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    4 weeks ago · · 0 comments

    Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    Four keys to successful parenting. I believe in the four keys so much, I think this is the best tool in my parenting toolbox.

    Want to talk about the best parenting skill you can absorb and take on board and live by? It’s the four keys to successful parenting!

    As a parent you are likely to be focusing on so many things that are not relevant. These things often lead you to feeling more stressed, more anxious and to develop unrealistic expectations for your children. In turn, these feelings lead to stressful parenting, rather than more successful parenting.

    A Happier Child

    In order to parent more calmly, we really only need to focus on four key parenting outcomes. These four outcomes end up resulting in a:

    • happier child
    • happier home life
    • more successful child
    calm parenting and successful parenting

    So what are these 4 key outcomes that lead to successful parenting?

    1. HEALTH – Is is my child healthy?
    2. SAFETY – Is my child healthy?
    3. HAPPINESS – Is my child happy?
    4. SECURITY – Is my child feeling secure?

    How you manage to achieve these four outcomes is up to you!

    Where is your parenting focused?

    We shouldn’t be focusing on what other people think about our children.

    We should be focusing on what our child needs in order to feel healthy, safe, happy and secure.

    YOU know your child best. You can take advice, read books, watch shows and seek professional help. BUT…. at the end of the day, as long as your goal is to end up with a happier, safe, healthy and secure child. You can know in your heart you are achieving successful parenting!

    As I’m sure that you’ve discovered, people are quick to tell you their opinions on how best to parent. However, every child is unique and what works for one, is not guaranteed to work for another!

    The Development of the Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    I developed the four keys to successful parenting as a system to achieving Calm Parenting. I realized very early on as a parent that most parenting books focus on the steps to achieving particular outcomes, like getting a baby to sleep. But what happens when your child does not follow the steps to achieve the desired outcome. For example, your child won’t sleep in a cot alone!

    Parenting books are good at proving guides to achieving an outcome – like safely swaddling a baby to sleep. However, there is a gap when the steps do not lead to the desired outcome. Such books just focus on a behaviour – SLEEP. So, the result is many parents, like myself, end up feeling stressed focusing on the sleep outcome without dealing with issues controlling sleep, like mood, temperaments etc.

    What we should be focusing on how to help our child feel happy, safe, secure and healthy – so that sleep will be much easier to achieve?

    Successful parenting and Calm Parenting
    successful parenting

    The 4 Keys: Detailed in the Book Perfect Mum: How to Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood

    I wrote in detail about the 4 keys to successful parenting in my book – Perfect Mum: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood. At the time of writing that book I detailed a range of experiences I had in motherhood.

    One time my daughter and I went to the library. There was a little girl there. In the middle of looking at the books, my daughter decided to hit this little girl who was playing beside her. The girl began to cry. I apologized profusely of course to the mother and child and left wondering what was going on with my child.

    We returned to that same library a few weeks later. The same mother and child happened to be at the library again. My daughter spent no time repeating the same behaviour with the same girl. The girl began to cry. I apologized again, however, this time the mother berated me, saying I must be a terrible parent and that this child has a problem.

    The interesting part was, I went back to the library and I saw the same mother and the same girl and guess what? This time, the little girl hit another child and left her crying. I laughed a little bit to myself because by then I had research that little kids often hit other children to get attention because they don’t know how to express that they actually want to be friends.

    Coming back to the four key outcomes for successful parenting

    As a parent, I could have started to question myself, my child and my parenting by simply focussing on the outcome – the hit! However, once I started to evaluate my child’s behaviour based on the 4 key outcomes to successful parenting, I calmed down and was able to deal with things in a much calmer and proactive state of mind.

    Evaluating Events Based On The 4 Keys To Successful Parenting

    1. HEALTH: I researched childhood behaviour and realized this was normal. Yes it was something to address and change, but it did not reflect that my child had anything ‘wrong’ with her as the mother had originally suggested.
    2. SAFETY: The hit was not hard and did not cause any physical damage. It was definitely a shock for all of us and not nice for the poor little girl. However, no-one was hurt.
    3. HAPPY: I realized my child needed some teaching in how to make new friends. Being an only child at the time, we organized many more play dates after this. Needless to say, this hitting behaviour never happened again.
    4. SECURE: I made sure I separated the behaviour from her as a person. The behaviour was not acceptable, but she was still a good person at heart. This made it easier for her to listen, absorb and learn.

    Above I have analysed the 4 keys with simple questions

    Is My Child:

    • Health
    • Safe
    • Happy
    • Secure?

    These four simple parenting questions, led me down a much calmer and proactive parenting path. The outcome was a success and I learnt something very valuable about my child’s behaviour in the process.

    Becoming a More Rational and Calm Parent

    successful parenting

    When you look at the four keys to successful parenting, you can start to be more rational about how you respond. You can be more rational about your views on your child’s behavior and look at them in better perspective too.

    Hitting can mean a range of things. In this instance, my child was trying to get attention. In another instance, it might be that the child’s observing aggressive behavior and role modeling. It might be that the child’s feeling neglected and is acting out to get any attention. The key is looking deeper than on the surface.

    Regularly ask yourself these four key parenting questions

    The most important thing about these four keys to successful parenting is to assess and then only address when these 4 keys are not being met. For example, if your child is eating too much junk food which is causing tooth decay, it’s time to change eating patterns. If your child is often anxious, it’s important to address this and so on. However, if someone tells you off for giving your child the phone in public. Ask yourself, “is my child healthy, happy, safe and secure”? If yes, dismiss the comment!

    Your child is not going to be happy all the time. That’s not normal. Your child is going to have emotional reactions. But generally speaking, happy kids are talkative, they’re affectionate, they’re smiley, they’re playful, they get excited about things, and they generally engage with you. If a child is disengaged, then it’s time to adjust your parenting in order to support higher happiness.

    successful parenting

    Wrapping up the Four Keys to Successful Parenting

    So these four key outcomes to successful parenting are where you want to focus on in order to be a consistently calm and confident parent. It’s really simple. Regularly ask yourself … Is my child healthy, happy, safe, and secure? If something’s not working, just try something else until you get back on track.

