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What to say to the kids?

These were the hardest conversations I ever had! I am sure that every dad and mum dreads telling there children that they are separating.  I wish I had of had tips on what to say to the kids.  It is the most difficult and awkward situation to comes to terms with as they are the last people on earth you would want to hurt or disappoint!

My kids were unaware of the real difficulties we were going through and it was a surprise when they learned that we were separating.  I definitely had the what, hows and why’s?  How to answer them is important and having some insight and working together with your ex on what they actually want from you both post separation is the key to keeping it all together.

Below are some of the responses to many of the tough conversations you will go through.

What to say and how to say it:

Difficult as it may be to do, try to strike an empathetic tone and address the most important points right up front. Give your children the benefit of an honest—but kid-friendly—explanation.

  •  Tell the truth. Your kids are entitled to know why you are getting a divorce, but long-winded reasons may only confuse them. Pick something simple and honest, like “We can’t get along anymore.” You may need to remind your children that while sometimes parents and kids don’t always get along, parents and kids don’t stop loving each other or get divorced from each other.
  •  Say “I love you.” However simple it may sound, letting your children know that your love for them hasn’t changed is a powerful message. Tell them you’ll still be caring for them in every way, from making their breakfast to helping with homework.
  •  Address changes. Preempt your kids’ questions about changes in their lives by acknowledging that some things will be different now, and other things won’t. Let them know that together you can deal with each detail as you go.

Avoid Blaming:

It’s vital to be honest with your kids, but without being critical of your spouse. This can be especially difficult when there have been hurtful events, such as infidelity, but with a little diplomacy, you can avoid playing the blame game.

  •  Present a united front. As much as you can, try to agree in advance on an explanation for your separation or divorce—and stick to it.
  •  Plan your conversations. Make plans to talk with your children before any changes in the living arrangements occur. And plan to talk when your spouse is present, if possible.
  •  Show restraint. Be respectful of your spouse when giving the reasons for the separation.

How much information to give:

Especially at the beginning of your separation or divorce, you’ll need to pick and choose how much to tell your children. Think carefully about how certain information will affect them.

  •  Be age-aware. In general, younger children need less detail and will do better with a simple explanation, while older kids may need more information.
  •  Share logistical information. Do tell kids about changes in their living arrangements, school, or activities, but don’t overwhelm them with the details.
  •  Keep it real. No matter how much or how little you decide to tell your kids, remember that the information should be truthful above all else.

Helping the kids express their feelings:

For kids, divorce can feel like loss: the loss of a parent, the loss of the life they know. You can help your children grieve and adjust to new circumstances by supporting their feelings.

  •  Listen. Encourage your child to share their feelings and really listen to them. They may be feeling sadness, loss or frustration about things you may not have expected.
  •  Help them find words for their feelings. It’s normal for children to have difficulty expressing their feelings. You can help them by noticing their moods and encouraging them to talk.
  •  Let them be honest. Children might be reluctant to share their true feelings for fear of hurting you. Let them know that whatever they say is okay. If they aren’t able to share their honest feelings, they will have a harder time working through them.
  •  Acknowledge their feelings. You may not be able to fix their problems or change their sadness to happiness, but it is important for you to acknowledge their feelings rather than dismissing them. You can also inspire trust by showing that you understand.

What I need from my mum and dad after divorce (from your child’s’ point of view):

  •  I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters, make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.
  •  Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters related to me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.
  •  I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you. If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.
  •  Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.
  •  When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all. When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side.
  •  Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on my mum and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems

Clearing up misunderstandings:

Many kids believe that they had something to do with the divorce, recalling times they argued with their parents, received poor grades, or got in trouble. You can help your kids let go of this misconception.

  •  Set the record straight. Repeat why you decided to get a divorce. Sometimes hearing the real reason for your decision can help.
  •  Be patient. Kids may seem to “get it” one day and be unsure the next. Treat your child’s confusion or misunderstandings with patience.
  •  Reassure. As often as you need to, remind your children that both parents will continue to love them and that they are not responsible for the divorce.

 Give reassurance and love:

Children have a remarkable ability to heal when given the support and love they need. Your words, actions, and ability to remain consistent are all important tools to reassure your children of your unchanging love.

