Ten Tips to Kick Worry-Brain into Touch!

Blog wordle feel the fearSo I’ve admitted it, I have been a Helicopter Mum and I’m sure that I will be again! But it could be a whole lot worse if I didn’t kick Worry-Brain into touch!

Here’s my top ten tips for calming the mind when embracing your teenagers new-found independence: 

  1. Get some perspective – use Rational-Brain to counter argue with Worry-Brain. Look at the statistics – and remind yourself how important it is for children to get outdoors on their own to learn resilience and problem solving skills.
  2. Create a dialogue – talk to your children about your feelings and explain that you want to work with them to enable them to enjoy their new independence.
  3. Set reasonable limits – work together in consultation to agree an achievable goal that you can both stick to. For example, I set a time that Berry has to contact me to touch base and this reassures me he’s ok and give him the flexibility to change plans.
  4. Welcome friends – encourage your children’s friends into your home, stock the freeze with goodies to encourage them to stay for lunch, facilitate entertainment like using the pool, x-box or games room. This has a triple benefit – you to get to know the friends they’re hanging around with, gain a reputation as a ‘Fun-Mum’ and you get to supervise them at your place so Worry-Brain really can take a break!
  5. Network – link into the parenting community in which your child is circulating. Get one another’s mobile numbers, this helps everyone to feel supported. Send a communal text as the children leave or arrive at your house, then everyone is a linked into their activities whilst refraining from obviously keeping tabs on them!
  6. Plan for risks  – help your child to think through some risk scenarios and discuss how they would handle these situations. Remember to allow them to do most of the thinking – you’re there to prompt, encourage and question!
  7. Build confidence – theirs and yours! Stay positive, focus on the good things that happened  during their time away from you. If you are a nervous wreck every time they leave the house an unhealthy cycle of guilt and dependence is created. The message you are unconsciously sending says ‘I don’t believe you are capable of this’ and plants the seed for future self-doubt.
  8. Lead by example – be a positive role model, believe in yourself and them. Talk about times when you take risks in your life, how you assess the potential dangers and take action. The bestselling classic ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers is a good start to reflecting on what makes you feel fear and how to break through the paralysis this can create.
  9. Celebrate – in the new-found freedom that your children are achieving, congratulate yourself on having taken a step towards parenting an independent teen and enjoy the new ‘me-time’ that you will have while they’re out having fun! Do something positive for yourself and enjoy your own new-found independence!
  10. Re-connect – Spending time engaged in independent activities adds a new dimension to your relationship with your children. Enjoy hearing about their adventures and re-connect with them as developing people in their own right.

 

The End of an Era

It’s really happening. Today confirmed my suspicions. They are growing up.

Today was the end of primary school for my ‘baby’ Berry and the beginning of a new chapter.

 

It’s been an emotional day for us both, but for different reasons. He’s saying goodbye to some good friends who are leaving to go to different high schools, and I’m reassuring him that as one door closes another opens! I’m sad to leave the lovely nurturing environment of junior school where you build a relationship with just one teacher, for an impersonal high school where multiple teachers barely remember the kids names.

 

Berry thinks this may work in his favour though; if they don’t remember his name they might not remember his misdemeanours! I think it may too! I will no longer receive the Red Note informing me of an impending detention after a water fight in the toilets!

 

So going to high school means not everything gets back to mum, is this an opportunity to conceal bad behaviour? Or is it a lesson in personal responsibility? If he’s not accountable to me at the end of the school day, then who is he accountable to? The obvious answer is – himself! That most important person who will regulate his behaviour and choices throughout his life!

 

Independence, love it or hate it, it’s coming our way!

A Journey Beyond Kilometers

family-roadtrip-togetherWe recently travelled for 3 months around Australia and I began blogging, mainly to share news and updates with friends and family, but also to record a journal of our adventures. As we travelled it was clear that this was not a journey measured only in kilometres, but in personal connection and growth.

We covered great distances from Broome to Cairns but the further we went from home the more home was found within us. It was as if the distance created by pursing individual goals diminished as we worked to achieve shared goals. Gaps and silences that had been sliding quietly into the spaces in our lives became filled with laughter and adventure. And when I reflect on the real journey that my blog documents, it is the record of our family re-connecting and evolving.

Now we’re back in Perth, back to school, work and hum-drum can we keep the connection alive? How do we maintain our individual lives without becoming fragmented again?