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Dinner conversations with Dad

Ever sat around the dinner table and wondered what questions you could ask your dad to really find out more about him?
Remember all families have been through good and bad times. There were many years before you were born that your Dad had a life probably very different to the life we all have today. Find out, you might be pleasantly suprised.

Experience, Knowledge and History

Through it all there is a wealth of experience, knowledge and history that can be explored with pre-thought crafted questions to get the conversation started. Good questions can be fun and they can also help create bonds and show that there is something larger that themselves.

Below are questions that could be written/printed onto cards and taken to your next family dinner, or even on your next zoom call if you don’t catch up for dinners? Its a good idea to pre-warn your dad so that they can weave their answers to demonstrate that they have travelled a road that has had pebbles and rocks but in the end it worked out through good decision making to show the younger generation listening that you have resilience and come through it well or at least ok.

Table Questions:

  1. How many houses have you lived in over you life so far?
  2. What do you remember about those houses you lived in as a child? Which one did you like the best and why?
  3. How did you cope without internet? What do you love about having internet today?
  4. Has there been a family member who has been a good life coach? and why?
  5. What was your favourite book, TV show, Movie when you were my age?
  6. Tell me about a family reunion or family party that you remember attending when you were a child?
  7. Was there a favourite story that your grandfather or grandmother told you as a child? Tell us
  8. What was the most embarrassing thing that your mum or Dad did to you?
  9. What were the best memories you had as a child on holidays?
  10. Did you parents ever loose their jobs? What happened? How did they start over?
  11. What did your grandparents do with you that you loved?
  12. How are you different than your parents? What did they do that you didn’t enjoy?
  13. If you could go back to a period of time in your childhood, when would that be?
  14. How did you parents change after they retired?
  15. If there was anything you could know about our family history or a relative that has died? what would you want to know?
  16. What was the hardest thing you went through as a child and how died you cope with it?
  17. Which family relative did you like the most and why?
  18. Has anything ever happened in the family that took a while to come to terms with?
  19. What career job would you have liked to do but never did?
  20. What hobbies did you have as a child? Which one did you out more time into?
  21. What Primary and Secondary schools did you go to? When did you finish school and why?

Making dinner party memories is easier than you thought, try some more questions here: 40 more dinner table questions

If you’re still lucky enough to have your Grandfather or Grandmother in your life, the answers to their question may be very different to those of your Dads.

Why don’t you write them out onto cards and bring them along to your next dinner and learn a little more about your dad or grandad? Share your experience below, we would love to hear how it went. Did you learn something you never knew? Something insightful or suprising?

Dads Banana Cake Recipe

There isn’t much more satisfying than to make food for your family and they love it. Having my daughter half the time over the last 12 years I have come to really enjoy cooking for her and this Banana Cake is a winner.

We have our favourites i.e. Lasagna, Chicken Casserole, Chicken Schnitzels, Toasties, Spaghetti Bol, BBQ Mash and Vegetables. I have also enjoyed making deserts like Chocolate Mouse, I’ll share that recipe next time I make it.

See below a Banana Cake Recipe that I baked today, its moist and not to sweet with a tasty icing. It was quite a large cake and it took about 1 1/2 hours to cook in my oven. I would suggest you set the timer for 1 hour, then keep checking every 15 minutes until the wooden skewer comes out clean.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1cups bananas, mashed, ripe
  • teaspoons lemon juice
  • cups flour
  • 1 1teaspoons baking soda
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 3cup butter, softened
  • 2 1cups sugar
  • large eggs
  • teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1cups buttermilk

ICING

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 250g cream cheese, softened

GARNISH

  • chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 275°F (135C).
  • Grease and flour a 9 x 13 cake tin.
  • In a small bowl, mashed the banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix self-raising flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add 3/4 cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy (I use a Kenwood mixer)
  • Mix in eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla. Crack the eggs in a separate bowl, then drop into mixing bowl.
  • Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
  • Stir in banana mixture.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and could place in the fridge to cool down or just on the bench before icing.
  • For the frosting, mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Add icing sugar and mix on low speed until combined, then on high speed until icing is smooth.
  • Spread on top of cooled cake.
  • Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top of the frosting, if you would like this, its add a little crunch.

New dad tips for parenting infants and toddlers

Parenting infants and toddlers is amazing, rewarding and frustrating and it can happen all in the same day.
Imagine being a toddler for just a minute…they can’t articulate clearly what you want, they are completely managed by a parent, given food that you might not like, dressed and changed multiple times a day and restricted to the confines of a play pen, bed or high chair.