  •  Both parents will be there. Let your kids know that even though the physical circumstances of the family unit will change, they can continue to have healthy, loving relationships with both of their parents.
  •  It’ll be okay. Tell kids that things won’t always be easy, but that they will work out. Knowing it’ll be all right can provide incentive for your kids to give a new situation a chance.
  •  Closeness. Physical closeness—in the form of hugs, pats on the shoulder, or simple proximity—has a powerful way of reassuring your child of your love.
  •  Be honest. When kids raise concerns or anxieties, respond truthfully. If you don’t know the answer, say gently that you aren’t sure right now, but you’ll find out and it will be okay.

The comfort routines:

The benefit of schedules and organisation for younger children is widely recognised, but many people don’t realise that older children appreciate routine, as well. Kids feel safer and more secure when they know what to expect next. Knowing that, even when they switch homes, dinnertime is followed by a bath and then homework, for example, can set a child’s mind at ease.

Maintaining routine also means continuing to observe rules, rewards, and discipline with your children. Resist the temptation to spoil kids during a divorce by not enforcing limits or allowing them to break rules.

Thank you to the Help Guide for content.

How to recognize and prevent domestic violence happening in your family

All reports are telling us that one of the impacts of COVID-19 because of the population needing to stay at home is causing an increase in Domestic Violence. Firstly: If you feel unsafe or are concerned for someone’s safety please call 000 or one of the Domestic Violence Support services below.

These are exceptional circumstances and it does not excuse aggressive behavior or any type of behavior that could constitute domestic violence.

Are you working from home and feel like you’re trapped and don’t have any relief or time to yourself? You’re easily annoyed at your partner &/or kids?
Remember no-one signed up for your BS! Take accountability and go for a regular walk to get some air, exercise and if you need some space.

During these times there are many professional services you can talk to, like: Online counsellors, 24/7 phone support and even chat services. Google them and connect to a service now! If you a man, a good initial support service to approach would be men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491 and if your a women a good initial support service to approach would be 1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732

You might even have lost your job and feeling sad and lost, these feelings are normal, remember you are human. If you don’t know how you’re going to pay the bills like rent, the mortgage, school fees or food. The best thing you can do is act quickly. Sign up to a MyGov account and register for Centerlink. Talk to your rental agents, your bank and the school they will all be very supportive during these times.

Emergency relief organisations provide immediate financial and/or material support to people in financial crisis. The type of assistance offered by each organisation varies, so log onto the Department of Social Services Emergency Relief website and find the support service closest to you.

Its especially time to be kind, supportive and tolerant of each other but it is very important to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

This is what typically a cycle of Domestic Violence looks like:

  1. Stand-over phase (intimidation)
  2. EXPLOSION
  3. Remorse Phase (Justification)
  4. Pursuit Phase (Promises)
  5. Honeymoon Phase (Behaves like the perfect partner)
  6. Build-up Phase (Increasing tension again)

Domestic Violence is not just hitting, other categories are:

