Thank you for your lovely feedback!

Building self esteem

I wanted to thank all of you who came along to the “How to talk so teenagers listen…” session at Heathfield on 2 February for your feedback. I thoroughly enjoyed the session and your feedback is really helpful – here it is, on the Heathfield website if you would like to have a look.

The next session will be on “Building your teenager’s self-esteem”

Parents are often concerned about their teenagers’ self-esteem, either they think their teenager has too little or too much! But, what is “self-esteem”, where does it come from and what can we, as parents, do to improve our teenager’s self-esteem?

I will be running a session at Heathfield School on 23 March, 6:30 PM-7:45 PM focusing on helping parents to build their teenager’s self-esteem, the session will cover:

  • Helping parents understand what self-esteem is, where it comes from (I found this fascinating!)
  • How it changes over time (& why Year 9 is so challenging!) and, most importantly,
  • How we as parents can help to build and strengthen our teenagers’ self-esteem

I know what I cover in this session works because research I have done on self-esteem has challenged and changed me, it has made me rethink how I think about myself and enabled me to grow my self-belief. As parents, we often struggle with our own self-belief in how we parent so you might find this helpful for yourself as well as your teenager!

To book your place, please go to:



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My love bombing day with my daughter…

love bombing

Love bombing as I discovered was easier to recommend to parents than necessarily doing myself!  At the last Managing Behaviour 2 session at Heathfield School I recommended “love bombing” as a way of building a more positive relationship with your children.  The psychologist Oliver James recommends it as a way of resetting the emotional thermostat so I thought I would give it a go.

Anyway, it was harder than I thought, perhaps this was more about my need to be in control than I thought!  Oliver James recommends 24-48 hours of one-to-one time with your child where they have control over what you.  You then go on to have weekly “love bombing” time to keep things going in the right direction.

I could only give my daughter 12 hours and she wanted to go shopping in Bristol, and she was in charge!

Her highlight was spending hours looking at make-up in Debenhams, not exactly a subject I know much about.  I thought Urban Decay was about inner-city challenges – but no, it is very expensive make-up, I nearly collapsed when she wanted an eyeshadow palette for £37 – talk about manipulative advertising… I was not convinced, even though she kept saying “But this is my day…”.  We then visited and queued in all the usual teenage shops and she was delighted with things she decided to buy.

Love bombing is definitely worth the effort.  It gives you an insight into your teenager’s world and in my daughter’s case, how retailers manipulate our teenagers through slick advertising.

The constant messages were “you can’t be happy until you have purchased…”, “If you buy… you’ll be so much more confident and popular.”  And yet our teenagers fall for them every time, and to some degree it is necessary as they do like to fit in, but we need to encourage them to see through what they are being bombarded with by clever and manipulative retailers.  At this point I won’t even mention the £15 we paid for a Sacconejoly’s 2015 calendar… don’t ask.

She has a ready said she wants another love bombing day next year in Bristol and will now save up enough to buy the eyeshadow palette… she has a year to convince me!

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The NAGGING index!

consistency and naggingConsistency, consistency, consistency is one of the keys to successfully parenting pre-teen/teenager’s so why is it so hard…

In an ideal world, where pressures and stress don’t exist and, as parents, we have an unlimited supply of energy and determination, consistency could be relatively straightforward.

However, life just isn’t like that and sometimes we are just too tired/too many other things going on or it is simply too hard to be consistent so we sometimes eventually cave in.  We may start off by saying “no” but eventually, after being worn down by a nagging teenager it is all too easy to go for the peaceful life… But is it?

As I mentioned at my session with Y7 parents at Heathfield Community School on Monday, the problem with this is that we teach our teenagers that if we initially say “no”, they nag, moan, strop and “go on”, eventually wear us down and we say “yes” and so the cycle continues, we by default are teaching our teenagers that nagging works and this can be exhausting for everyone in the long term.

Harry Barry in his ‘Flagging the Screenager’ book mentions the ‘Nagging Index’. So, if you want to use this to measure how consistent you are with your pre-teens/teenagers, the next time you say no, count the number of times they ask again and again before they finally accept the no or you say yes!  The more nagging by your teenager, the higher the likelihood of you being inconsistent.



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Understanding why teenagers behave the way they do!

managing teenagersThere is a session for Year 7 parents at Heathfield Community School on Monday 20 October, 6:30 PM-7:30 PM.

I am going to do a quick talk on “Why teenagers behave the way they do!” followed by an open question and answer session, you can ask me anything you like from a small niggle, to a real worry or a persistent problem.