All very normal and right but it can cause the child to occasionally throw a tantrum and its these moments we find the most difficult.

There are somethings dad you can do to help reduce the stress in your household and possibly make tantrums less frequent, such as:

Love is the first step

Firstly its super important your infant or toddler feels unconditional love. We have spoken before of about providing Attention, Affirmation and Affection to your child, let’s face it who would feel secure and loved if they received the 3 A’s all the time.

Not to many rules

Don’t bombard your child with to many rules, make your home child safe so they can crawl around where ever they want without being told “not’ to do or touch that. It can eliminate one frustration. Your child might start to get frustrated if you are saying “no” all the time, so look for many opportunities to say “yes”.

If you are getting a lot of “no’s” try not to react, simply repeat the request in a nice calm voice. Is there some way you can make what your’e asking your child to do that could be made more fun? All aged children prefer to do tasks that are fun and enjoyable.

Give them choices

If its changing into PJ’s and he or she doesn’t want to, try getting two out for them to choice which one they would prefer to put on. Same goes with going to bed, its always a trigger for pushback. Try getting two books and asking which one will we read tonight?

If there is a power struggle and we know there will be, you can use choices like “Its bed time, would you prefer to brush your teeth or put your Pyjamas on first?

Stick to a routine as if your life depends on it

Children of all ages operate far better if there is a strict routine in the home. So they know exactly what to expect each day, whether it be morning or night. I know it can become boring and mundane but trust me on this one…have routines and scheduled time for things every day and stick to it.
Routines help children feel safe and secure. Because when you introduce things that happen the same time every day, things like waking up, breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, cleaning your teeth, what time you come home from work, time for a snack or a sleep, it allows the child to trust you and they are left feeling emotionally secure to just play, explore and be a child.

Be a good role model

Set examples, remember you might not think your child is listening but I guarantee they are watching everything you do.

  • Your moods
  • How you speak to your partner
  • How you react to news
  • If your an easy push over and don’t stick to routines
  • Do you keep the home clean and tidy
  • Do you cook nutritious meals
  • Are you comforting and nurturing with them
  • Are you intentional about the time you spend with them
  • Everything you do and say is teaching your child how to behave.

Teaching your infant or toddler new skills

You will find you get push back probably because your child doesn’t know how to do what you are asking?
Teaching them how to perform simple tasks like putting on a jumper, or putting toys away can be a great start. Start teaching them by talking through the instructions of each task whilst you perform them.

“ok Jimmy, lets pick up all the yellow toys and put them back in the box, see 1,2,3. Then we pick up the blue balls and put them in the box, 1 blue ball, 2 blue ball, 3 blue balls, into the box so they can rest for the night and it keeps the room clean and tidy. Why don’t you show me how you can pick up the pencils and put them in the box too?

Teach instruction on everything you do from the earliest age possible and before you know it, you will have a more ready to help child and less tantrums.

What tips or ideas have you got that you could share with other first time dads? Share them below in the comments box.

 

Looking after your teenagers mental health during lockdowns

The more we have lockdowns the more it can be affecting your teenagers mental health.
There is suffering in enormous numbers and Dads you need to be concerned and do what you can to help your teenagers get through these challenging lockdowns.

We don’t know how long this is going to last for or if we will be in lockdowns again? It’s important to remember that every one of your sons or daughters handles stress and anxiety differently, if you teenager is already challenged with mental health issues then all of what’s happening will be amplified.

All families handle stress differently and during lockdowns its particularly important to introduce or maintain your family routines. All children strive in an environment where there is predictability and routine, its helps them stay grounded.

And we all need to feel grounded instead of this in and out of lockdown with restrictions. I feel so bad for teenagers, they have had a disrupted education and had to swap to online learning, missing out on key celebrations, isolated from friends, social events and general freedoms.

You might see some changes in behaviour such as, mood swings, withdrawn, lack of motivation, a change in sleeping or eating patterns. Somethings in particular when you child becomes withdrawn we can worry and over compensate by wanting too much of their time. Keep communication open while you still give them space.

Things we can do to help get our sons and daughters through tough times – and remember these times will end!