  • Social
    • Isolating family or friends
    • Jealousy, accusing of affairs
    • Controlling appearance
    • Needing total attention
    • Smashing or removing mobile
    • Monitoring phone calls, internet or messages
    • Preventing social or employment opportunities
    • Denigrating family or friends
  • PHYSICAL
    • Murder
    • Strangling or suffocating
    • Throwing objects
    • Punching, hitting, slapping
    • Reckless driving
    • Use of weapons
    • Hair pulling, spitting
    • Locked Inside or Outside
    • Damage to possessions
    • Cruelty to pets
    • Forced substance abuse
    • Withholding access to medical help
    • Over or under medicate
    • Trivialization of medical conditions
    • Taunting someone in a vulnerable state
  • VERBAL
    • Insults and put-downs
    • Silent treatment
    • Name calling
    • Sarcasm
    • Fault finding
    • Lies
    • Public Humiliation
    • Threats
    • Dominating conversation
    • Yelling, shouting
    • Whispering
    • Being indiscreet
    • Always correcting
  • STALKING
    • Excessive phone calls or text messages, emails or letters
    • Driving past work or house
    • Reading or taking mail
    • Turning up at places where victim frequents
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL
    • Threat to suicide
    • Emotional blackmail
    • Self -esteem erosion
    • Criticizing appearance or body shape
    • Undermining character
    • scaring
    • Implying mental illness
    • Spreading rumors
    • Private humiliation
    • Denying education
    • Jekyll and Hyde mood
    • Minimizing or dismissing feelings
    • Mind games
  • SEXUAL
    • Rape
    • Rationing or denial of sex
    • Sex on their conditions
    • Denying choice of contraception
    • Beliefs and practices around female circumcision
    • Enforcing sexual practices they are not comfortable with
    • Pornography
    • Sex in-front of children
    • Bestiality
    • Forced abortion
    • Risky behavior
  • FINANCIAL
    • Total control of finances
    • Restricting earning
    • Rationing or placing conditions on money
    • Drinking, gambling
    • Control of shopping expenditure
    • Concealing assets
    • Unable to buy new clothes
    • Forcing to take out loans on credit cards
  • SPIRITUAL
    • Denying choices
    • Demanding you take on their beliefs
    • Using beliefs to justify behavior
    • Not allowing negotiation in children’s spiritual education

Let’s not forget the effects to children who are living in the home of domestic violence.

There are many effects that have been documented of emotional and behavioural problems in children exposed to domestic violence, these include:

  1. Low Self Esteem
  2. Poor conflict resolutions
  3. Repressed feelings of anger, fear, guilt and confusion
  4. Adjustment problems, fewer interests, fewer social activities
  5. Unwillingness to invite friends home
  6. Increased levels of anxiety
  7. Clinginess
  8. Adolescent boys abusing girls
  9. Excessive cruelty to animals
  10. Stress-related physical ailments, headaches, stomach aches, ulcers, bed-wetting
  11. Eating problems – decreased or increased apitite
  12. Sleeping problems including nightmares
  13. Hair pulling, nail biting
  14. Fear of making mistakes
  15. Fear of being touches
  16. Aggression, temper tantrums
  17. Increased internalized problems, such as depression, withdrawal, isolation, loneliness
  18. Decreased cognitive abilities
  19. Poor school performance, difficult to do homework or study
  20. Restlessness
  21. Decreased empathy
  22. Suicidal thoughts
  23. Lower rating in social competence (especially in boys)
  24. Inability to form stable adult relationships
  25. Higher risks of alcohol – drug abuse and juvenile delinquency

There is every reason in the world to get yourself help and stop domestic violent behaviour, seek out help immediately. Don’t fool yourself, every negative action erodes both your partner, children, family relationships and your quality of life.

Family and domestic violence support services:

  1. 1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732
  2. Women’s Crisis Line (NSW): 1800 811 811
  3. Safe Steps Crisis Line (Vic): 1800 015 188
  4. Men’s Referral Service: 1300 766 491
  5. Lifeline (24-hour Crisis Line): 131 114
  6. Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

Ten way to ensure your child feels secure and loved

You could not imagine how much importance your child puts on your promises i.e. when you said you would buy them that special gift, when you promised you would be there for them, there are times they know its boring for you but in the end it makes them feel secure and loved that you are there.

  1. Always make time to go to his game, go to her dance concert, pick them up from school
  2. When your there be totally focused and present with them
  3. Always remember their birthdays and special occasions, diarise everything
  4. Always keep their things and never give away anything unless you ask for first
  5. Always be in a good mood around them
  6. Never be drunk, stoned or anything else that would make them feel ashamed of you.
  7. Never pay more attention to your girlfriend or your girlfriends children
  8. Always be more interested in their needs than yours
  9. Never criticize, belittle or make fun of the things they like
  10. Never speak badly of their mother

There is a good book that covers more on this topic called Wednesday Evenings and Every Other Weekend by F.Daniel McClure PhD and Jerry B. Saffer PhD

 

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.

How children react to separation

Rightfully so, we can become completely consumed by separation and divorce. It’s pretty much one of the most distracting and life changing events we can go through. It effects our personal life, finances and career. As I have said before, anyone going through divorce can expect their productivity to be reduced dramatically.  You can basically write off a year! Go through it once in your younger years, there is time to recover.  Go through it in your later years, there will be things you will struggle to recover from, i.e. finance!

