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How well do our children know us?

your story your wordsEveryone of us has a story to tell. Our life is unique to us and our journey, experiences, feelings and memories to date have carved us into who we are today. These experiences can be shared with our children in a creative way. Below are many questions that often don’t get asked, you can go a lifetime and your children will not know the answers to any of these insights into your lifetime.

It can bring you closer &/or open up topics for further discussions. Answer the questions as if your child is asking them. Why don’t you copy and print them out – take your time to answer them carefully and honestly, include as many photos as possible then present it to your child/children as a gift.  You could even get it published online as a book for little cost, simply Google “online publishing” and there are many to research and choose from 🙂

 Questions to share:

  1. Tell me about the time and place you were born
  2. What are your earliest memories?
  3. Tell me about your Mum and Dad
  4. What do you think your parents thought of you as a child?
  5. What interesting information do you know about other people in your family?
  6. Detail what you know of our family tree?
  7. Tell me some more about your family that may interest generations to come.
  8. What do you remember about the places you lived when you were a child?
  9. What were your favorite childhood toys or games?
  10. Tell me about your best friends as a child.
  11. What do you remember about holidays as a child?
  12. What sort of pets did you have when you were a child and what was their names?
  13. What were you best at when you were at school?
  14. What did you want to do when you grew up?
  15. Who was your best friend as a teenager and why?
  16. What were your favorite hobbies when you were young?
  17. Did you have a idol when you were young? tell me who and why.
  18. What was the first piece of music you bought?
  19. What would have been your top 10 favorite pieces of music when you were young?
  20. Describe any family traditions you had when you were young? or maybe still have.
  21. What age did you start work and tell me about the jobs you have had?
  22. What was the first car you ever owned and tell me about the other vehicles you have had?
  23. How did you meet my mother?
  24. What were some of the things you would do on a night out with each other?
  25. Describe a special day you had with my mother?
  26. How did you feel when you found out you were going to be a father?
  27. What did you think when you first saw me after I was born?
  28. What were my statistics when I was born – time of birth, height and weight?
  29. What did I look like when I was born?
  30. Did you have a nickname when you were young? what was it and why?
  31. Before I was born what other names were you thinking of calling me?
  32. What was the first word or words you remember me saying?
  33. Describe some of the favorite memories you have of me when I was a child?
  34. What was I like when I was a child?
  35. What attributes did I have as a child and still have now?
  36. What were you most proud of me when I was at school?
  37. Describe what you like about me?
  38. Is there anything you would like to change about me?
  39. What are the happiest memories of your life so far?
  40. What are a few of your favorite things?
  41. Tell me about the tings that make you laugh?
  42. Describe your memory of a major world event that has happened in your life.
  43. Describe the greatest change that you have seen in your lifetime so far.
  44. Describe something you still want to achieve in your life.
  45. Tell me about the dream you have for your life.
  46. If you were an animal what type of animal would you be and why?
  47. If you won the lottery what would you do with the money?
  48. What have you found most difficult in your life?
  49. What is your biggest regret in your life and can you do anything about it now?
  50. With hindsight what would you do differently?
  51. Tell me something you think I wont know about you.
  52. What would you like your epitaph to say?
  53. Is there anything you would like to say sorry for?
  54. What piece of advise would you like to offer me?
  55. Is there anything else you would like to say that hasn’t been mentioned?
  56. And now for the record…
    • Your full name?
    • DOB
    • What colour are your eyes?
    • How tall are you?
    • How much do you weigh?
    • What blood group are you?
    • What was the date you completed this journal for me?

Create a treasured family keepsake, share you life, your journey, your memories, your laughs and even your challenges.

Tips to keeping your car clean when you have the kids

keeping your car cleanIf your family are anything like mine, more often than not the inside of your car will look more like a semi full skip after a house clearance rather than a clean, tidy and comfortable method of transport. Crisp wrappers litter the glove box, sticky sweets and crumbs can be found lurking between seats and half empty drink bottles roll aimlessly around in the foot wells. Add to this the smell of sweaty sneakers that have been in the trunk for the past six months, and travelling anywhere of any length of time suddenly becomes more health hazard than relaxing getaway.