  • Encourage communication with their friends group
  • Keep them in touch with family via phone or video catch-ups
  • Have routine jobs around the house that they do
  • Walk the dog
  • Encourage routine walks
  • Anything to do with outside activity
  • A weekly night where they plan and cook dinner
  • Take up a new hobby i.e. adult colouring books
  • A weekly movie night for everyone including popcorn
  • Help them organise a counsellor to talk too, has proven to be a positive experience for young people
  • Have a nice scent in the house with a scented candle
  • Make these things and activities a routine

What has worked in your home? We would love to know, please share by making a comment below.

Support groups for young people and teenagers are listed below…

Kids Helpline

1800 55 1800

Free, confidential counselling service available any time of the day or night by phone or webchat.

Beyond Blue

1300 22 4636

Call or chat online with a trained mental health professional any time of the day or night.

Headspace

1800 650 890

Online and telephone support service that helps young people who don’t feel ready to attend a headspace centre or who prefer to talk about their problems via online chat, email or on the phone.

Online forums

Beyond Blue

The Beyond Blue forums are a supportive place to connect with people who are going through similar experiences to you. You can read other people’s stories, ask for advice or share your own experience.

Reach Out

ReachOut Forums is a supportive, safe and anonymous space where people care about what’s happening for you, because they’ve been there too.

Websites

Reach Out

Use ReachOut.com to figure things out and make life better. The website offers information and other resources designed specifically for young people.

Kids Helpline

The website has information and services to support young people through any problems – big or small.

Headspace

The website has information and services to support a young person going through a tough time.

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI)

Having a parent with a mental illness can be tough. But COPMI have a lot of information and videos to help you get your head around it all.

Support centres

headspace centres

If you need support, advice or just someone to talk to about a life problem, you can visit a headspace centre located around Australia and talk to mental health professional within a confidential and safe environment. Some centres also have specialist workers like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and family therapists. Call your closest headspace centre to make an appointment.

Online programs and apps

Bite Back

BITE BACK is a free, self-guided online wellbeing and resilience program for young people aged 13–16 years old. It uses a combination of fun, interactive activities, quizzes, animations and information across nine positive psychology domains including gratitude, optimism, flow, meaning, hope, mindfulness, character strengths, healthy lifestyle, and positive relationships.

Brave Program

The BRAVE Program is an interactive, online program for the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety. The programs are free, and provide ways for children and teenagers to better cope with their worries.

MoodGYM

This free, fun, interactive program helps you identify and overcome problem emotions and shows you how to develop good coping skills for the future.

 

We’re back after being hacked

So pleased we are back up and running after being classed a dangerous site by Google. Here’s how it happened…
2 month ago I suddenly started receiving thousands of email bounce backs in my inbox.
Investigating it, I found out through our hosting company that we didn’t have a “reCAPTCHA” on my Contacts Us page which somehow allowed the hackers (criminals) to use our contact us page to send out thousands of emails? go figure?

Then suddenly the domain name dadsonline.com.au was showing content for an Olive Oil company in Canada?
Our email inbox become unusable, we ended up paying for our hosting company Crazy Hosting for advance tech support where they were very helpful in guiding me to fix issues including changing passwords,  I had over 1500 people logged into Dads Online as a user.

After changing passwords, deleting all dodgy users, I finally felt like we were regaining our site back,  then, I was notified by Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures saying he could not connect the Dads Online? It was showing a red Google Dangerous website notice.

I was unaware that someone had placed some code within the site which was spamming out emails to thousands of people using our email address. It was really terrible. When thinking about who had access in the last few months, I thought of Fivver, a site for freelancers. I used this site to find a WordPress developer to set up the Google Analytics (GA). I gave my login details to a developer who did set up GA but then all this happened afterwards, he had a 5 star reviews and I felt safe at the time of choosing him.

But i have to question… did my login details get distributed to online criminals? Was the developers security protocols not strong enough and leaked my logins? I don’t know? but strangely all this happened when I used this GA developer.

Finally, I had a local digital agency sweep and clean the site for links, codes and anything that Google would deem Dads Online to be dangerous. Still working to get GA configured properly but we are now classed as a “Safe” site by Google.

We are now looking forward again to providing all the wonderful Dads, Ideas, Tips, Information on Dads Health, Separation, Parenting, Self Care, Meals  support in way of useful blogs, online chat and podcasts.

Its great to be back, trust you have all been well during these crazy times of Covid lockdowns, don’t forget to visit our live chat bubble on the page (don’t be shy) and lets chat.