Dads, i suggest that there is no better time than now to get advice on managing your finances, I read “the barefoot investor” book, implemented every bit of advice and no longer have credit card debt (cut them up) and I feel my finances are now under control, its a book I wish I had of read 10 years ago.

Children play a huge part in how we feel about our self during this period, mainly because we feel guilty.

Some of the most common feelings you will experience will be:

  • Exhausted or resentful
  • Confused about your child’s behaviour
  • Angry if you feel you are getting an unfair deal
  • Lonely when your children are not with you
  • Afraid that your children will not want to be with you and will prefer being with their mother
  • Apprehensive about dealing with family law
  • Good because you have agreed to a parenting plan and your children’s needs are taken care of
  • Thrilled when you have fun with your kids
  • Happy because you have more free time

Did you know children go through the same grieving process? However, because they often don’t understand why it is happening they often feel:

  • Shocked
  • Angry and sad about the loss of the family unit
  • Abandoned or rejected by the parent who instigated the break up
  • Afraid that if one parent has “left” the other one may leave too
  • Confused about whether it is ok to love the parent that no longer lives with them
  • Guilty, in some way the separation must be their fault
  • Worried for the parent who is not living with them

Children often don’t have the words to express themselves clearly, so they show their emotions (grief) in different ways.  They may:

  • Become aggressive or naughty
  • Withdraw
  • Become clingy
  • Act younger than they are e.g. children who have been toilet trained may start wetting or soiling themselves again
  • Have nightmares or find it hard to go to sleep
  • Change their eating patterns

It is important to take things slowly, make patience your best friend whilst everyone is getting used to a new way of living, unfortuately that can take years. Be reassuring, understanding and comforting when you are with your children and know that they too are experiencing loss and grief.  Make them a priority whilst you are also looking after yourself.

What every parent with a child who self injures needs to read

First a little about the author:

Garry King has extensive experience with working with young people encountering the issues of self harm and suicidal behaviour. This experience is the result of having worked as a teacher, youth worker and counsellor and complimented by degrees in welfare and education as well as masters degrees in counselling and suicidology. Garry has previously worked as the youth welfare consultant for the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention. He was appointed an adjunct lecturer, youth welfare at the Central Qld University and is the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship to the USA.

Garry has written a number of journal articles and books on youth welfare as well as being a speaker at national conferences. He is a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. Garry is an invited author for the 2015 School Social Work USA. Garry presented at the 2016 International Society for the Study of Self Injury Conference in the USA.

If you have opened this page you are either curious, interested, have a child you are worried about that might be self injuring or your know someone who has a child that could be self injuring and you want helpful information? This type of behaviour is terrifying for families and Garry’s book will assist you with practical advice, hope, and the best research available on how to stop this behaviour.

First lets define NSSI “Non Suicidal Self Injury” – The International Society for the Study of Self Injury say’s: the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue without suicidal intent an for purposes not socially sanctioned. It’s where a person purposely cuts, burns or inflicts damage to the body to achieve an outcome that is not socially acceptable.

Most research indicates a figure of 10% to 20% of young people having self injured at some stage. When broken down over a lifetime it equates to 11.1% females and 5.1% males have self injured at some stage.

There is an argument that the male statistics maybe under reported due to the fact ,males are more reluctant to seek help.

There are many and varied reasons why a young person may self injure. The most common reason is that they may become overwhelmed with painful emotions and are not able to manage this (self regulate). Findings do support that it is a coping strategy  because self injury allows them, for a short time, to feel in control again.

There are young people that are more at risk than others which can be understood by reading Garry’s book.

Because NSSI is often secretive and every parent hopes that their child doesn’t become involved it means, that at times, it can go undetected.