    6 months ago · · 0 comments

    Leek Mushroom & Pumpkin Risotto – Recipes to Help The Earth & Boost Calm Parenting

    This delicious Leek Mushroom & Pumpkin Risotto is so quick and easy to make and all the family will love it. You can replace the mushroom with chicken or just leave it out all together if like. The pumpkin and leek are flavorsome enough too. This is one of many Recipes from Help For Mums designed to Help The Earth & Boost Calm Parenting

    Leek Mushroom & Pumpkin Risotto – Ingredients

    Leek, Mushroom & Pumpkin Risotto - Recipes to Help The Earth & Boost Calm Parenting
    • 300g of pumpkin – diced
    • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
    • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary
    • ½ tablespoon of sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 whole leek – sliced
    • 1 large garlic clove – crushed
    • 2 bunches of bok choi – steamed
    • 1 cup of spinach leaves
    • ½ cup of fresh parsley
    • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
    • 1½ cup of Arborio rice
    • 750ml (3 cups) of hot chicken stock
    • 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (optional)


    Preheat oven to 200°C

    • Place the pumpkin and mushrooms in a baking tray lined with baking paper and season with rosemary and sesame oil
    • Bake for 30 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and tender, but not overcooked
    • Remove, dice the pumpkin – stand aside (you can cook this while you are preparing the rice)
    • Heat the olive oil in a rice cooker or a large pot
    • Fry the leek and garlic in the oil until tender
    • Add the bok choi and spinach and stir until tender and soft
    • Add the rice and stir
    • Add the fresh parsley, salt and pepper and stir
    • Once all combined add 1 cup of chicken stock and stir until absorbed, then add the second cup and wait until absorbed and then the third cup – stir continuously
    • Finally add the pumpkin and mushroom and stir
    • Combine with the Parmesan cheese (optional) to create a beautiful creamy consistency and serve.
    • Note: Depending on the strength of your rice cooker, you may need to add more water as you’re cooking.

    1 year ago · · 0 comments · Sticky

    Better Understanding Your Child

    Why it is so important to understand your child

    As a parent of two young children who are growing up very fast, I understand first hand how challenging parenting can be. Over the years I have learnt personally and professionally how important it is to spend time getting to know my children. This means I have to take time to play with them, listen to them and gather as much information that I can from their teachers, other family members and friends, in order to see them in different lights. I think this is crucial for guiding them through life.

    Every child is different. So many parenting books and experts give parents generic tools that are meant to be a one-size-fits all approach. On top of this we have layers of judgement and criticism towards parents who are perceived to not be doing the right thing. So, if you’re a parent and you’re feeling really confused about how to understand your child – YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

    The reason why it’s so important to understand your child is because your child is unique. What suits one child is not guaranteed to suit your child. Think about the adults you know. How many of them are exactly the same? even your best friends and you share different interests, motivations, likes and dislikes. So why would we expect our children to be any different?

    Why parents choose a particular style of parenting

    dealing with anxiety in motherhood

    Parents often try to fit into a particular parenting style in order to:

    • follow family, social, societal, religious etc norms
    • avoid potentially making a mistake
    • feel in control
    • do the ‘right’ things
    • and so on

    Whatever style you choose, it’s REALLY important to be flexible and mould the style to suit your child’s individual needs. You may need to alter things a little or even change the style to suit your child’s particular needs.

    A good example of this is the ‘Controlled Crying’ method parents use with young children to support them to sleep. This parenting style does NOT work for every child. For instance, if you have a child with a ‘slow to warm up’ temperament, you will really struggle with the ‘Controlled Crying’ method. So understanding your child’s temperament for instance has a direct impact on how you should parent to support your child to get to sleep.

    Understanding your child’s temperament

    There are many theories of parenting. One which is widely taught is the theory of Child Temperament. Temperament is divided into three types:

    • Feisty
    • Slow to Warm Up
    • Easy

    The type of temperament your child was born with, will directly influence how your child operates in the world, copes with change and stress, is motivated to change behaviour and socialises with others. When you understand your child’s temperament, you can then shape your parenting to suit your child’s needs. This makes parenting so much easier and significantly reduces your child’s stress. It also really supports your child to succeed in the world and feel really well supported in the process.

    So, take time to understand your child. Get to know your child’s need from your child’s point of view. In doing so, you will find parenting so much smoother and you will be doing your best to give your child the best chance to succeed in life too.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, Author of Perfect Mums: How To Survive the Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood

    When To Stop Breastfeeding

    1 year ago · · 0 comments · Sticky

    When To Stop Breastfeeding

    How To Accept When You Need To Stop Breastfeeding

    when to stop breastfeeding One of the most common issues new mothers face is the stress of knowing when to stop breastfeeding. The guilt associated with having to stop breastfeeding earlier than expected can be very debilitating to a mothers confidence. Breastfeeding is meant to be such a natural part of motherhood and we are told over and over again how important it is to breastfeed.

    However….the rules regarding when to stop breastfeeding keep changing!

    When I had my eldest daughter (now 10), the World Heath Organisation (WHO) recommended mothers to stop breastfeed babies from a minimum of 12 months – up to 2 years. However, it was not common for mothers to breastfeed past 12 months. I remember other mothers thinking I was a bit strange for continuing to breastfeed my baby at night to comfort her up to her 2nd birthday. Yet now, the recommendation has increased again. Now the WHO recommends mothers breastfeed up to 2 years and beyond.

    The Push To Breastfeed has led many mothers to feel stressed when they decide to stop breastfeeding

    when to stop breastfeeding It can be very stressful when you decide to stop breastfeeding. This may be the result of not having sufficient milk supply, you or your baby not enjoying breastfeeding, falling ill (ie mastitis) as a result of breastfeeding, your baby rejecting your milk, having to return to work and so on. It can be difficult for new mothers to reconcile having to stop breastfeeding. However, if you are unable to breastfeed (for whatever reason) the key things to focus on is the health and wellbeing of your child and yourself during this new phase of parenting.

    Having to accept when breastfeeding isn’t working

    I was shocked to find I did not produce anywhere near the same amount of milk I had produced for my first child. No matter how much breast pumping, herbal drops or food I ate, my second baby was not putting on enough weight. So I had to accept it was time to top up with formula. I really wanted to keep the closeness I really enjoyed during breastfeeding. So I start with breastfeeding and then finished with formula whilst she held on to the other breast for comfort.