 

Best wishes

Peter

What is Coercive Control and where to seek help

Coercive control refers to a pattern of controlling behaviors that create an unequal power dynamic in a relationship. These behaviors give the perpetrator power over their partner, making it difficult for them to leave. Sometimes, coercive control can escalate into physical abuse and sometimes not. Coercive Control does not need to involve physical violence.

SIGNS OF COERCIVE CONTROL

Monitoring and spying

A person may exert power and control by choosing and influencing what someone wears, where they go, who they go out with, and what activities they take part in. The controlling person may also demand or get access to the partner’s computer, mobile phone, or email account.

They might even put a tracing device in their vehicle or a hidden camera in their homer.

Gaining Financial Control

This happens when a person has control over someone’s access to money and does not allow them to make financial decisions. Having someone control your money and finances can leave a person without food or clothing and make it harder for them to leave the relationship.

Isolating their Partner

A controlling person may try to get their partner to reduce or sever contact with family and friends so that they are easier to control and less people know of their coercive behaviour.

They could also prevent them from going to work or school.

Humiliation and Insulting

Gaslighting and constant insults to undermine a person’s self-esteem. This can involve name-calling, highlighting a person’s insecurities, or putting them down. Eventually, the person experiencing this abuse starts to believe it and feel they deserve the insults

Threats and Intimidation

Perpetrators of Coercive Control can make threats that include physical violence, self-harm, or public humiliation. For example, a person trying to control their partner may threaten to hurt themselves or kill themself if their partner tries to leave or publish sexually explicit images or personal data online.

This person may also smash items around the home or their partner’s sentimental belongings in an attempt to intimidate and scare them.

Sexual Coercion

This occurs when the perpetrator manipulates their partner into unwanted sexual activity. They may use pressure, threats, guilt-tripping, lies, or other trickery to coerce them into having sex.

Using Children or Pets

The perpetrator may use children or family pets as an avenue of controlling their partner. They could do this by threatening the children or pets, or threatening to take sole custody of them if their partner leaves.

They may also manipulate children by telling lies to attempt to get them to dislike the other parent.

What can we do?

Dads, as you can see there are so many ways someone can try to exert Power and Control over their partner. They say, these types of people have learnt it from their up bringing and role models.

It’s so important that we are not the teaches to our children on domestic violence, but from a young age we teach our children respect and nurturing behaviours of other people. Boys can not grow up thinking they can control girls, like; girls can’t have other male friends if you are darting them, or they can’t wear what they like to a party etc. Equality has never been so important and we need to be their role model. It can start young, if you see your son demonstrating signs of coercive control, pull them ups and teach them the right way to treat people and how to behave.

No one deserves to live in a relationship that their partner has coercive control over them, it is domestic violence.

If you know someone in a relationship like this, help them and direct them to some professional help:

  • 1800RESPECT 1800737732
  • Lifeline 131114
  • Mens Referral Service 1300766491
  • Emergency Services 000
  • Domestic Violence Help Line 1800811811
  • Support for Families 1300364277
  • Support for Kids 1800551800
  • Support for people with disabilities 1800880052
  • Your local doctor

 

Mate, its important but not that important

I’m talking about work.

I recently read a story about a Dad who was told by his doctor that he was going to die of cancer. He immediately thought that he should have spent far more time with his children and made them more of a priority.

If only he had off known that he is critical to the health and wellbeing of his children throughout all their stages both young through to teens and onto young adulthood.

There seems to be this belief amongst some families that the mum holds the key to being the main parent figure, In some cases this is true but I blame the mum and the dad for that. Mums take on this righteous belief that they control and own every aspect of the Childs upbringing, which is not true. Dads focus on their work and allow this to happen which prevents them from ever gaining back an equal voice in the home, which is wrong.

Maybe some dads don’t want to cause an argument, or they are lazy and don’t want to step up so they’re happy for the mum to take control, they have a controlling partner or they place more importance on their job and career than what’s really necessary.

How can I change this, you may ask? Make time and be intentional with your effort to be around and to be available.

If you are one of these dads that has missed out on time because of any of the reasons mentioned above, guess what? It’s never too late to start up again. In fact your child will be pleasantly surprised and you will be able to learn more about them that you ever thought was possible. Times seems to pass quickly but it doesn’t really, there is plenty of time to nurture a good relationship.

Your job won’t suffer because you don’t work those 15 extra hours a week, spend them at home and be available doing stuff.