Mr Husband and I will also let you know more about the ideas we have had on running parenting workshops over the coming months.

We want to make this a relaxing and enjoyable evening, it is your opportunity to find out more about teenagers, meet some other parents and hear about our new ideas.

If you would like to come, please book your place online at:

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Need a breakthrough in your thinking?

Free to be me
I have put together an excellent workshop for mums which has the potential to make a real difference – why am I saying this?

Having just gone through the content as I prepare for next Saturday (9.30am – 1pm in Ruishton), I am confident it really could help mums cope better not only in day-to-day family life but also when everything goes pear shaped on a Monday morning.

All I can say is that this stuff has really made a difference to me, how I think about myself and what I do. Outwardly we like to tell other people that everything is fine and successful but sometimes inside we can be feeling miserable, worried about our ability to cope with the latest challenge. We hate being judged but we often judge ourselves the most.

This workshop focuses on why we think the way we do and  how we can change our thinking about ourselves and our circumstances and it can be liberating – I know!

But there are still a couple of places – buy one place get one free so if you would like to come along, please book here:

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Free to be me…! a workshop for mums

Free to be me“Free to be me…!” is a workshop for mums  on Saturday 4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM in Ruishton.

This workshop is for all busy mums of children at any age who spend their time juggling their own lives as well as their children’s lives.

I focus on how, as mums we can:
• Learn to change our thinking to become happier with ourselves and how we parent
• Learn new ways of coping with the inevitable challenges
• Tackle and deal with comparison and guilt
• Motivate ourselves to do whatever it is we need to do!

I have taken some of the latest psychology findings and made them easy-to-use on a stressful Monday morning when everything is going pear shaped.

The topics I have included have made a real difference to me, to find out more about this read my letter to mums

Cost: £25pp with 10% off until 15 September.

To book your place, please go to:

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For mums, it is the small things in life…

Free to be me!Thank goodness the new school bag arrived this morning, I now have one happy teenage daughter who is now looking forward to going back to school so she can show it off to her friends.

I would say it was an example of “pick your battle” but I think I probably just gave in to daughter pressure, the rucksack has plastic straps and is not in the least bit waterproof i.e. looks pretty but is totally impractical and I don’t expect it to last more than a couple of weeks.

But, my daughter loves it so if that is what it takes for her to be happier going back to school, then that is something I’m just going to have to live with (I still think it was a rip-off…).

Sometimes as a mum, it is the little things which do make a difference, staying calm, being positive and realising that it is not the rucksack which is the issue, it is about going back to school. But, it isn’t easy when we are also juggling 101 other things.

Which is why I am running my “Free to be me…!” workshop for mums  on  4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM in Ruishton Village Hall, the cost is £25pp with a 10% if you book before 15 September.

Oh, by the way, she has just seen a photograph of herself when she was 7 and asked “Why did I have my hair like that, fashion crisis or what?” – I simply reminded her I did suggest it wasn’t the best look but decided not to fight that one too!

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A personal letter to all mums from a mum!

Dear mums,

Last Saturday I began listing all the pressures on mums today, by the time I got to 50 (from money worries, pressures on time, coping with school to worrying about our children not to mention “Facebook and the smug mum”) I now think it is amazing we all have the energy to get up in the morning to face the next day. But we do and we cope because that’s what we have to do for our children.

As a mum I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy over the years (we only ever had 1 dressing up outfit which covered all events from Romans to Victorians and I never did manage to bake a cake in time for the school fair) and at times it can all get too much.

Then I started writing my Building Resilient Teenagers workshop using the latest psychology research on brain development, self-esteem, thinking and motivation. What I read challenged and changed how I think about myself.

If we are going to parent our children to the best of our ability, we need to have the energy to do this. Guilt, fear and negative thoughts drain us unnecessarily – don’t we have enough to cope with!

This is why I have written my “Free to be me…!” workshop for mums of children at any age, I know the difference what I have learnt has made to me and I think you will find it both fascinating and liberating. We can change our thinking about ourselves and our circumstances and I use the latest psychology research to help us understand how we can do this.

I will be covering:
• Growing your belief in yourself and how you parent
• Tackling the twin challenges of comparison & guilt
• Motivating yourself to…
• Learning how to build your resilience to help manage and cope better with your day-to- day family life

My workshop is on 4 October, 9:30 AM-1 PM at Ruishton Village Hall. To find out more, click on this link or email me at I have limited the places to 12, the cost is £25 pp and if you book before 15 September you can get 10% off.

I hopefully look forward to seeing some of you on 4 October.



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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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