    Despite other mothers and ‘experts’ telling me my baby would start to reject my breast, this never happened. She eventually moved to having just bottled formula during the day and breastfeeding for comfort at night. I personally wanted to continue this closeness, but the focus was 100% on what my child needed to be healthy. 100% breastmilk was not getting the job done the second time around. So once I accepted this fact, I knew it was time to stop breastfeeding. This led to a win-win for both of us.

    So, how do you know when to stop breastfeeding?

    The first things to ask yourself is: “Does my baby need more milk to be healthy?”

    If your baby’s needs are not being met with breastmilk, then it’s time to invest in a good quality milk formula. This way you ensure your baby’s health is your number 1 priority.

    Analysis of breastmilk versus formula

    Many years ago, there was a genuine argument for formula milk being significantly poorer quality than breastmilk. However, now there are particular brands of breastmilk that are very close to the real thing. So you don’t need to worry that your baby will be missing out on essential ingredients. On you’ll find their list of their ‘Best Baby Formulas of 2020’. Similac Advance Non-GMO with Iron and Earth’s Best Organic Dairy Infant Powder Formula with Iron are the two that top their list.

    Similac is made with HMO. HMO feeds good bacteria in the gut and contains nutrients to support brain development, eye health and developing cells.

    Earths Best is certified organic and non GMO and is designed to be as similar to breast milk as possible. It is also high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.

    What if my baby is not interested in the breast any more or isn’t satisfied with breastmilk alone?

    when to stop breastfeeding The primary focus of any parent needs to be on supporting the nutritional needs of your baby. One of the most common complaints of new mothers is baby’s biting them, mastitis, cracked/sore nipples, lack of interest from babies, or gagging on too much milk. These are important issues that need to be addressed.

    One of the keys to a happy baby when feeding, is a mother feeling calm and happy herself. Pain whilst breastfeeding is not conducive to a happy mother!

    There are many health professions such as lactation consultants that can support mothers who are having difficulty. However, if you have reached a point where you and your baby are just not happy, there is no reason to feel guilty or bad for swapping to good quality formula feeding.

    When bottle feeding try to ensure:

    • your bottles are always well sterilised
    • your milk is well prepared (eg test a drop on your arm to ensure its not too hot)
    • do not over dilute the formula
    • maintain the same regular nappy checks and maternal health checks to ensure your baby is gaining sufficient healthy weight
    • always leave home with enough formula so you can feed your baby when required

    What if I have to stop breastfeeding because I need to return to work?

    Whilst many work places are much more accommodating to breastfeeding in the office, it is not often practical for a mother to have a carer bring her baby into work in order to breastfeed, or to leave work a few times per day to feed her baby. If you can easily and quickly express milk for a carer to feed your baby, that’s great. However, if it’s becoming stressful, rethink how you can make your life easier and happier for you and your baby.

    Pumping breastmilk is an option, however, it us not always easy

    Personally, with my youngest child, I spent hours pumping to try to stimulate my breastmilk and I still never produced enough milk. So whilst pumping can be a great option, if it’s quick and easy. It can become very stressful if it takes too long and is painful.

    Switching to formula if pumping breastmilk is not an option makes sense in a number of cases. If you find yourself in this position, remember that your primary goal is to ensure your child grows up healthy and strong. The key is to ensure your baby is getting the nutrients required from a good quality formula and that you are both feeling happy and healthy.

    If possible, try to breastfeed up to 6 months of age

    The WHO highly recommends exclusively breastfeeding up to 6 months of age to achieve optimal growth, development and growth and protection from common childhood illness such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. So if you can keep the 6 month mark as your goal, that’s the ideal. However, this is not always possible. So if you find yourself in this position, look for a brand like Similac or Earth’s Best that will provide as close as possible nutrients for your baby.

    The key is to focus on your baby’s health, not on being the perfect mum. Take the guide of your health care professionals and seek help when you feel things are not working out the way you’d planned.

    If you are feeling distressed about deciding when to stop breastfeeding, make an appointment for a phone consultation or an in house visit to help for mums. You’ll be surprised what a talk to an expert can do for your confidence, happiness and health as a new mother.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums & Author of Perfect Mums

    2 years ago · · 0 comments

    How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – Today

    The 5 Key steps in How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy Today

    How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

    Step 1 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF CHANGE

    The first step to taking steps to learn how to stop complaining and be happy, is to trully believe that it is important to do so. So this is where we begin – comvincing you that your complaining is doing more harm than good.

    Negative behaviours and language actually change your brain structure – for the worse and the converse is true for positive habits. In depression for instance, where negative thinking becomes heightened, we start to see chemical changes in the brain that continue to alter the chemistry of the brain.

    “In depression, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the brain. It’s simply that the particular tuning of neural circuits creates the tendency toward a pattern of depression. It has to do with the way the brain deals with stress, planning, habits, decision making and a dozen other things — the dynamic interaction of all those circuits. And once a pattern starts to form, it causes dozens of tiny changes throughout the brain that create a downward spiral.”

    Alex Korb, Ph.D. ( author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time)

    Negative thinking, such as complaining, leads to more negative behaviours and a tendency to see the world around you more negatively. So, the more your complain, the more you will continue to complain – and the cycle goes on and on.

    In addition to the negative impact complaining will have on your brain chemistry, it can have a very detrimental impact on your relationships. Whilst it is important to speak up, perpetually complaining about things you cannot, or do not want to, change (e.g. world events, friends/partner’s behaviours, the weather) can lead to a lot of frustration. Friends will offer you support and understanding, but may also grow tired of your inaction if you continually complain about the same things without taking steps to improve your life.

    Step 2 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – MAKE A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE

    How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

    Now that you understand how important it is to learn how to stop complaining, you can decide “TODAY is the DAY I will stop”. It’s important to undertand there is a difference between venting your frustrations and asking for support AND perpetually complaining. The former is usually short-lived, whilst the latter is long lasting and very repetitive. To stop complaining, does not mean you become an annoying person who can show no empathy to others and pretends the world is perfect. To stop complaining, means changing your lens and focus.

    In order to change ANY behaviour, you need to make a commitment to stick to this change. Complaining is just a bad habit. Like eating too much junk food every afternoon, or avoiding exercise to watch television. You have rewired your brain to tap into negativity and to voice this negativity on a regular basis to others in the hope of getting support, or fostering more complaints.