Some things that I do you could copy are:

  1. Make sure they know you love them and that they’re the most important people in your life.
  2. Encourage conversation with open ended questions, try not to ask a question that could get a “Yes or No” answer.
  3. Be available and I mean available. You will have a lot of down time and time just being around but you will be there when they become available and your world comes together to do stuff.
  4. Have a dad and daughter date or a father and son date. Go out for dinner just the two of you and spend time, ideally leaving your mobile phones in the car for an hour.
  5. Get tickets to a movie, concert or theatre? what ever their interest is be apart of it.
  6. If your child is a teen and is ready to start their learners driving lessons, own that and get them ready for testing. Make “patience” your best friend and remember they are learning, learners make mistakes, they are allowed too.
  7. If you have girls, I learnt early on from a great fathering group called Fathering Adventures what girls need from their dads, that’s to give them the 3 A’s
    1. Attention
    2. Affirmations
    3. Affection

By prioritising your children more and backing off the time and focus you spend at your work will pay off more than what your boss could ever provide – and that’s a connection, love, satisfaction, family, bond, affection, memories that can last a lifetime and the feeling that you are very important and valued in your Childs life.

Your work is important but its not that important

It’s not something that will happen overnight, but it does happen and it happens because you were there.

Introducing your child to your new partner

By Peter J. Favaro, Ph.D. Author of Smart Parenting During and After Divorce.

The advice in this article will be very difficult for some of you to agree with. That being said, let me also say that generalizing about people whose lives may be very complicated is difficult to do, so these are just general guidelines not informed by your particular story.

My rule of thumb is that divorced and separated parents should keep children out of their social lives until they have been separated or divorced for a period of at least two years and you have known your potential new partner for at least a year. Let me explain the easy things first.

New Partners

You might think your new partner is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but at one time you thought the same thing about the person whose name is on the bottom of the restraining order you just got. It’s hard to resist the power of someone who not only makes you feel good about yourself but reinforces your negative feelings about your ex.

With all of that conflict to concentrate on (especially if both of you are going through divorces), who has time to create trouble in the new relationship? What happens as a result is an extended “honeymoon period” in the new relationship. Having your kids along with your new partner helps legitimize the relationship, especially if your kids like your new partner’s kids and everyone gets along—but it might very well place unnecessary pressure on the kids.

Reasons to Take It Slow

One reason to take it very slow in having your children cozy up to your new partner is that often, the “second time around” relationship is just as bad as or worse than the first relationship you had, and you want to get away from that person too. That may be fine for you, but what if your kids like that person and the people who tag along with him or her? What happens then is that your children go through another round of sad separations, and ultimately they become mistrustful and suspicious of the next round of people you bring them into contact with. For kids, these separations can be as painful as the divorce from their mother or father.

Then there are the situations where you bring your children into contact with your new partner and they hate that person. What you have created in that circumstance is a pipeline of complaints that go from your children to the other parent, and that creates yet another set of problems.

Children of divorced parents often feel split loyalties between a new partner or parent figure and a biological parent. This is made worse when one of the biological parents is insecure or angry. It is very easy for children to pick up on, and as a result they try to please and soothe that parent by being critical of Mom or Dad’s new boyfriend or girlfriend.

With all of the problems that are associated with bringing children into contact with new boyfriends and girlfriends, it is a wonder why people do it with such frequency. There are two main reasons: One is that when parents separate they yearn for the return of a “normal” life with a companion. In their desire to create that normal life, they make decisions too quickly or without thinking through all of the possibilities and often end up replacing one dysfunctional relationship with another. As adults we are entitled to do this until we get it right, but we should try to avoid exposing children to our dating disasters. Related to this is the second main reason—when a parent adopts the philosophy that “My kids and I come as a package deal. If you think you want to be with me, my kids have to approve.” This is a perfectly reasonable philosophy, but it must be employed later rather than sooner. You should figure out whether the person is worth having your children evaluate them first.

Why the Two-Year Rule Works

I advocate the two-year rule because by the one-year mark most couples have seen each other at their best and at their worst. If you have seen your partner at your worst and he or she does not try to damage your self-esteem when you fight, and you have successfully solved many of the relationship problems you could not solve with your ex, then your relationship has a better than 50-50 chance of succeeding in the long term. I have seen quite a few complicated and difficult circumstances arise because people are in too much of a hurry to introduce their children to their new partners.