Things to look out for that could be a sign that your child is self injuring are:

  • Frequent injuries with suspicious explanations
  • unexplained bandages
  • Inappropriate clothing – jumpers in summer i.e hoodies
  • Excessive bangles, wristbands
  • low emotion regulation (they get upset very quickly and have trouble calming down)
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection (overreacting to negative situations)
  • Self defeating (gives up easy, wont try new tasks)
  • Relationship problems
  • Avoiding Sports (where they may have to change clothing in front of others)
  • Discovery of implements, broken razors, blades of pencil sharpeners
  • Blood on clothing, towels or tissues
  • Itchy under clothing (wounds healing)
  • Withdrawing from activities they previously enjoyed and isolating themselves

Finding out that your child is self injuring is a confusing time, you will be thinking “why, what can I do, why don’t they talk to me, who can help”? All very valid thoughts. If it is happening…

  • Stay & appear calm, even if you’re not. Get medical help if needed.
  • Get mental health support, if you are unsure how, speak to you doctor about this and they will guide you.
  • Have first aid supplies on hand
  • Encourage the young person to seek help when the urge increases
  • Utilize the strategies that their counselor or therapist has taught
  • Teach social skills, problem solving, discussion making, conflict resolution, team work, communication skills etc.
  • Harm minimization, remove objects where possible. Speak to your counsellor or therapist about how to go about this
  • Be there for your child

If your child starts to self injure, its very important that you seek out professional help and link up the services that can assist.

There is help available for your child, Garry’s book is only $15 (inc postage) and it is written in everyday language and offers well researched advice. click here to order your copy

If you feel overwhelmed and need to talk please call:

Equality Vs Power and Control

There has been so much effort over the last few years in trying to curb men’s behavior when it comes to violence in the home. There will be much more work done in this area and anyone that thinks that using violence is ok should think again.

I have always wondered want benefits are there for using violence? The costs outway the benefits one thousand fold such as, loosing relationships, loosing children, shame, guilt, financial costs, self asteem, trust, employment, self respect and more…

The government is putting millions of dollars in communication and training more facilitators to help retrain these men on how to behave respectfully and in a non violent way to keep their family safe. This course is called the “Mens Behavioural Change Program”  or MBCP.

Men will buy a ticket on this train (course) if they are brought to the attention of the Police or Courts, it will be made mandatory for many. I have even heard that the men’s wife have said unless they correct their behavior they will leave them and the relationship will end. These men sign up for the course voluntary to help save their relationship.

Family Violence can take on the form of many behaviours, if you were unsure about your own behaviours in the home, let’s look at FAMILY VIOLENCE ACT 2008 – SECT 5

Meaning of Family Violence:

Behaviour by a person towards a family member of that person if that behaviour

  • is physically or sexually abusive
  • is emotionally or psychologically abusive
  • is economically abusive
  • is threatening
  • is coercive
  • in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for the safety or well-being of that member or another person
  • unlawfully depriving a family member of the family members liberty or threatening to do so
  • causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the family member to whom the behaviour is directed to as to control, dominate or coerce the family member

Behaviour by a person that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of, behaviour refereed to in the above points.

Examples:

  • overhearing threats of physical abuse by one family member towards another family member
  • seeing or hearing an assault of a family member who has been physically abused by another family member
  • comforting or providing assistance to another family member who has been physically abused by another family member
  • cleaning up a site after a family member has intentionally another family members property
  • being present when police officers attend an incident involving physical abuse of a family member by another family member

To remove doubt – It is declared that behaviour may constitute family violence even if the behaviour would not constitute a criminal offence.

There is a huge difference between Anger and Violence. Anger is an emotion and Violence is a behaviour that is completely unacceptable and there is never an “ok” time to use it in the home on family members.

Violence comes from POWER and CONTROL, see below the 8 categories that constitute family violence

The Men’s Behavioural Change Programs is for men who want to stop using violence in the home and concentrates on teaching skills and providing tools to treat their family members with EQUALITY. See below the EQUALITY wheel that every family member deserves to feel.

Ifyou know you are using any type of violence, intimidation or coercion in the home, please get help.

Google MBCP nearest you. Some of the organisations that provide MBCP are:

Relationships Australia
Heavy M.E.T.A.L Program
FamilyCare
Lifeworks
Anglicare

Also call the following help lines that can talk about it with you and assist you in finding help:

  • Mens Referral Service 1300766491
  • Lifeline 131114
  • MensLine 1300789978

Or send us a message and we will assist in locating a program nearest you

When you just cant be there!