School holidays tend to be the worst time. When the car is regularly taken to the pool, the park and the beach. No matter how hard I try, most of the beach seems to travel home with us including a couple of buckets of semi dead marine life that my daughter thought she could resuscitate once home. Needless to say they didn’t make the journey!

It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to create a clean, mean driving machine with very little effort and just a bit of organisation. In fact it’s almost as easy to get your car kiddie friendly, as it is to compare australian car insurance! Here are our top 5 secrets for doing just that:

1. Get organised and start as you mean to go on

The very first step to dirty car rehabilitation is to just get stuck in there and spend a couple of hours removing EVERYTHING from the interior that isn’t firmly attached, or part of the car itself. This includes car seats, floor mats, cushions, blankets and cuddly toys. Once empty, spend time cleaning the car from top to bottom remembering to vacuum between seats, clean sticky handprints from windows and check the roof and seat fabric for stains or marks. Replace car seats and in-car essentials tidily into the vehicle and throw everything else into the trash.

This is now the blueprint from which you should work.  Remember this moment, and how good it feels!

If they’re old enough, show your children the new and improved car and explain to them that this is the standard you expect it to be from now on, explaining that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep it this way.

2. Invest in a hand-held rechargeable vacuum cleaner

A small hand-held vacuum cleaner is likely to become your new best friend, and should be given a special home in your garage or shed (pick the closest place to where you park your car that has an electric point for charging) ready to whip out following any journey that involved crumbs, mud or sand.  

Try to get into the habit of giving the car a very quick once over after every couple of journeys, and you’ll be amazed at how long the car stays fresh and clean. Consider incentivising an older child to do this as one of their chores.

3. Keep a stash of wipes and tissues in your glove compartment

If you already have children, I won’t need to explain how essential a ready supply of moist wipes and tissues is. From wiping up sticky hands to cleaning muddy shoes before they enter the car, you must NEVER be without these!

4. Become a bag lady

Before any journey of longer than an hour or so, remember to take a few disposable plastic or paper bags with you.  Crucial for easy disposal of litter, but can also double up as a makeshift laundry bag for soiled or wet clothes.

5. Store in car entertainment in plastic containers

Keep your children’s favourite CD’s, DVD’s, reading books and games in plastic containers that can be stored in the boot or under seats.  Encourage your children to replace everything into their box after each journey, and add little surprises to each child box before each journey  – like a new colouring book or set of pens. Not only will your car remain spick and span, long journeys become a source of excitement rather than one long chore.

Don’t assume they know.

drill down dont assumeWatching Dr Phil the other day I listened to how a girl was out drinking with a group of “so called friends” boys, they all got drunk and she was gang raped.


Why did these boys take advantage of a drunken girl instead of just taking her home? There is no excuse for this. She ended up committing suicide because they distributed photos of the crime and harassed her both on social media and texting.

It got me thinking about what are we saying to both our girls and boys when it comes to behavior when out socially?

Often the words we use are simple and top line discussion instead of drilling down on exactly what behaviour is unacceptable. Simply saying, “be good” or  “don’t get into any trouble” isn’t enough for a young brain to compute or to make sense of, because at that moment they are thinking – of course I will be good, dad.

Lets stop for a minute, sit them down and have a real conversation about what good behaviour looks like and specifically how to look after friends and girls?

