I want my children to be happy…

HappinessAsk any parent what they want for their children, the majority will say something about wanting them to be happy. But, what is happiness? Where does it come from and what influences it?

I have been trying to answer the question “what makes us happy?” over the summer and have discovered some fascinating research which I will be building into my future workshops.

So,  I am starting my new programme of workshops with a “Free to be me…!” workshop for mums on 4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM in Ruishton Village Hall.

As a mums, we have a huge influence on our children so I think we need to invest in ourselves more so we are better able to cope with our personal challenges as well as those of our children and partners (if we have one!).  To find out more, click here.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in my latest findings*, based on years of international research, are that if you want to lastingly raise your level of happiness you should do the following:
1. Live in a wealthy democracy, not in an impoverished one
2. Avoid negative events and negative emotions
3. Acquire a rich social network
4. Get married
5. Get a religion

And, as far as happiness and life satisfaction are concerned, however, you needn’t bother doing the following:
6. Make more money (money has little or no effect once you are comfortable, more materialistic people are less happy)
7. Stay healthy
8. Get as much education as possible
9. Change your race or move to a sunnier climate

Whether or not you agree or disagree this has certainly made me think.

* Martin Seligman 2002

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Happy holidays!

Hols with teenagers
As a working mum with teenage daughters relaxing, enjoyable family holidays are essential! I don’t want a miserable or stressful family holiday so I tried to prevent issues before they happen to make sure that we all have a great break.

Here are my top 5 tips for surviving and enjoying holidays with teenagers!

Tip 1:  Remember that your teenager also needs a holiday – try to think about your plans from their point of view. If they hate walking, a walking break in the Lake District probably wouldn’t result in a harmonious family holiday!

Tip 2:  Have a positive attitude to going on holiday with your teenager, tell them how much you are looking forward to spending time with them even if this gets negative comments and strange looks!

Your attitude to going on holiday will set the tone for the holiday so try to be positive and don’t expect a challenging time with them.

Tip 3:  Try to introduce some holiday rituals and routines – we have just been away to the same place we have been several times and there is a certain ice cream shop the girls love so whenever we go there, we buy ice creams and reminisce about previous holidays!

Tip 4:  Discuss mobile contact whilst away, will they take their phones with them and stay in touch with their friends and if they do? Sometimes teenagers need a break from their friends and the pressures of constant social networking I know I do not particularly want to take all their friends with me 24/7, so rather than arguing on the holiday I do talk about this before we go.

Tip 5:  Get a balance between what they want to do and what you want to do, for example, give them a day each when they decide what you all do and eat. We have done this over the years and the girls love dictating what I do and eat.

I do think the most successful holidays do take a bit of pre-planning and discussion. Also, do not pre-judge your teenager and they might just surprise you.

Happy holidays!

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Let’s do something different for parents of teenagers

TeenagersI love being part of a Ladies Business Action Group, we all have small start-up businesses and meet once a month on the Blackdown Hills. I look forward to it every month, but why?

These ladies are so encouraging, every time I come away feeling built up and ready to face the various challenges I need to deal with as well as lots of ideas on how to deal with them!

Is this what parents of teenagers would like, ideas and new ways for dealing with their parenting challenges, lots of encouragement (don’t we all need this!), accountability for making changes they want to make as well as someone just to listen to them.

I want to find out what would help you parent your teenagers.

Parenting courses are traditionally delivered over several weeks, however I know as a working mum it is hard to commit to one night a week over 5/6 weeks. Also, coming along to a workshop is easy, making and sticking to the changes you want to make to your parenting approach is far more difficult.

To tackle this, I am thinking about setting up a group for parents of teenagers that would meet either weekly or every other week which provides this ongoing support and encouragement.

To join the group, parents would need to attend 1 of my workshops, they could then come along to the group whenever they felt they needed some extra support to make changes or just get new ideas.

Is this a good idea or not? Tell me! :

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As parents of pre-teens and teenagers, what are your biggest issues?

I am now planning my next few workshops, they are going to be on Saturdays from September so I want to make sure I deal with the issues and challenges you find the hardest, so please let me know. Thanks!

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Fearing the unknown? Discover how to successfully parent teenagers.

managing teenagers

I have decided to repackage my 16 June workshop – the content is the same, however you can now choose to come for just the morning session, the afternoon one or all day.


This workshop is ideal for parents of children aged 10-14 years and there is a 10% discount if booked before 25 May (CODE: FTU1606).  I will be covering the following topics in the workshop:

Morning session   9:30 AM-1 PM (£28pp)
• Insights into the teenage brain – this explains a lot!
• Communicating with your teenager
• Managing behaviour & boundaries

Afternoon session   1:30 PM-4:15 PM (£24pp)
• Building your teenager’s self-esteem
• Managing their friendships and peer pressure
• Managing their online world

Cost: Day: £45pp or £75 for 2 adults. All costs include refreshments and an information pack, the full day ticket includes lunch.

