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Is time-out better than the naughty step?


So is ‘Time-out’ any better than the ‘Naughty step’? 

Firstly, I am against the naughty step for a number of reasons –

It gives the child the label ‘naughty’ and kids live up to a negative label. Even if you describe it as ‘naughty behaviour’ what they hear is ‘I’m a naughty girl/boy’ which you don’t want them to feel about themselves.

The vast majority of kids won’t actually stay on the step when you leave them there, so then you’ve got an extra problem. Not only are you trying to make them repent about what they’ve done but you have to try and force them to stay on the step as well.

When children misbehave it is driven by an emotion (you may not understand what that emotion is and it can be so dumbfounding.  Why do they seem, out of the blue, to do the opposite to what they’ve been asked?  But an emotion will be there. So if you don’t address the...

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I hate you right now!

It is so easy to get into petty squabbles that turn into full blown fights and before we know it, it can get nasty.

My husband Paul and I have been married 24 years – I know, that seems like a lifetime!

We’ve navigated four children through years of breastfeeding, nappy changing, broken nights, tantrums (actually teenagers are capable of a few tantrums so we aren’t through that yet!), sibling squabbles, long dreary weekends..

That's not to mention over the years.. house renovations, redundancy, moving home, financial stress and we’ve made it so far and are still together – it amazes me sometimes.

Have we felt moments of utter loathing for each other? Yes!

Have we had humdingers of arguments? You bet.

Do we bitch at each other and blame the other one for our children’s poor behaviour?  Absolutely.

So this week’s blog is about how to stick it out, not kill or punch each other and how to maintain a (mostly) harmonious relationship which,...

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What happened to Ed and Jenna

client stories Oct 22, 2020

In this week’s blog I’m going to tell you about my clients Jenna and Ed who did my Tailored Support Package private sessions with me. It is such privilege to do the work. Every client is special to me and I get such pleasure from helping them transform their family life.


Jenna and Ed’s life was really typical of a busy working couple with two small kids. They have two little boys close in aged 2 and 3 years and before we met, life was pretty miserable. The boys were constantly fighting with each other, they would have tantrums in public, they threw their toys around, refused to eat at the table and one of them was waking in the night and screaming so loud that he woke his brother. Consequently Jenna and Ed were not only stressed about the kids but also sleep deprived and constantly on edge.

Ed told me that he had been grabbing Jamie roughly and he’d smacked Joe a few times when he’d been really rude and rough with his brother.

They really...

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10 ways to increase your child's self-belief

I just heard the inspirational speaker James Shone who founded 'I can and I am' a charity that inspires children (and adults) to focus on what they can do, not on their weaknesses.   James was inspired by the psychologist Carole Dwek who writes extensively about growth mindset. She says we need to help our children see that change takes place over time and that the effort they make is what will pay off. We need to show them that skills are learnt and that they come from working hard. If children are lead to believe that 'natural talent' is what they need, then they become reluctant to try at things if they aren't immediately good at them. I was inspired to compile a list of 10 things we can do as parents to help children thrive. So here are some things you can do to help your child develop. 

  1. Notice and mention the small steps they make to improve. Don't wait for the end result. 
  2. Give them small areas of responsibility 'You have strong...
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How do I deal with poo problems?

As a potty training consultant, one of the questions I get asked the most from frustrated parents is "why can't I get my child to poo on the potty?'

I was in this position many years ago with my second child and it drove my husband and me to distraction.

We took a very long time to figure out our son Felix, the process was extremely stressful and took away a lot of the joy of parenting him. He was a challenging but adorable little boy and we approached it in the wrong way, blaming him and getting cross. Having found the way to unlock solutions to the problem, I've since had a mission to help other parents.

Firstly, you need to know that as a parent IT ISN'T YOUR FAULT - let's just get this straight and take the finger of blame out of the equation.

I get so many people coming to me wracked with guilt that they have failed as a parent because their child does one of these things. Do any sound familiar to you?