    So decide right now you are going to become more conscious of your negative speak. Think before you begin a conversation and ask yourself, am I just complaining here? Common complaints you may recognise in yourself are things like:

    • “I’m so tired, I had the worse sleep last night”
    • “I’m sick of this cold weather”
    • “Did you see the news last night, wasn’t that story terrible”
    • “I hate my job”
    • “I can’t afford that, I don’t earn enough money”
    • “I can never wear anything I like”
    • “I’m sick of cleaning up after you”

    All these things may be legitimate, but if you voice them too regularly, you will feel that the world is a very negative place and your lens will perpetually be negative too. This means you will lose sight of the positive things in your life. You will miss the good things that are happening right in front of you.

    Step 3 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – PAYING ATTENTION

    How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

    One of the things I often ask my counselling clients to do, is to start paying attention to how they speak to themselves. A LOT of complaining occurs internally. For instance, you are rushing to get to work and someone is taking too long to turn in front of you. This causes you to miss the green light and you are delayed even more. What do you say to yourself in this moment? If you are like more people, you internal thoughts will go something like this:

    “you stupid idiot… where did you learn how to drive… I’m going to be so late now…. you can’t be scared on this road – you have to go for it, I’d be almost there now…”

    These are the moments when complaining becomes truly ingrained. It is in these moments that you need to catch yourself. When you hear these negative thoughts in your mind, think about ways you could reframe the situation and think more positively and reduce the complaining.

    In the example above where you have been delayed due to another driver, ask yourself if this REALLY is the reason you are late. The truth most likely is that you didn’t give yourself enough time this morning to get ready or you were delayed for some other reason. As a result you left the house late. The person in the car in front of you (whilst annoying), is not doing anything wrong really. He is just trying to be careful in order to avoid an accident. So you just need to calm down. Accept you are late and make sure you leave on time tomorrow to compensate for any possible delays like this on the road again.

    By reframing (with all true statements), you can difuse the complaints and start to reduce your internal tension.

    Step 4 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – LOOKING FOR THE POSITIVES

    How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy

    Comlaining leaves you with a negative filter. You tend to start looking for things to complain about and too easily join in with other people complains aswell. This makes it more challenging to focus on the positives around you. As a said before, you don’t want to be fake and pretend everything is great if it isn’t. However, you want to open your eyes to the wonderful things, people and opportunities that are happening all around you.

    Think about times when you have been upset by something someone said or did. How has this impacted your relationship with your children, friends, family or co-workers? Have you found it difficult to focus and be ‘fun’ in that moment? Most likely – YES. The key here is to put negative experiences aside until you can address them and be in the ‘now’. Be conscious not to allow negative impacts to affect other aspects of your life.

    Be on the look-out for positives. Watch your child play and be moved by their kind interactions with others. Catch a glimpse of a couple having a loving embrace. Really savour your morning treat and think about all the delicious flavours your comsuming. Appreciate your partner’s long hours at work as a reflection of trying to support your family. There are so many things to be happy about in this world, if we just pay more attention.

    I do think all the time. A simple thing like watching someone running for the bus and seeing the bus driver wait to collect this rushing passenger – makes my day. I think about how happy both parties will feed. The bus driver will feel good about doing something to help another human being. The passenger will be relieved and have a good-news story to tell when she arrives to work that day. It has nothing to do with me, but I can take positives from that and allow it to improve my own mood. It’s simply, but very effective.

    Step 5 How To Stop Complaining And Be Happy – BE MINDFUL

    Mindfulness is a huge part of stopping to complain. It places you in the moment and draws your attention to the little joys in life. A simple mindfulness practice in the shower each morning can start yourday off on the right path.

    Stand in the shower for a moment and focus on the drops of water as they touch your skin. Close your eyes and feel the warmth of the water as drips down. Listen to the water falling onto the tiles. Open your mouth and taste a few drops. Place your hand out to feel the drops as they caress your fingers.

    It only takes a few minutes, but it allows you to concentrate on the positives of a simply daily task. It quietens your mind. It does not take any extra time – you have to shower anyway. However, it has a hug impact on your positive mood, stress levels and how much you will complain that day.

    There are lots of places you can be mindful that do not take up extra time in your day. You can focus when washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or combing your hair. Just think about all that involved in each process and allow yourself to be fully present in that moment.

    So take this 5 step challenge to learn how to stop complaining and be happy today. You will see the positive impact this has on your life immediately.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

    Author or Refresh Your Life and Perfect Mums: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood

    2 years ago · · 0 comments

    Parenting Support: Stop The Advice You Never Asked For

    Parenting Support Doesn’t Have to Come With A Dollop of ‘Expert Advice’


    After many years working as a professional therapist, I’ve come to the realization that people often provide advice and recommendations based on what THEY THINK you need, or believe your SHOULD do, rather than on what you actually want or need. Parents often come to me for parenting supporting to help deal with this issue which often becomes pronounced once you have a baby.

    As a parent, it is common to complain about how stressful, exhausted or upset you feel today. However, this often results in those close you wondering how they can help you, even if you have not asked for help! It also occurs out of judgement. For example, someone offers you help with your parenting, based on how well they think their parenting is going. they start to play the martyr. They may think “if only you would act like me, or do as I do. I have to take over or intervene, your life would be so much better.” I hear this a lot when it comes to children sleeping. Often when you have children that go to sleep easily, you assume your sleep methods will work for every child, but this simply is NOT the case.

    This has really bothered many parents for years. It is quite stressful when people close to you decide to give you unsolicited advice. It is not always easy to say “NO THANK-YOU”, without offending those who believe they are helping you.

    Parenting Support From Unwelcome ‘Experts’ Can Lead to Resentment

    parenting-support-talking couple

    Whilst it is easy to get angry and resentful when receiving unsolicited advice, I have come to realise that we need to take some of the blame. Personally, I know I have complained about things I didn’t want advice on, just needing to vent, especially when I’ve been tired. I have also agreed or gone overboard putting myself down or talked about my own misfortunes in an attempt to make someone else feel better.

    Have you ever heard yourself saying things like “I get it, this also happened to me and it was even worse”. It is very common to say things like this to try to convey deeper empathy, but in the process of doing this, you can also portray a very negative perspective of yourself – as if your life is full of negativity and drama. You then by default tend to imply that these stories only portray a very small part of my life.