If you’re separated or divorced and don’t have a good access arrangement, this might help you stay better connected.

Missing your child and feeling like they’re missing out on you is a heavy weight to carry.  Kids are resilient and I found that if they are loved and cared for at both houses then they grow up stable. That doesn’t help the feeling of loss and grief that a Dads have to bare during the times they are absent.

One area that I have always been interested in and a keen participant is…keeping in-touch in between the times you are together and letting my child know that they are top of mind even if you can not be together for a week or two?

I found a great way to keep in-touch during the absent times and it became a bit of a hobby.

Wherever I happened to be, if there was a card shop or newsagency, I would always walk in and look for a card just to say “hi” There are some really nice and creative cards on the market, there would always be a different card that I thought my child would like. Over the years there would have been shoe boxes full of cards that I had sent and I doubt that I ever doubled up on the one card 🙂

Kids like to get mail from the postman, it makes them feel special

I would send a card once a week, the first card I would post just after my access visit as it would take a day or two to arrive. I would write simple things about the fun we had that weekend and how much I loved doing things together and sign off that I loved her.

The card on the second week would simply talk about how is her week going, how is school? and I am looking forward to the weekend and will pick you up at normal time.

I never mentioned  any comment about missing her as I did not want her to feel sad in any way, I made the card always happy, positive and upbeat.

You can get personalized stickers with your initials to seal the back of the envelope or better still both initials or an emblem that they’ll know instantly the card is from you. Click here for a supplier

Have you guys tried that or what are some of the other things you’re doing?

This post was first published in 2012 and updated in 2017.

The secret for an argument free zone

I always wondered when the debating of simple tasks and requests would start or unnecessary attitude, i can tell you its around 10-12 then buckle up at 13+.
Prior to that, they are beautiful pliable sweethearts that allow you to guide them, take them and pick them up from anywhere and they follow instruction without question (their still beautiful).

Now is chalk and cheese, its another stage that will pass and we will eventually move on… but boy, it can be frustrating, stressful, challenging and hair pulling crazy (if I had any) during those years. I have experienced lying straight to my face over the simplest things, not taking responsibility for actions like loosing keys, public transport cards and keeping their room tidy. We know that teenagers go through a growing up phase and test their weight and Independence with parents.

They do this knowing that the worst thing that will happen is they get a verbal telling off or loose there phone privileges for a day, all pretty soft punishment and i imagine in their mind not enough to curve the behavior?

I think when kids start questioning parents they are trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong because they are starting to become a little more knowledgeable in the world. Although very annoying and frustrating for us parents, its important to remember to keep our composure (don’t fight rudeness with rudeness or yelling with yelling), remind them of the boundaries and politeness they need to show other people and don’t bite back.

I would always keep on carrying out consequences such as reduced time for TV, Loose mobile phone/iPad usage, Early to bed and let them know this will happen if it continues so there are no surprises when it does.

A tip for a argument free zone, is, I do not expect 100% good behavior during these years (it’s about your expectation). I accept 80%, so during these years they can have their own room 20% messier than normal (nowhere else) 20% more attitude without being disrespectful, 20% more moody and they can have that in the quiet of their own bedroom. It takes the pressure off everyone because I feel if we are looking for perfection you will not find it anywhere and it will cause ongoing arguing, so just give them a little slack.

I was told once that everything we do for our children should be a gift. We should not expect anything in return! i.e. we should not expect good behavior because we cook, wash and clean for them. If you expect this then don’t do it. Do these things for them out of love.

Its always a great idea to explain what is acceptable and its a discussion you will not only have once...When your beautiful child says ? Get off my back! or Shut up!? they have often heard it said on their favorite TV shows or possibly from the friends they’re hanging around with.  So be clear about what is and isn’t okay. Tell them, it’s fine to say that she’s angry or tired, for instance, or that she doesn’t feel like talking at the moment. But name-calling, yelling, or telling you to go away is unacceptable.

