit of a life!! We are not saying to neglect all of your child’s needs…take them to some play dates, parties and extra activities. But if by the end of the week you are broken and barely have any energy to even order a pizza, then maybe it is time to reassess your priorities. Just ensure to add yourself to that list! Your needs do not become totally redundant just because your priorities are now different. You will be much better value to your children if you take care of your own needs and personal mental health as well as theirs. After you’ve done that…. go and have a coffee with a friend to remind yourself that you are so much more than just an Uber driver for your children!
4. My son is not good at sport and I feel like his PE teacher has given up on him. What should I do?
Take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that this PE teacher is not Danny Green! You need to go in and remind this teacher that your child is a part of the class too and although he may not turn out to be a Ricky Ponting or Wayne Carey he still deserves a go! Don’t take your boxing gloves in to this meeting, just be honest about your concerns, be assertive and tell it like it is. They might actually give your child the extra TLC they need and help to bring the sportsman out in them! If not, at least this may help your child in gaining that little bit of extra confidence to participate
5. I have been called in to have a meeting with my child’s High School Principal regarding my teenager’s behaviour. I am not a very assertive person and not confident with these kinds of meetings. What do I do?
Meetings don’t always have to be face to face. They can be over the phone or via email. We know we were brought up to be scared of the principal, but they really are just normal people. Listen to what they have to say. The majority of teachers are in the job for one reason and that is to help the students learn. They will have called this meeting so that together your family and the school can attempt to address your child’s behavior in a united way. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, try writing down some points you would like to discuss, sometimes it helps! Good luck!
6. I’m a single mum and have recently met a new man and things are getting serious. When should I introduce him to my children?
There is no clear answer to this one.
If you really feel like this guy and you think he is worthy of meeting your children then ease your way into this one. You need to ask yourself a few questions first.
What’s their relationship like with their dad? Are they strong enough to cope with having a new male in their life? How many other partners have they met before this one? (With you and your ex that is) Finally do you think this man will try and take over as their new father before you can finish watching the first season of The Real Housewives of Sydney? If your answers to these questions bring you to the conclusion that introducing him to your children is a positive thing. Then give it a go. Make sure your new relationship is strong and not showing any cracks. Well at least not in front of the kids. Get your foundation right with him and then get the kids involved. The most important thing here is, that we set up good strong relationship values in your children so that they attract healthy relationship in their life. It’s an important question so it needs lots of thought before you jump in.
7. I was looking forward to my kids going back to school after the long holidays, but now they are back I can’t cope with the rat race against the clock. Can I have some tips please?
Planning and organisation is the key. There is no escaping it! Parenting is hard work. Most of the work starts when you actually finish your paid job. Don’t think you need to live up to other parents; your family does things your way. Ask your children to help out. Get them to get their own stuff ready so you don’t have to be in charge of the whole schedule. This will teach them responsibility. They will soon remember they have to pack their runners on a Tuesday after they play one round of soccer with their school shoes still on! It is not harsh, it is reality!
8. My children have just started a new school in grade 3 and 5. Do I really need to make friends with the other mums?
There are no rules here! Only if you want to! There should be no pressure to make friends. Plus your child will make friends and if a play date is locked in and if the families click, then Hakuna Matata! If not, just say Hi, during the drop off, pick up and the occasional sports day, if it is meant to be… it will happen organically. Just remain open and try not to feel pressured to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. But hey, if one person seems like the kind of person you could hang out with, don’t be scared to say Hi.
9. I think my teenage daughters friends are too competitive with each other over their school marks. My daughter is stressed that she is not as good as the others. Is that okay?
The theme in your house needs to be about your Personal Best. Sure teach your child to strive to get the best out of themselves, but not at the detriment of their self esteem. Point out that whilst the other girls may get higher grades, your child has other attributes. Things that the other girls might not have. Life is not about competing all the time; it is about being the best version of you!
The Carousel want to thank Sonya and Sacha for their article. If you have a parenting question you’d like them to answer in the next column, visit their website here.