Here are some real topics to cover off with your sons and daughters…

  • When you are out drinking with friends and you see a girl that is drunk or vulnerable, you be responsible and ensure she is safe and no
    one touches her in an indecent way. If they do, gather your friends (for support) and say something to make it stop and take her to safety.
  • Call 000 if you feel someone needs more help than what you can give.
  • Never have sex or be intimate with a girl that is not consenting to it. If she says NO she means NO. Walk away, that is the end of that.
  • If you see a friend (girl) that is drinking to much, make sure she has girlfriends around who are looking out for her. If not, alert her friends.
  • If girls are drinking at a party and the boys out number the girls the girls should leave and go home.
  • If you sense trouble ahead on the street, cross the road and stay away from it.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Stay with your friends and don’t interact with aggressive people – walk away.
  • Go home before 1am and ensure the girls who are with you get home safely.
  • Do not take photos of people or allow your friends to take photos of people in compromising position i.e. nude photos, sexual photos
  • Never post a comment on social media that would hurt the feelings of another – discuss the feelings that can hurt i.e. embarrassment, unliked or feeling ashamed.
  • Respect other human beings and treat them how you would like to be treated yourself.
  • Call me anytime if you need picking up.

 There are many more direct conversations to have. I would be interested in knowing what other topics  you feel would be good to discuss. These topics help keep our children and others safe. If they are ever in the situation, they will draw back on the conversation and most likely act according to what was discussed.

Please like this and share to everyone for discussion.

What if the kids want to cut their visit short

If there is something upsetting your child, it helps if you have a cooperative ex spouse. They can assist you with explaining to your child that we have agreed that there is time spend with both mum and dad and it is your time with your dad now.  If your ex is hostile, they will probably make the situation worse by sympathizing with your child.

Your response to your child is important when they say “I want to go back to mum house”.

I would start by asking “what is wrong” and lets talk about it and try and resolve it. If it is just because you have disciplined them for being naughty, then the conversation could be more “I understand your not happy because I told you off but going home to your mums is not the answer”.

You could say that that your mum and I have agreed that in times like these going home is not an option. If they persist, a response can be “Going home whenever we have an issue is not how we solve things, let talk about it and work it out.

Loosing your temper will not help, If you feel upset, just say we will talk about this in a little while when both of us have calmed down. If it is because your child misses their mother, then maybe a suggestion to call and say hello. It would never be ok for you to accuse your child of loving their mother more.  It is not about that, they will probably be young and just simply missing the other parent.

A walk or an activity can always be a good distraction, keep busy with a bike ride or get a basketball and shoot some baskets down at the local court? You might even suggest that next time they should bring a photo of their mother so they can have it on there shelf.

You could also provide an activity for them – to make something special for their mum. Bunnings kids activitiesBunnings have quiet a few children’s  activity classes for kids over the age of 5 and you must accompany them. It would be worth checking out your nearest store for their times and taking your child along to make something for their mum. You can see more information here

Try your best to be understanding and compassionate, nothing will get resolved if you stand firm and say you are staying here hail rain or shine. Planning in advance to have one of their friends over for a play can help or arranging to drop your child at their friends house for  couple of hours can make them feel happy and that you understand their life needs to continue as normal as possible. I bet when you pick them up they will be happy that you provided the play date.

If you know people in your neighborhood with similar aged kids, it might be worthwhile in getting to know them so that you can do joint activities. There is a great group called Single Parent Active Kids they organise activities for single parents (for both mums and dads) to get together with kids and share fun activities, definitely worth checking it out, I have a post on them here:

How To Juggle Parenthood With A FIFO Mining Job

fifo mining jobsThere’s no doubt the Fly In Fly Out lifestyle is tough on the families of mining workers. Ever since the 1980’s, Australian gas, oil and mining operation staff are required to fly out to remote locations to work ten to fourteen hour shifts for two to six weeks at a time. While the financial gains from this type of work are generous, the long term effects on individuals, couples and especially families are difficult to ignore.

 It’s safe to say that workers and their families teeter precariously between two completely different worlds. However, maintaining a balance for the sake of your family, your relationship and for yourself is imperative to surviving through those challenging times. Here’s some tips for maintaining that balance with a FIFO Mining Job.