So there is no need to throw the towel in, its important that your kids know that you will always be in the game regardless of their behavior. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will arrive sometime around 18+. Our kids feel the freedom they have been craving. They are getting into full or part-time work, going to Uni, getting their license and feel what its like to have more independence. So turning human again at 18 plus is not to far away for some but for others it feels like a million years 🙂

Its important you don’t let the outburst episodes eat into you, remember its a phases and a time that will pass so don’t buy into the terrible behavior. Roll with it, respond calmly and be kind to yourself even if others aren’t being kind to you. Self-care is critical during these year, treat yourself, find peaceful time away from the kids, talk to a counsellor. Do what ever it take to stay in the game without dissolving your relationship with your child because its not personal, its very normal and happening across millions of homes.

Its a stage like all others stages of growing up and they are completely aware of it too (It’s not easy for them either). Love them unconditionally and be as tolerant as possible, the stage will pass.

The importance of encouraging good oral hygiene at both homes

When kids have two homes their regular routines can often go out the window; one parent may well be more likely to allow more TV time than the other, for example, or prefer eating out to cooking at home. However one routine that it’s important doesn’t get lost during the change-over process is teeth cleaning and good oral hygiene, particularly amongst younger children. The noticeable long term habits of having a good teeth cleaning routine mean it’s worth the effort of establishing good habits now, even if your children are reluctant. Here are some hints and tips for encouraging good oral hygiene, and helping your kids form healthy dental habits that will last a lifetime:

Provide Help and Support

Many parents believe that simply providing access to a toothbrush and toothpaste is enough to encourage good oral hygiene habits, but in reality you need to be much more involved than that. Dental experts recommend that you should physically brush and floss your child’s teeth for them until they are at least six years old (and have the coordination skills to competently and consistently tie their own shoe laces). You should clean their teeth for them for at least two minutes every morning before breakfast and every evening before bedtime, using a fluoride based toothpaste and an age appropriate tooth brush. Once you have cleaned their teeth for them, encourage your child to then brush their teeth independently for another minute: this will build their confidence and encourage them to develop the skills they will need when they are old enough to brush their teeth independently. Once your child is over the age of six you should still supervise their teeth cleaning, to ensure they are brushing regularly and with good technique

Have Everything You Need in Your Home

When kids are switching from one home to the other it’s easy for things to be left behind, however if they forget their toothbrush this could give them the excuse their looking for to have an extended break from teeth cleaning. Given the equipment needed for good dental practice is so inexpensive, why not have everything they need permanently in your home? Buy them a tooth brush, tooth paste, and dental floss that they have constant access to. Why not take them shopping and let them choose their own? Toothbrushes are now available in a wide range of colours, designs, and even featuring their favourite cartoon characters, which could help to make teeth cleaning time a little more fun.

Model Good Habits

Children learn their behaviours by watching their parents and modelling on them, so it’s important to practice what you preach. Clean your teeth thoroughly morning and night, and take care of your smile. Why not clean your teeth at the same time as your child’s, so that you can form the healthy habit together?  Whilst regular dentist visits can be expensive, particularly if you don’t have dental coverage, it’s important that you visit the dentist regularly and that you take your child to the dentist regularly too. Dentist trips are no fun for anyone, and your child is likely to be reluctant and apprehensive, but it is the best way of ensuring your child better understands the importance of taking care of their teeth, and of dealing with any dental problems as soon as they arise.

 Talk About What Will Happen If They Don’t Brush

It can be difficult to deal with a reluctant tooth brusher, and most parents don’t relish the thought of having to hold down their distressed child so they can brush their teeth, so finding other strategies to encourage good oral hygiene is preferable. Talk to your child about cavities and tooth decay, explaining how germs will affect their smile and that once teeth have been damaged by decay they cannot be repaired: if your child is a visual learner then showing them some images of damaged smiles and decayed teeth online might well help to drive your message home. Good oral hygiene is a lifelong habit that needs to be formed as soon as possible, so it’s important to use whatever tools you have in your armoury to get your child brushing every day.

