Saturday, 8 October 2011

Breaking the Cycle

I just spent a week working with a group of people who want to build a better future for themselves. All had difficult life stories. Many had spent time in prison. And, unusually for these courses, the majority were women.

I witnessed a lot of honesty and courage this week, a lot of wisdom and support, and an intense desire to bring up their own children to choose a different path.

Their stories reinforced my belief that the way the teenage years are handled are critical: it is so easy to create alienation when the support of adults is most needed but least likely to be ask for, our disapproval pushing teenagers into the very company we don't want them to keep.

The pain these women and their children have been through breaks my heart. But there is hope too: facing and moving on from their past may allow the women to break the cycle and not to pass their troubles on to the next generation.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Tips for Parents of Younger Boys

Spend time with other families that have boys and do adventurous, outdoor stuff together (the girls will love it too!)

Let boys have time outside after school to blow off steam.

Notice when grumpiness - yours and your childrens' - is due to low blood sugar. A snack might be what's needed.

Make friends with the parents of your sons' friends.

Form a parent study group, and work through each chapter of About Our Boys together.

Make sure you have some time to yourself doing a bit of what you like to do, then you'll find you have more energy to give the rest of the family. If you look after your own needs first, you will find it much easier to look after the needs of everyone else. (Lots of parents put their own needs last and then get exhausted and resentful.)

Get to know the other families in your street, whatever the ages of the children. Treat teenagers the same as you would anyone else - your kids will be teenagers one day and they are all lovely really!

Notice if you find yourself or hear others talking about how terrible a child is. Instead of judging him or his parents, look for the good in the child and offer support or ideas of how to bring the best out in him.