Join A Support Group

Just like Mothers group or Book reading groups, there’s one for FIFO families as well. One of the biggest is FIFO Families. This group is targeted towards the partners of FIFO workers and provides a plethora of services and support.  There’s groups in every state who meet weekly at the local park, arrange school/kindy drop offs, exercise together, swap time (look after each other’s kids so you can do those things you want) and share parenting tips.

Make The Most Of Your Time Together

Parenthood is hard work and although being home together isn’t always peaches and cream, try to organise things to do as a family unit. Make it something to look forward to. It will boost family moral and take the focus off the fact that your partner will eventually have to return to work.

Keep The Lines Of Communication Open

Children will face emotional distress spending time looking forward to Mum or Dad’s return and then having to say goodbye again. This is especially hard when they may not have been separated for prolonged periods of time. Being open and honest with your children will help them to understand why Mum or Dad have to leave. Melanie Hearse from Essential Baby writes “Never say ‘Daddy is leaving again’ I say ‘Daddy is off to work’, and show them where he is on a map.”

Set Goals

Setting goals is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future. By writing down your goals in a visible place you’ll feel an overwhelming motivation to turn your vision of this future into reality. Your goals can be varied either focusing on family, self-improvement, professional growth or relationships. For example, your goals could be that you want to take at least one hour of “me time” a week or work towards finishing a TAFE course. Or it could be that you want to deposit $50 – $100 a week into a savings account for a family holiday.

Have A Routine

Create a realistic routine that you know can easily be stuck to when your partner is home. This might be negotiating strict bed times, planning meals ahead of time or ensuring your children complete their chores.

Keep A Calendar

As simple as this sounds, utilizing a calendar will help you keep on top of upcoming events, bill payments, school holidays, appointments, birthdays and most importantly, your partners work schedule.  You can also keep an online version of your calendar via Google Calendar that your partner will be able to access and add too from their work site.

Whilst the fly in fly out arrangement isn’t always ideal, staying organised and seeking support will help make the changes to your new lifestyle more manageable.

3 Assertive Ways to Get More Time with Your Kids

3 assertive ways to get more time with your kids

As a dad, one of your biggest challenges is probably finding more time to spend with your kids.

Each day only has 24 hours and there is nothing you can do about that, which means that the only way to find more time for your kids is to redirect time you spend on other activities.

I am willing to bet that one of the highest demands on your time comes from your job, along with any auxiliary activities it entails such as preparation, commuting and so on. Well, your job also presents the best opportunity to redirect time and thus have more time to spend with your kids.

Now I realize this is easier said than done, which is why I’d like to actually show you 3 effective techniques you can use to make this happen.

All these techniques revolve around the concept of assertiveness. To be assertive means to put taking care of your needs first and to express yourself openly in your relationships with others, but from a position of respect towards others, not aggressively.

Assertiveness is something you can use in your career to effectively free up time and not let your job overwhelm your finite time resources. Here are the 3 specific ways you can do this:

1. Practice Saying “No”

You probably end up dedicating a lot more time to your work than you’d like to, because others in the workplace ask for it and you just don’t say “no”.

Your boss asks you to stay overtime repeatedly and each time you agree, even though you don’t really want to. Some of your colleagues ask you for help regularly and you end up working late in order to help them get their job done, even though you’d prefer they do it on their own. And thus, you give others big chunks of your time.

This has to change. You need to deliberately practice politely but firmly saying “no” when people at work make demands on your time. Not all the time, just some of the time, when you believe you’re entitled.

I know refusing a request involving your time may be hard for you right now. My advice is to take it gradually. Say “no” to small requests first, and progressively move up to more important requests. Also, always bear in mind that your time is important and you have the right to not give others in the workplace more of your time than your job responsibilities demand.

The more you practice saying “no” and the more you apply this mindset, the easier it gets to say “no”.

2. Try to Obtain Work-From-Home Days

If you would work from home some of the time and eliminate part of your daily commute, you would surely be able to spend a lot more time with your kids.

And doing at least some work from home is very likely possible in your job logistically speaking. All you need to do is get your employer to allow it.

