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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

 

Making practical parenting arrangements

Dads Online speak with family lawyer, Daniel Dalli of Aston Legal about how it is important to make an assessment of how practical parenting arrangements are going to be moving forward.
These series of podcasts focusing on separation and divorce can equip you, in making better decisions about your family matters.

Dads, we hope that you find this podcast informative. Remember if are feeling overwhelmed with sadness or grief, or need someone to talk to, there are organisations that can help.
Call Mensline (www.mensline.org.au) on 1300 789 978 or Lifeline (www.lifeline.org.au) on 13 11 14.

If you need family law assistance from a lawyer, feel free to contact Daniel Dalli, Partner of Aston Legal Group (www.astonlegalgroup.com.au) on either 0423 729 686 or email at daniel@astonlegalgroup.com.au. You don’t need to go through this alone. Best wishes and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast.

The content of this podcast is intended to provide a general overview of the subject matter and is not be relied upon as giving legal advice. Advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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.

When they are with you they’re yours

Yep you’re in-charge of everything when your kids are with you.
It makes zero difference how many rules their mum has, your running the things now, so own it!

Obviously some degree of common sense is desirable between the two homes. You are free to set up your home exactly how you want to. If you like how their mum has set hers up, copy the good ideas.
If your’e not confident in knowing how to set up a home, don’t rely on their mum to show you, seriously work it out yourself.

If she offers, politely say, no thanks I’m good 🙂 and jump onto Google and YouTube, all our questions are answered there. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be and how logical and best of all you’ll a great sense of accomplishment! Putting a home together with your children in mind can be googled by using keywords and phrases like: setting up a girls bedroom or how to decorate a child’s room or how to make your home child friendly or teenage bedroom ideas…have a go.

Don’t worry if you have a completely different set up to their mums home, it will teach your children life skills around adapting to change. Kids know that there are different rules in different places. Every day they are adapting to change when going to school, over to Poppies house, going to football training. Don’t let the change concern you because they’re good at it and its not a biggy.

Some of the things I would consider around aligning your house rules with mums purely for the sake of looking after your kids. for example: If their mum doesn’t want toy guns in the house and it sets her off when they play war games or violence games online, then its best to not allow this too in yours. If you allow this in your house you could be making it hard on them when they return to their mums and we don’t want to do that, it’s not fair on them.

You are not obligated to abide by the kids mum’s wishes when they’re with you, you are free to care for them the best way you know how and i bet its perfect. Some Mum’s will try and tell you what to do and how to look after them, you don’t have to agree or give what she says any credence. Your job is to look after you children and do what is in the best interest for them.

If she argues with you about not doing as she likes, you just have to deal with it as that is also part of being divorce. She’ll get used to you carving out your own path of parenting once she see that your way works too.

Best of luck, I’m sure you’ll do an amazing job.

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.

Can next year be better than the last

Yes of course it can! If you want something bad enough then the only thing standing in its way is you.

That’s why its important to write out our goals for the new year. Writing them down goes beyond just thinking about what you’d like to achieve. It alters the emotional meaning behind all of your activities and forms a stronger connection back to the outcome, making it more likely you’ll achieve it.

When you’re writing down you goals you want to achieve, think about Why, By when and What will it mean for you, and write them under your goal.

If it means a lot to you then set an action plan on what you need to do to get their and then keep it top of mind. Put it on the fridge, in your diary, in your wallet and watch yourself move closer.

If your year has been average or let’s us been real maybe “crap” then you should be feeling quiet happy. Because the past does not equal the future. It doesn’t, seriously you can work your way out of financial hardship, find a better job, work on your relationships and you’ll be amazed at how quick it works. Its all about working towards your goals and being committed towards a plan that you really want.

Have a great year, write down your goals and get committed.

Have you and your partner discussed what having kids really means

Relationships start out exactly how we like them, we’re smitten and crazy about each other. It very sensual and physical. Its fun and exciting, everything is new and you feel like your connection is cohesive enough to be able to handle anything that the world throws at you.

Planned or unplanned, having kids can dissolve that cohesive glue you both thought was impenetrable, why? Because you went into having children unprepared or failed to discuss the things that can trip you up. It’s challenging, demanding, thankless, tiring and lasts for the first 10-12 years before you get reprieve.

I recently spoke to a man who was expecting his first baby with his partner. I asked him have you discussed how you will help each other and handle the tough times when they come? He said, Nah! its not something we discuss, things are ok and we will just deal with what ever happens…eeeek! I think this is common, sadly.

The things that can be important to know & talk through (but not limited too, if you can think of more, discuss)

  • Pregnancy is a long time and can be messy
  • You may not automatically love your child day 1
  • A diminished social life can make life feel boring
  • Loss of freedom and also loss of time together can feel like a disconnect
  • When sleep becomes more important than sex, is the norm
  • Disagreeing on  how to raise your child, remember there is more than one way
  • Weekend sleep-ins was your previous life
  • Work is relatively easy compared to raising a baby, how can you lighten your partners load
  • Life changes and so do you and your partner
  • Hobbies and sports need to take a back seat for quiet a while
  • You are no longer “Joe” the carefree guy, you are “Joe” with responsibilities
  • Your own routine now becomes your babies routine
  • Expect both you and your partner to have ups and down feelings of happiness
  • You baby/child needs things NOW, there is no more of …”I’ll do it later”
  • Your stress levels increase and you feel edgy often
  • Your money is now all accounted for and you need to save for emergencies
  • Your friends look at your differently now, you have 1 or 2 beers not 10 anymore
  • If baby is crying all night, it might be easier to have the baby sleep in your bed so you all can sleep
  • Babies poo is smelling and messy and someone has to change it often
  • Sometimes babies cry for long periods for know reason
  • There are some mothers who refuse to even leave their baby with a safe family member so you can go out and have a break, how would you cope with that
  • Learn to cook and make lots of meals to freeze, sometimes it is just easier
  • Facebook life is BS, raising kids is hard work and you both need to work as a team
  • Keep an eye out if either of you need help, don’t be afraid to ask
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps, you need it
  • It’s exhausting, make sure you both get time to rest
  • Eating together becomes a thing of the past
  • This is a 12 year commitment to work as a team, after that it becomes easier and you should have mutual respect for the road traveled together
  • What if you feel like nothing you do is good enough

With all the ups and downs its an incredible feeling to raise a child. It has enormous amounts of joy and satisfaction but its extremely important you go into it with eyes wide open. You need to look after your partner and carry equal amounts of the workload and sometimes more when she needs it. Talk about when times get tough and how you will get through those times together. Its important, it could be the difference between ending up a single Dad or at home with your family. Go the later!!

Whats been your experience? any tips?

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

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.

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