    I have left conversations feeling frustrated and annoyed with myself for doing this, because I know this opens me up to receiving advice I am NOT searching for! But…sometimes we need to learn the hard way…

    People LOVE To Be Problem Solvers When Providing Parenting Support

    parenting-support-friends talking

    People love to be problem-solvers. The problem with this, is that often people are giving advice, when really all you want is someone to just listen. In the busy world we live in, you are often seeing people in spurts. During these spurts you are likely to be having a few issues, but this is NOT a reflection of your life overall. These same people are not likely to see you straight after the millions of wonderful experiences you have had in your life. You are also unlikely to talk about all the great things in your life, for fear you might be seen as boasting.

    Your friends are unlikely to hear about the moment you:

    • receive a promotion at work
    • are surprised by your child cuddling you or saying “I love you”
    • receive a bunch of flowers from your partner or a close friend
    • are told your parents are proud of you
    • complete a challenging course
    • break your Personal Best record playing sport
    • prepare a delicious meal for the first time from your new recipe book
    • sort things out with the person you were upset with this morning

    Are You Engaging In Bad Conversational Habits That May Be Confused For A Request For Parenting Support?

    parenting support -talking women

    It is very easy to get into bad habits with close friends. You may naturally fall into the trap of complaining with them or avoiding telling them about your personal wins (especially if they are going through a hard time).

    Whilst you don’t want to boast, there is a real downside to doing this. You WILL provide a very skewed and often negative picture of yourself. You will also get frustrated when you receive advice you didn’t ask for. For example, if you are a tired parent who is co-sleeping with your child, you are likely to receive advice over and over again about why you should STOP co-sleeping, when all you really want is someone to just give you a hug, listen or tell you it won’t last forever. You may also just want someone to ask “is there anything you need to help get through this tired time?”

    Choose your support network

    We all need to vent from time to time, so chose who you vent to wisely. Choose friends who can just listen without passing judgement and without trying to fix things. At the very least make a point of saying you are not looking for solutions, you just need to vent.

    Balance your conversations

    Make sure you are also telling others of your ‘wins’. This is where your friends get to know the ‘real’ you and can see that whilst things may be difficult in one area, life is pretty great in other areas. Before you meet people to have a chat, think about the person you want to project. By all means get support from others, but just be mindful of letting others know when you really want their help.

    If you have deeper issues to discuss, it would be best to save these conversations for a professional therapist who is trained in helping you resolve this issues without judgement.

    Parenting Support – Your Personal Reminder

    Place a big reminder of your wall at home, or in your phone that says DON’T COMPLAIN TO EVERYONE & SHARE POSITIVE STORIES TOO. Focussing on the times in your life when things are going well, is also a personal reminder that life is balanced. Ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to start a conversation by saying “I’m not looking for advice, just an ear today”

    Author: Lizzie O’Halloran, Counsellor/Life Coach, Author & Motivational Speaker

    2 years ago · · 0 comments · Sticky

    How To Save Time In Daily Life – TOP 3 TRICKS & TIPS

    how to save time in daily life - time
    Top 3 tips for saving time

    One of the most common complaints in modern life and particularly from mothers is – “Why don’t I have enough time to do all the things I really need to do in my day?” The question on most people’s minds is how to save time in daily life. It’s a common complaint of both stay-at-home and working mothers. Mothers often feel exhausted by the magnitude of their daily tasks and feel like they don’t stop all day. However, many mums go to bed wondering why they still can’t get through their to-do lists. Can you relate to this?

    It Doesn’t Have to be This Way. Here are my Top 3 Tips To Save Time & Regain Your Valuable Hours

    Tip 1: How To Save Time In Daily Life – INVEST IN THE BEST GADGETS

    How to save time in daily life, time saving gadgets
    Save time with these brilliant devices

    Gadget 1: Dodow – Sleep Aid Time Saving Device

    Adults need between seven to nine hours of good quality sleep per night for optimum health and function. However, most women (approximately 60%) fall short of this and most mothers get even less. Poor quality sleep leads to poorer memory, high stress, reduced productivity, loss of focus and concentration (in addition to all the negative health consequences of prolonged lack of sleep). So can you imagine how much more efficient you would be if you invested in good quality sleep? This is where the Dodow comes in. According to the developers of Dodow, this compact device aims to retrain your brain to fall asleep. It achieves this through slow rhythmic light, scientifically designed to quickly quiet your mind, slow your breathing and relax your body.

    Gadget 2: Braava Jet Robotic Floor Cleaner – Cleaning Time Saving Device

    How much time do you spend cleaning the floor, particularly cleaning up after meals and playtime? Mothers often don’t realise how much time they spend tidying up (on top of the actual house cleaning). Whilst it’s important to have a clean and tidy home, mothers often guilt themselves into cleaning and tidying every spare moment they have. This leave little time to achieve the really important tasks on your to-do list.

    Obsessive cleaning can also become a habit and can actually become a way to avoid other tasks that seem stressful or overwhelming. This is where the Braava Jet Robotic Floor Cleaner can really save time. The creators of this cleaner state that it cleans the floors for you. You simply pour water into the jet, attach a cleaning pad, place it on the floor, and press play. This means you can still maintain your tidy home without having to feel guilty or wasting your precious time.

    Gadget 3: The Morning App – How To Get Organised Time Saving Device

    The Morning App is a cheap and easy quick-win time saving gadget for mothers. It shows you all your most important items at a quick glance, such as the weather, traffic, calendar, headlines, and tasks that must be completed today. It’s customizable to meet your specific needs and will help to keep you focussed throughout the day and avoid procrastination.

    TIP 2: How To Save Time In Daily Life – SET PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

    How to save time in daily life, prioritise your life

    If you’re like most busy mums, you probably have a running to-do list constantly spinning through your mind. The problem with this list, however, is that it is never-ending. It leaves mothers feeling like constant failures because the list just grows from day to day and there never seems to be enough time to get everything done.

    The key to saving time, is to take a few moments out of your day and look at everything on your to-do list. Divide this list into things you can delegate, things that can wait until later and things you have to do yourself (or that you would like to do). Then being realistic about the amount of time you have available set aside and commit to specific times in your diary to complete the most urgent tasks. Make sure you physically tick these items off your list and celebrate any wins whenever you can. This way you will also become much more conscious of all the great things you are achieving throughout your day.