Another advantage is that after some time has passed, even young children will expect their mothers and fathers to want companionship, and the children will not be as focused on wanting to reunite the family. There is no guarantee your child will ever stop wanting this, but in most cases children will want it less after a few years or at least accept the reality that it’s not going to happen.

Once you have passed the two-year mark of being out of your old relationship, and once you know your new partner for a year, you can start talking to your children about meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend. If your children are old enough to understand what a boyfriend or girlfriend is, don’t beat around the bush. This is actually one of the advantages you have gained by waiting such a long time before introducing the person.

The Sleepover Question

Different people have different ideas about whether parents should invite their boyfriends or girlfriends to sleep over at their house. I would say avoid it, especially with young children. Children are growing up very quickly these days, and they will start to ask questions about whether you are having sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend because you are sleeping with them.  You could properly tell them this is none of their business, but the situation will nevertheless make them feel uncomfortable, and you will ultimately have to deal with what kind of model this presents to your children, especially when they are fifteen years old and want to bring their boyfriends and girlfriends home to your house to sleep over.

Finally, it might be very tempting to bring your little children into bed with you and your new partner to snuggle or watch television, but I have seen this cause problems between mums and dads who become furious at the thought of their children climbing into bed with someone who is a “stranger” to them and cuddling.  Before you permit your child to do this, ask yourself it is worth the legal fees you will have to spend in order to convince someone that you think there is no harm in it.

Quick Tips

  • When it comes to introducing your kids to the people you are dating, wait, wait, wait. Then think it through, wait some more, and start talking about the person who is becoming special and whom you would like them to meet. Even when you are careful as can be, children might not warm up to the idea of your dating for a long time. One thing is certain—if you rush it, there will be problems.
  • Split loyalties are common when children are brought into a relationship with a parent’s new partner. It will take patience and an ability to be warm, but stay in the background to get past this.

xox when they need rescuing

I recently read an article about having an TEXT word if your children are ever in a spot they feel that they can’t get out off and need “rescuing”.

The article was very good but the plan they were using was called the X Plan. The idea was to send an “X” if they needed an out to a situation they found themselves him.

The issue with an X is that if I got this during the night I would just think my daughter was sending me a kiss. I wouldn’t jump out of bed, and head to rescue her, I would probably just send back a “x”.

The idea behind this methodology is to keep your children safe if they feel they are out of their depth or find themselves in a spot they can’t get out of.

I spoke to my daughter about these situations you could find yourself in, such as:

  • Being with a group of boys that you feel are not respecting you or your girlfriends
  • Being offered drugs and the people you are with are not accepting no
  • People you are with are drinking more than you feel comfortable with
  • The boy you are with wants to have sex and he is not accepting no
  • You’re in a aggressive situation and feel you cant leave on your own
  • Have found yourself with strangers and you feel uncomfortable with them for any reason
  • You feel trapped and find it difficult to get way from any harmful situation

I also discussed to be assertive and confident with your decisions but if that is not working then you need to send me a sms with XOX (a little like SOS). This is a safe-plan and using some letters that she would not normally use. I get all the x’s but never a xox, so we decided that was a good sms. You work out the best sms code that work for you too 🙂

If and when I received an sms, I would call the her phone immediately and say…

Hi, Something has happened with a family member and I need to come and get you. I will tell you more about it when you are in the car. Where are you, I am on my way.

If the location is not the location I was expecting her to be, I am happy for her to tell me as little or as much as she wants to. I am just happy that she is away from a situation she believed was harmful.

A quick way for men to determine if you have hearing loss?

ozen-hearing-imageHearing loss isn’t the kind of thing most men like to talk about but in fact, about 1 in 6 people in Australia suffer from hearing loss which increases to over 1 in 4 for people over 60.

Most men tend to ignore the early signs of hearing loss, they ask their wife or kids to speak a little louder, they turn the TV up or they just tend to accept it as part of life. Unfortunately, as hearing loss progresses it can impact almost every aspect of your life from work to your relationships.

As a dad myself, I love taking my kids to the footy or taking them to a concert. On the weekend I play in a band with a couple of mates.

Unfortunately, these activities involve loud noises which can seriously accelerate hearing loss. Also, if you work at a construction site, manufacturing plant or other places where you are constantly exposed to loud noises you could also be causing damage to your hearing.