My child:

  • Is fine with wees but will hide in a corner or...
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Guess how much I love you?

Uncategorized Oct 07, 2020


Do you ever read the book 'Guess how much I love you?' - we used to read it a lot to our kids. It's such a beautiful story.

Kids thrive on predictability and rituals - which is why the love like the same books and the same bedtime routines. It makes them feel safe and secure.

The other thing that makes them feel secure is when we express our love to them in different ways than just saying 'I love you'

I was asked on instagram this week what are good phrases to say to our children to make their self-esteem grow and to have them know just how much we love them.

So here is a list - try a couple each day. You'll be amazed how much it can deepen your connection,. A child who feels connected with us and loved unconditionally will be less likely to misbehave.

  1. When you were at school today I thought about you a lot

  2. When you give me a big hug, it makes me the happiest...
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Getting a meaningful sorry from a reluctant child

saying sorry Sep 30, 2020

Have you been in the situation where your child digs their heels in and refuses to say sorry?

This situation is usually worse when it is in front of another parent, a grandparent or worse still a teacher. 

You get a refusal or they say 'sorrreeeee', with no meaning in it at all. This feels almost worse than nothing.

We all want children to admit when they've done wrong and show some kind of remorse.

So what can you do about it when they refuse or sound so insincere?

When a child has done something wrong they almost always know it and we really don’t need to hammer it home by telling them how bad they’ve been.

But how will they ever learn I hear you ask? 

They learn when they feel understood and you look beyond the behaviour to see what is causing it. They also learn when they are helped to take responsibility and make amends and aren't shamed into saying sorry when they don't really mean it.

So here are some ways to help

  • You might need to remove your child...
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I wanted to make him cry

guilt and shame Sep 23, 2020

I talked in last week’s blog about the guilt we feel as parents.

What I didn’t mention is the tactic we so often use which is to try to make our kids feel guilt or shame. Wanting to make our kids feel bad for what they’ve done. We even want to make them cry to ensure they've understood how 'bad' they've been.  I remember trying that when my kids were little.

We wind up saying things like:

‘You’ve made me cry’

‘No one will play with you if you act like that’

‘You’ve been so bad, I don’t want to be near to you’

‘No one else wears nappies in your class except you’

'Why can't you be nice like your brother'

We do this because we want our kids to take note and stop the behaviour. We want them to be mindful of others needs and feelings – especially ours.

But does it work?

I know that if I take action out of guilt or shame, it doesn’t feel good.

We want our children to KNOW how to make...

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I always feel so guilty

mum guilt Sep 16, 2020


So many parents find themselves consumed by guilt. They often tell me they've felt guilty from pregnancy onwards 'Should I have had the odd glass of wine and soft cheese? Is that why my toddler is so aggressive?'

Do you find the minute you add ‘Should’ you back yourself into a corner?

I do

It’s everywhere – ‘I should be more patient’,  ‘I shouldn’t shout’,  ‘I should spend more time playing with my kids’

Then there are the shoulds about our child:
‘He shouldn’t watch so much TV’
'She should be potty trained by now'
‘She should just eat what’s there and not complain’
and we think ‘Nobody else has this problem. It must be because I’m a bad parent’ – and at that point we open the door and let guilt step right in.

Guilt is a terrible, useless emotion suffered by so many of us. I have spent many years working on myself to alleviate those awful...

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Helping kids handle mistakes

When kids make mistakes, we feel so frustrated and usually say something like:




So how should we respond?

They have to learn don’t they?

I often think about how I respond when I make a mistake.  Sometimes I get defensive and try to blame someone else – my husband usually (!). 

Sometimes I feel such shame and frustration about the mistake that I just don’t know what to do.

Other times I dig my heels in and refuse to even acknowledge that it is a mistake.

What we all really want to do is to accept we made a mistake, learn from it and move on.

This process isn’t an easy one though.

From my many years as a parent and from studying and working in the field of parenting, I know that how we handle our kids mistakes is absolutely crucial to a child’s healthy...

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