    TIP 3: How To Save Time In Daily Life – MASTER YOUR THOUGHTS

    how to save time in daily life time saving negative thinking
    Save time by reducing negative thinking

    According to psychologists, human beings have around 40,000 negative thoughts per day. These negative thoughts weigh you down and can lead to lethargy, procrastination, depression, stress and anxiety. Negative thinking is the killer of productivity. The worst part of negative thinking is that it is much more powerful than positive thinking – in terms of brain chemistry. In order to regain control over your day, it is imperative that you pay close attention to your thinking styles and how they might be impacting on your self esteem. There are many self-help strategies for reducing negative thoughts and boosting more positive ones.

    Question your negative thoughts

    One of the most powerful technique is to question your thoughts in the moment. For example, recently a client mentioned she was finding herself obsessed with making friends (being noticed) by a famous parent in her son’s sporting club. She began to get anxious before her son’s games, just in case she might see the famous parent. Her mood would be dependent on whether or not he spoke to her at the weekly game. She would spend hours thinking about what might happen at each game and what she could wear, or say to the famous parent to make him notice her.

    What’s behind your thinking?

    We spoke a lot about what was underlying this obsession. What was really going on here? Why did she feel she needed this famous person’s approval? She realised she was basing her own self-esteem on whether or not she was popular and liked. Being friend’s with a famous person made her feel important. This was the key point.

    how to save time in daily life - controlling negative thoughts

    She soon realised this was NOT the best way to boost her self esteem. In fact, she realised this pseudo-friendship had no bearing on her self-worth. The next week, she stopped herself every time she thought about the famous parent. At eat point she would remind herself that she was attending games to support her son and she wanted her friendships to be based on mutual respect. She focussed on what was really important to her and allowed her true self to shine through and grow as a result.


    how to save time in daily life - rushing
    Value your time and make it work for you

    Try putting even one of these time saving techniques into practice this week. Test how much time you can regain in your life. You will be surprised at how much more efficient and productive your can be.

    Author: Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac. Founder of Happy Life & Help For Mums. Author of Perfect Mums: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood AND Refresh Your Life: 30 Day Revolutionary Weight Loss Program

    2 years ago · · 0 comments

    Dealing with Anxiety In Motherhood

    Dealing with Anxiety In Motherhood – How Well Do You Cope?

    Dealing with Anxiety In MotherhoodAnxiety is common in motherhood

    Being a mother and a therapist, I would have to say one of the most common emotions I observe in mothers is anxiety. Dealing with anxiety in motherhood is a very common struggle. Anxiety begins in pregnancy and often never leaves a mother, because with motherhood comes the worry, stress and concern for your child’s safety, wellbeing, security and happiness.

    There are many stages of motherhood that lend themselves to anxiety. For instance, when a new baby arrives, you can begin to feel anxious about looking after this fragile new person who depends on you for survival. It is natural after birth to have anxieties, however, if these anxieties become debilitating, then there is a real risk to yourself, your child and your loved ones.

    What is the difference between worry and anxiety?

    General worry and stress disappear once you regain control and no longer feel fearful. A good example of this is feeling anxious the first time you have to present a speech at work, but after giving speeches several times, you now feel comfortable when asked to prepare a presentation. However, if this anxiety does not dissipate over time and you find yourself dealing with increasing anxiety, the anxiety then can become debilitating.

    Beyond Blue defines anxiety as

    … when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.

    The key elements in anxiety are:

    • the inability to control the anxiety
    • their ongoing nature
    • occurring at any time

    Dealing with Anxiety In MotherhoodAnxiety can occur at any time and for any particular reason. Anxiety is also often linked with depression and low self esteem. In motherhood anxiety can often become debilitating because mothers often try to cope with anxious feelings alone. New mothers also often report being embarrassed or ashamed to admit they are not coping. This can lead to further anxiety – trying to become the perfect mother.

    Here are just some of the common issues mothers report feeling anxious about:

    • a child becoming sick
    • children doing well enough in school
    • financial stress
    • relationship pressures
    • whether children are eating the right foods
    • lack of time
    • being about to manage the daily to-do lists
    • having a messy home
    • ageing parents
    • buying a bigger home
    • being able to afford a good school
    • keeping children safe
    • cyber bullying
    • meeting external expectations
    • what others might think of them

    and the list goes on and on….

    So you can see, how easy it is for mothers to become anxious, particularly if you as a mother are prone to anxiety, or you have experienced anxiety in the past.

    Developing effective coping strategies for dealing with anxiety in motherhood is imperative to your health and the health of your loved ones

    dealing with anxiety in motherhoodYou may have gone through life finding ways to just cope with anxiety symptoms, such as a racing heart, sweaty palms and rapid breathing. There are ways to control these physical symptoms of anxiety. Many people seek medical help for anxiety in the form of anti-anxiety medication. Whilst medication has it’s place, it is important to understand that medication only masks the underlying issues causing anxiety. Taken over prolonged periods of time, these drugs can also result in difficulty when trying to come off the drug – the anxiety reappears. As with any drug, there are also side-effects that you need to seriously consider. If you are looking for a product to take to support your anxiety, try a herbal remedy. For instance, Herbario in Melbourne Australia has a variety of herbal elixirs to support many mental and health conditions – including anxiety reduction drops.

    So what are better solutions for dealing with anxiety in motherhood?

    Dealing with mental stress

    Often anxiety develops out of a fear of getting into trouble, being disapproved of or not liked. In such cases, the key is to challenge the negative thoughts.

    Ask yourself:

    a) are my thoughts rationale (e.g. it’s natural to be nervous before presenting, but I can relax because I know my topic really well)

    b) how would I cope if my fears became a reality? (e.g. If I get asked a ‘hairy’ question, I can deflect and say that I’ll get back to the person with the right information. Further, if I forget what I’m saying, I have my notes to refer to. If people in the audience are bored, I can walk closer to them to re-engage them, or choose that moment to start an exercise to get them more involved)

    This type of anxiety is trying to prevent you from getting hurt so it has it’s purpose. It helps you to decide whether a behaviour is worth the risk. However, often this fear extends way beyond what is healthy. So you need to question it.

    Dealing with physical stress

    Dealing with Anxiety In MotherhoodWhen your body becomes anxious (often due to mental stress), your body reacts in a physical manner. It sends signals to the brain that it’s time to get out of this situation to protect yourself from harm. Your body begins to react in order to push you to do something. If you just try to push through the anxiety, you can often become more stressed the moment you notice these physical signs taking shape.

    During bouts of short term stress, there are quick and easy things you can do to reduce these physical reactions, such as a increased heartrate, sweaty palms and shortness of breath. The key is to find the method that works quickest for you.