To give you an example, here is a list of sounds and their decibel ratings

  • Normal Conversation – 60 Decibels
  • Heavy Traffic – 85 Decibels
  • Motorbikes – 95 Decibels
  • Listening to Music on phone max volume – 105 Decibels
  • Power Saw – 110 Decibels
  • Rock Concert – 125 – 150 decibels

Source: www.ozen.com.au

Any long or repeated exposure to noise over 85 decibels can cause permanent damage to your hearing. It doesn’t take much.

Ever gone to a wedding or bar and come out with your ears ringing? That’s a warning sign that the volume is too loud.

So what can you do?

First, you have to be aware which means you can take active steps to avoid situations that are going to be damaging to your hearing.

If you can’t avoid these situations, then you can take active steps to protect your ears such as using ear plugs or even noise blocking earmuffs. While I know they don’t look the best it’s better than causing further damage to your hearing.

So what can you do if you’re suffering from hearing loss?

You need to get your hearing tested to determine the level and cause of your hearing loss. It’s really important to get advice from a qualified audiologist who can give you proper advice and determine whether you need to see a specialist.

They may find your hearing loss can be alleviated with a hearing aid.

Fortunately, modern hearing aids are packed with the latest technology in tiny, discreet devices. Hearing aids are programmed to suit your particular level of hearing loss as well as adjust to the environments and situations you most commonly find yourself in. The latest hearing aids are able to connect and stream directly to your phone or TV and are smaller than a coin.

There are also devices that sit directly in your canal which means they are basically invisible to others.

Recent studies have shown that people suffering from hearing loss with hearing aids have a much greater quality of life then ignoring the problem.

Ozen provide independent and unbiased advice for people suffering from hearing loss. Give them a call on 1300 848 335 and one of their consultants can explain more about modern hearing aids and arrange an appointment with a local partner audiologist.

Great Dad moments captured

You see them everywhere, Dads spending quality time with their kids. Nothing new in this (for the lucky ones) but when you capture the picture, its then you freeze the moment and see the enjoyment, the value, the connection that we get from making our kids a priority. Nothing can replace the quality time spent with Dad.

Off to the MCG to watch footy with Dad

Enjoying a ride on a steam train with Dad

Enjoying a ride on a steam train with Dad

Father Day morning at school with Dad

Father Day morning at school with Dad

Out for a walk to get ice-cream at Darling Harbour

Ice-cream at Darling Harbor with Dad

Enjoying a cuddle with Dad at the footy

A cuddle with Dad at the footy

Remote Control boats at Albert Park Lake

Remote control boats at Albert Park Lake with Dad

Would you leave your front and back door open whilst your kids are at home?

Online preditorsKeeping our kids safe from online predators is something we all must be aware of. Once upon a time we would keep our kids safe by simply making sure the front and back door of our house was locked before they went to bed. Today, if your kids have any public profiles on sites such as: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ooVoo, Snapchat, MSM Messenger, YouTube or Kick –  to name a few, then your front and back door is open 24/7. If you have kids that are using computers then we need to be knowledge up and prepared to understand what the risks are! There is no excuse for not understanding social media and the danger that it can bring to your child.

This video has a very clear and simple message and should be watched with you kids…

Here are some tips to keep your kids safe online and points for discussion

  • Don’t post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
  • Think carefully about posting pictures or video’s of your self.
  • Keep your privacy settings as high as possible.
  • Never give out your passwords
  • Don’t befriend people you don’t know.
  • Don’t meet up with people you’ve met online, speak to your parents or a trusted adult about people who suggest you do.
  • Remember that everyone online is not who they say they are.
  • Think carefully about what you say before posting it online.
  • Respect other peoples views, if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude.
  • If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off the computer if you want to and tell your parent or a trusted adult.

Some ideas to staying safe at home

  • Keep the family computer in an open area such as the lounge, kitchen or a room where it can be monitored.
  • Understand the sites and technology your kids use and know who they are talking to.
  • Create a list of online “rules” with the family e.g. time limits, list of ok sites to visit.
  • Educate your kids so they not to give out personal details without parental knowledge.
  • Make sure your kids know what to do and where to go if they encounter cyber -bullying.
  • Regularly sit with your kids when they are online and look over there shoulder. Let them know you are keeping track of there online activity.
  • Talk about online risks and what to watch out for and how you can be tricked.
  • Reinforce positive behaviors and values in the online world.
  • Install software or services that can restrict, block or filter offensive websites.
  • We cant ignore technology, kids and teens will use them, if they are not using it at home then they may use it at a friends house or in the school yard? so the best course of action is to discuss openly and educate.