A must watch: Simon Sinek – Millennials in the work place

We live in a world that is consumed by technology and social media. Relationships suffer, work and our ability to cope with everyday stresses are tough for our children. Children born post 1982 have been brought up in a new and potentially damaging era, a time never seen by their parents. Mr Simon Sinek talks about how we have become this addicted society to social media, why it is so damaging and how we can change it and make life more personal, enjoyable, develop meaningful relationships and be more satisfied at work. Something our children must learn and its starts with us! A very interesting and en-lighting video discussion on what we can do.  It will be the best 18 minutes you spend this year 🙂 Oh, and put your phone AWAY when you watch it – unless of course your watching from your phone LOL

 

Managing depression whilst studying

Depression gets a bad rap for a lot of things, which to be fair is pretty reasonable because living with depression is pretty shit. Especially when it comes to exam time, and everyone seems to be bragging about how much study they’ve done, and you can’t even get the energy to make a study plan. This can be ten times worse for repeat exams, as everyone is out enjoying the summer, and you’re at home just staring at your laptop and praying for motivation to fall from somewhere.

Depression plays havoc with your concentration levels, affecting your focus, memory and the ability to sit still and pay attention to something for more than 5 minutes. Or at least, that’s how I find it. Sometimes I get bursts of motivation and I can bring myself to study for a decent half hour, but even then it isn’t easy. Making revision plans doesn’t work, trying to avoid distractions is just a ridiculous suggestion and time is pretty hard to manage because depression is hard to manage, and it doesn’t always abide by time schedules or deadlines.

I used to be really good at studying, I love learning and since I’ve become affected by depression, the thing I’ve struggled with most is not being able to study. I feel lazy, and ungrateful, and despite how hard I worked to get into college in the first place, I feel like by not being able to study, I’m wasting my college place, and all the money that has been spent on it. Depression affects your ability to enjoy the things you used to love doing, so it’s blatantly obvious that it’ll do even more to the things that you know you have to do, but you might not enjoy. Due to this, I don’t enjoy a lot of stuff that I used to do, so when I find things I like, I tend to do them instead of studying. Procrastination is a massive part of my life, and I have wasted so many hours watching Geordie Shore and H2O: Just Add Water, instead of sitting down and going over notes.

I’m repeating exams that I failed because I was in a rough enough place when I took them, and I just didn’t have the spare energy to study, and now I’m back in the same situation. I think there’s a massive amount of pressure on people to go to university and graduate with a decent degree, and when people fail exams, the typical response is “Get your head down, and cop on”. It’s hard for people to understand living with depression if they have never had to, and so some people don’t get how difficult it can be for people with mental illnesses to actually “get their head down”. Studying is hard for most people, and exams are a rough time for everyone, so with added pressure, it’s ten times worse.

Sometimes I wish I could just be accepted into next year without having to study, because I love my degree, and I wouldn’t be able to afford repeating the year. I know I’m not the only one struggling, and I would love it if we were all a bit more honest on social media. It’s natural for us all to compare what we see on Facebook, where people show off their best sides, but every once in a while it would be nice to see some honesty, especially when it comes to things that most of us will deal with. I’m very open about my struggles with anxiety, but sometimes I’m almost embarrassed to talk about my depression, which is ridiculous.

It’s healthy to talk, and many people in Australia suffer from depression, so you won’t be the only one talking.

We have some of the highest suicide rates in the world. The conversation has been repeated so many times, and we made some incredible strides fighting against the mental health cuts in the budget this year, but we need to do more. As difficult as it is, I think we need to talk more about our feelings. It’s even harder for guys to talk about their feelings because of the ridiculous stereotypes surrounding masculinity and emotions. Suicide rates in young men between ages 18 and 24 is 3 times higher than females. Having depression, or other mental health problems are not something to be ashamed of. If you don’t have any mental health problems, that doesn’t make you any less entitled to speak up if you’re having a bad day. It can sometimes be totally isolating, and you deserve to have someone to talk to.

There are many supports for mental health problems in universities, so if you’re struggling with your repeat exams, or any exams at all, don’t be afraid to message your welfare officer and see what help you can avail of. Don’t suffer in silence during exams, and even if you can’t study, you can try to make things a little bit easier on yourself. You deserve it!

Thank you to Rebekah Humphries for her article 🙂