    Try some of these methods to see how quickly you can reduce your physical signs of stress:

    • Take a moment to stop and breathe in and out slowly to reduce your heartrate
    • Engage in physical activity to shake out the stress
    • Close your eyes and visualise yourself performing or coping well with your stressful situation
    • Talk to the person who is causing you stress, to clear the air

    Anxiety is a natural physical and mental reaction. So it’s important to not berate yourself for being stressed. Your aim is to allow your anxiety to be there as a sign to help you and then manage your emotions accordingly. Instead of getting stressed about feeling anxious, ask yourself why you are having this reaction and get to the bottom of it. Try not to mask your feelings and you will have a much happier, healthy and fulfilling life.


    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

    Author of Perfect Mums: How To Survive The Emotional Rollercoaster of Motherhood & Refresh Your Life: 30 Day Motivational Weightloss Program

    3 years ago · · 0 comments

    How To Stop Feeling Guilty In Your Relationships

    Stop Feeling Guilty – The 5 Steps Everyone Should Know

    stop feeling guiltyGuilt is a funny emotion. It should only be used as a barometer to gauge when you have done something to hurt another and the behaviour needs to be rectified or apologised for. A good example of this, is when you break a promise to a loved one and you have deliberately hurt that person’s feelings. The ‘guilt’ emotion was designed to provide you with empathy. This way you can evaluate your behaviours and maintain healthy relationships. However, guilt is often misused as a self-punishment mechanism or to manipulate others into doing things. Guilt becomes very debilitating – hence why there is a STRONG desire to stop feeling guilty wherever possible.

    Thus, guilt is often misused in modern life. People feel guilty for EVERYTHING. Just today I was in a meeting and a colleague was saying she felt so guilty for being sick and forgetting to water her plants. Does this really warrant strong feelings of guilt? It’s a nice quality to want to ensure the livelihood of a plant. Though punishing herself and feeling like a bad person as a result of being too unwell to think to ask someone to water a plant for her, seems excessive to me. The guilt is NOT serving any purpose here, other than to make her feel bad about herself.

    When you deliberately or unintentionally hurt someone, guilt should serve to provide you with remorse and to find ways to question why you engaged in this hurtful behaviour. It also serves as a way of evaluating what you can do to appease the situation and move forward. It should not be used as a way to manipulate or self punish.

    Guilt is also often misused in relationships

    Within a relationship, you may find yourself wracked with guilt over the most minor things. Often in private practice we see people desperately trying to find ways to stop feeling guilty, because it’s ruining their relationships.

    Guilt is worthwhile if it serves to enhance, soothe or improve your relationships. However, guilt often eats at your self esteem and consequently results in unhelpful or destructive behaviours. This is particularly the case when others are placing unreasonable demands on you – playing on your propensity to feel guilty. Imagine, a partner who makes a wife feel guilty every time she puts her needs first, or when she wants to say “no” to yet ANOTHER request. The wife learns to give in just to keep the peace and stop feeling guilty, for fear she may upset her partner. In this example, usually, guilt is used as a manipulation tool in order to get what the partner wants.

    So, how do you stop feeling guilty in your relationships?

    Step 1: How to stop feeling guilty – Evaluate if the request in unreasonable

    stop feeling guiltyFirst of all, you need to evaluate if the request is unreasonable. We see from an early age children saying to each other “if you don’t do what I ask of you, I won’t be your friend any more”.

    Already guilt is being laid on very thick from an early age! Children learn incorrectly, that saying “no”, or making someone unhappy leads to being un-liked or unloved. This very poor lesson stays with most people throughout life.


    So, it’s much healthier to unlearn this childhood lesson by first asking yourself:

    a) am I saying “no” because I really don’t want to do this?

    b) am I saying “no” because this request clashes with another commitment?

    c) am I saying “no” because I am not in the mood right now?

    e) is the request fair?

    Answering these questions will give you a glimpse into why you are saying “yes” in the first place.

    Step 2: How to stop feeling guilty – Assess your intentions

    In order to stop feeling guilty it’s important to look at your intentions. Using the example above, my colleague’s intention was not to starve her plant. Her intention at the time was to improve her health. So guilt was not appropriate. It would have been more appropriate to feel disappointment and to accept that in her ‘sick’ state she could not possibly have expected herself to remember everything.

    Her intention in that moment was NOT to hurt the plant. Her intention was to get better. Therefore, she can rationalise that she did not starve her plant deliberately and next time she will remind herself to simply ask others for help.

    stop feeling guilty

    Step 3: How to stop feeling guilty – Question the outcome

    Ask yourself whether or not you have done something to hurt someone else. This is very different from asking yourself whether someone will be MAD at you for not adhering to their requests. It is important to be supportive in relationships. So there will be times when you don’t really feel like doing something, but you do it anyway, because you know it will help someone you love. Being there to support someone in need produces feel-good hormones and this further enhances your relationship. However, there needs to be reciprocal support within a relationship.

    If your loved ones begin to take advantage of your kind personality and expect you to do more and more, you may begin to feel guilty every time you feel like saying “no”. This is a good example of when it is appropriate for you to think about whether or not saying “no” has hurt the other person, is has just caused a tantrum. Look at the request at hand.

    Examples requests where you are likely to hurt a loved one if you say “no” or do not try to appease the situation/ find an alternative solution:

    a) picking up a loved one from hospital or the airport after a long trip

    b) making little attempts to be present for milestone moments (eg graduations, awards, plays, tournaments, parties)

    c) not helping a loved one in times of real need

    stop feeling guiltyExamples of where you are likely to be bullied into saying “yes”

    a) you are about to go out for dinner with close friends and your son calls to ask you to cancel everything because he doesn’t feel like being alone right now

    b) your child begins to cry because she wants to eat ice cream for the 3rd time this week

    c) your boss asks you to stay back at work again, knowing you have an important event to attend with your family that evening


    It is really important to be able to look at what is going on behind requests and to really question whether you are going to hurt someone else for saying “no”, or whether you are going to appease a bit of bullying or neediness.