If you would like more information, email me at survivingteenagers@gmail.com

To book you place go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fearing-the-unknown-discover-how-to-successfully-parent-teenagers-tickets-11370339993

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Secrets to successfully parenting teenagers!

Secrets to successfully parenting teenagersMy final workshop before the summer is ideal for parents of children aged 10 – 14 years.
It will be on Saturday 14 June, Ruishton Village Hall, Ruishton 9:30 AM-4 PM BOOKING LINK

This workshop will focus on preparing for the teenage years, helping your child through change including the transition from primary school to secondary school and positively prepare you for the challenges of Year 9!

The feedback from similar workshops I have delivered has been very positive and I do know that other parents would definitely recommend this. The workshop will cover:

• Insights into the development of the teenage brain – this explains a lot!
• Understanding why teenagers behave the way they do
• Understanding how you can build their self-esteem
• Managing change with your child e.g. Primary to Secondary school, Y7 to Y9
• Understanding why Year 9 is so challenging and tips for dealing with this
• Keys to communicating with your child throughout the teenage years
• Learning how to successfully manage behaviour, conflict and boundaries
• Surviving their friendships and peer pressure
• Helping you and your teenager survive their online world

Cost: £45 per person, £75 for 2 adults including: light lunch, refreshments and information pack
10% earlybird discount if booked before 5 May


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How to help you and your teenager survive GCSEs

Please click on this link to book your place for the session at Heathfield School on 2 April, 7PM – 8.30PM on How to help you and your teenager survive GCSEs Places are limited.

This session focuses on the practical suggestions to help you and your teenagers and includes:
1. Communication with your teenager, or at least trying to!
2. Different approaches to revision and how to get your teenager to revise
3. Preparing for exams and managing stress

Any queries, please ring Ruth James on 07718178111study for exams

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Do you know what your teenager is up to online?

Social media surviving their online worldIn a survey of 13 – 18 year olds:

• 60% said they had been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves
• 40% said they had created an image or video of themselves
• 25% said they had sent an image or video of themselves to someone else.
• 29% of UK children aged 9-16 years old said they had contact online with someone they have not met face to face
• 4% of UK 9-16 year olds have gone to an offline meeting with someone they first met online.

My ‘Surviving teenagers, social media and their online world’ workshop will deal with these issues and is on 31 March in Ruishton Village Hall, 7 PM-9 PM, you can book your place by clicking on this link. Cost is £10 per person.

This session will cover:
• Helping you get to grips with what your teenager is doing online
• Give you the confidence to stay in control of your teenager’s digital life
• Give you tools to help you

Here are some fascinating more facts (McAfee Survey 2013):
46% of 10-23-year-old said they would change their online behaviour if they knew their parents were watching

58% know how to hide what they do from their parents
48% have seen sexually explicit content that disturb them
27% have witnessed cruel behaviour – only 9% of parents were aware of this

As parents, we really need to know what our children are doing online.

For more fascinating facts click here and go to the NSPCC website

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Top tips on surviving teenagers, exams and social media!

teenagers need boundariesI am running 3 new workshops for parents of pre-teens and teenagers in
Ruishton Village Hall from 7 PM- 9 PM on:

Mon 24 March – Understanding why teenagers behave the way they do!
Mon 31 March
– Surviving teenagers, social media and their online world.

Mon 28 April – Surviving homework, revision, exams and the stressed teenager.

After each session parents will come away with practical ideas for dealing with the issues and building a more positive relationship with their teenager. Parents who have already been on my workshops would definitely recommend them to other parents.

Cost: £10 per person with 10% off if booked online before 12 March. To book your place either click on the relevant link above or contact Ruth on 07718178111, survivingteenagers@gmail.com

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What parents said about my Building Resilient Teenager’s workshop….

WheBuilding resilient teenagersn I asked the parents who came along last Saturday what they would say to others about the workshop, they wrote:

• Excellent! You can’t afford to miss this workshop, it will give you more confidence in parenting teenagers
• Very worthwhile & helpful. Raised awareness of things I didn’t know much about
• Go for it… It was well worth it, learnt more about what being a teenager is like
• It is definitely worth going on
• Very good… I would recommend it – very interested, informative & positive
• Really interesting and useful – would recommend it.
• Excellent time management, well-organised and manage – good slides. Valuable material
• You should have been there!
• Well worth doing, I would advise them to go!

Thanks for these comments!

I will soon be advertising more dates, if you would like me to send you them, please email me at survivingteenagers@gmail.com

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