    Step 4: How to stop feeling guilty – Stand up for your rights

    Ask yourself, do I have a right to say “no” here? This is probably the most important question to ask yourself in order to reduce guilt. As I mentioned above, there will always be compromise in relationships, however, you have a right to say “no” to something when a request:

    • does not feel right
    • clashes with your values
    • causes you or someone else to be hurt
    • is not feasible with your current time constraints
    • is unreasonable

    stop feeling guiltyStep 5: How to stop feeling guilty – Appeasing the hurt

    You are human. There are going to be times when you snap, or misjudge things. There will be times when you have to make difficult decisions that will hurt another person. In these circumstances it is very important for the health of your relationship, to look at ways to appease the hurt. For instance, let’s say you have been asked to be a bridesmaid by your husband’s best friend’s fiancé. However, your husband has been excluded from the bridal party and is very upset about this.

    In this scenario, you have two choices to make. First – say “yes” and hurt your husband further. Second – say “no” and disappoint your fiancé who is also a good friend. This is a very difficult situation. Either way someone gets hurt. Whichever selection you decide on, it’s important to explain your choice and do what you can to appease the hurt. Be gentle and kind and accept that you will not be able to please everyone.

    Another example of hurt feelings could be yelling at your child when you’re tired. Instead of feeling guilty and punishing yourself about this. Learn from it, explain to your child the way you displayed your anger was not appropriate and say sorry for yelling. You can still say you had a right to be upset if that is appropriate, but appease the hurt that would come from you overreacting. This way your child learns his actions were not the best BUT he is NOT a bad person. By doing this, you separate the individual from the behaviour too.

    So just to recap

    The 5 Steps To Stop Feeling Guilty:

    1. Evaluate if the request in unreasonable

    2. Assess your intentions

    3. Question the outcome

    4. Stand up for your rights

    5. Appease the hurt

    By taking note of these four steps you will stop feeling guilty very quickly. You will also ensure that you protect your self esteem which is vital for the overall health and success of your relationships long term.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, Author of Perfect Mum & Refresh Your Life books


    3 years ago · · 0 comments

    Good Parenting Advice – The No.1 Thing Every Parent Should Know

    Are you engaging in good parenting?

    Good ParentingThis question of ‘good parenting’ is a common one every parent asks themselves from time to time. As a parent of a child (of any age), you can quickly begin to doubt your parenting skills when you hear the latest parenting news that contradicts what you thought you were doing well. For instance, your parents were most likely taught to sleep a new baby on it’s tummy. However we now know this is dangerous and SIDS advice is to sleep a baby on it’s back to avoid the potential for sudden infant cot death.

    So how do you know if you’re doing a good job?


    Besides the basics of ensuring your child is safe, secure, healthy and happy, there is one key ingredient to effective parenting

    The No.1 Thing All Parenting Should Know Is How To Parenting With Consistency (including learning from mistakes & starting again)

    Consistency has two elements:

    1. Being consistent with your parenting approach
    2. Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

    Let’s break these down a little further

    Being consistent with your parenting approach

    Good ParentingOne of the most important (yet challenging) aspects of being a parent is being consistent. Consistency provides security and boundaries for children and helps them to develop healthy self esteems that are not dictated by your moods. When you parent inconsistently, your child becomes very insecure and riddled with self-doubt. This outcome of inconsistent parenting is often seen in older children who find it very stressful to make decisions, out of fear of making a mistake.

    Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your child’s ‘pester power’, your moods, your child’s moods and the influence of others – all can impact on your ability to parent consistently. Children have a way of finding a parents weak spot and pestering until you let go – often after a few minutes of arguing. This behaviour of course makes being consistent a BIG challenge for parents.

    You may have decided to be a calm, rational and reasonable parent, who is supportive and caring to your child. But… how does this parenting style hold up against a tantrum in public? How do you remain calm when you’re exhausted from work, or you’ve had a really bad day? These are the times when it is really hard to be consisten and yelling or raising your voice can become the norm. Contrary to your explicit desire to be calm and rational with your children. So what’s the answer?

    The key to being consistent in your parenting style is trusting in yourself and in your methods of parenting. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be a consistent parenting when you have low self esteem.

    Let’s say, one very hot afternoon, you finish work, pick up your child from school and decide to buy her an icy pole on the way home from school. You enter the service station store and she asked to have an ice cream. You are concerned about her recent weight gain, so you say “no” and offer her the icy pole again. She continues to pester you and begins to stamp her feet and get angry with you when you won’t give in. This scenario could go a number of ways:

    Scenario 1: You ignore the tantrum. You continue to calmly ask her if she would like an icy pole. You finally tell her if she doesn’t want the icy pole, you’re happy to leave with nothing. She finally calms down and takes the icy pole. Later when things calm down you explain that her behaviour was not respectful and ruined a nice gesture from you. Next time, you hope she can be more gracious. She apologises and you move on.

    Scenario 2: You get angry over the tantrum. You start yelling at her and telling her she is being very disrespectful and selfish. She responds by saying you don’t care about her and only think about yourself. You start to feel guilty for saying “no”. You give in to the tantrum and buy her the ice cream. She is so happy, but you feel terrible for giving in to something you things is unhealthy for her. She has also learnt to just keep pestering you until you feel guilty and cave in.

    You can only engage in Scenario 1 when you feel self confident and self assured in your parenting decisions. If you feel doubtful or insecure, then you will give in when your child hits the right note!

    Tweaking things when your approach isn’t having the desired outcome

    Good ParentingThere will be times when you are consistently trying an approach to parenting, but it just isn’t working. As a result, it’s making you frustrated and causing you to derail your  desired parenting style. For instance, let’s say you have decided that your child should be in bed by 8:30pm every night (unless it cannot be avoided). Your method of getting your child to bed is by providing a routine you follow every night. However, when it comes to ‘lights out’, your child begins to perk up. Every night is takes longer and longer to get your child to sleep and you end up having to yell to get him to sleep. By this time it’s ridiculously late and you all wake up emotional and tired the next day.

    Believe it or not, many parents will just continue with a routine like this that isn’t working, because they believe the method MUST be right. Yet all children are NOT the same. When a consistent parenting approach isn’t working, it’s time to tweak something so that you get the desired outcome without having to get upset. In this example, a reward chart could work really well, or a written list of things to do before bed might work. This way your child can physically be involved in the routine. You could trial different methods until you found the one that worked best. Then be consistent in your parenting approach with this new approach.

    So, there you having it. The No.1 good parenting tip for all parents is to learn how to be consistent and to tweak this consistency as needed for your specific child.

    Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

    Author of Perfect Mums & Refresh Your Life