Personally, I’ve coached several clients and helped them convince their employer to let them work from home 1, 2 or 3 days per week. The essential thing is to ignore any doubts you may have and actually go to your manager and ask them for this. And have a few persuasive arguments why they should approve your request.

You may feel some social awkwardness when doing this. It’s because you’re making a request of a superior that you’re not used to. Trust me: it will be fine. Ignore the awkwardness and do it.

Ideally, at first just suggest your manager to let you work one day per week at home for a couple of weeks, just as an experiment. If that goes well and your productivity stays the same or it actually improves, then you have a case for asking to make this permanent. Then perhaps to add one more work-from-home day, and then even another.

If your manager sees that you working from home doesn’t cause any problems, they value you as an employee and they know this is something important to you, you’re very likely to pull it off and end up doing part of your job from the comfort of your own home.

3. Find a Better Employer

Sometimes no matter how much you try to say “no” and you endeavor to negotiate the use of your time at work, you still can’t free up too much of it.

The dynamic of the company you work for is of such a nature that it constantly puts a high demand on your time and you have little control over this. Maybe you’re in an organization with a lot of emphasis on hard work and little respect for family life, or you have very rigid managers and colleagues; who knows?

Fortunately, if you’re a professional who has a lot to offer, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find a job in a company with better conditions and less strenuous demands on your time. You will need to be proactive though: search for jobs, send your resume and go to interviews. A better job won’t just fall in your lap. But as long as you take action diligently, results will happen.

The key idea to consider is that you deserve to have a decent amount of time to spend with your kids. Your work isn’t your entire life, it’s only a component of your life, and you have the right to put some clear boundaries on how much time you’re willing to invest in your work.

Do your job well and show commitment to it, but don’t let it absorb all your time and suck the life out of you. That’s what being assertive is all about, and that’s how you find more family time.

Guest Writer: Eduard Ezeanu coaches people who are shy and helps them become more outgoing, both in personal and professional situations. He believes that social confidence is a key factor in having a fulfilling life. You can read other articles from him on his two blogs, People Skills Decoded and Art of Confidence.

Parenting on a Low Income: Money Doesn’t Equal Love

parenting on a low incomeEvery parent wants to do a good job raising their kids.  Many parents with low incomes sometimes worry about how they can provide certain financial based items and activities to their kids. This can cause stress.  Will their kids be as happy as the children of wealthier parents?  Will their kids have to miss out on expensive extracurricular activities?  After all, what parent doesn’t want the best things for their children? 

If you’ve found yourself thinking these thoughts lately, rest assured that parenting on a low income doesn’t ensure an unhappy childhood for your children.  There are a variety of ways to enrich your little one’s life without spending a fortune.  With a little extra effort, your child can have a wonderful and full childhood.


  • Your attention is the most valuable thing your can give your child.  More than they want the latest toy or gadget, your children desperately want your love and attention.  Listen to them as they tell you about their days.  Take the time to watch as they explain the features of their favorite toy. 
  • Arrange for play dates with other children.  Many kids’ favorite memories are of the times they spent with their friends.  Want to build those same memories in your child?  Make sure that they have ample opportunities to get together with their friends or family.  Host two or three of your children’s friends for an afternoon.  If possible, let the friends’ parents reciprocate.  The kids will have fun and each parent will get an afternoon to themselves. 
  • Take advantage of all the things your local library has to offer.  Your local library can be a treasure trove of free or inexpensive activities for your children.  Most libraries have story hours for younger children.  In addition, many offer craft classes or other activities.  While you’re at the library, be sure to check out a travel guide or two about your own city; they are sure to highlight a variety of children’s activities in your area. 
  • Arrange a toy swap for your kids.  Ever notice how your kids love getting new toys?  As soon as the novelty wears off, though, many toys are left to collect dust.  Who wants to spend their hard-earned money on a toy that their little one plays with for a few days and then forgets?  A toy swap between friends or family members can be the perfect solution for this situation.  Invite a few friends over for the swap while requiring each child to bring a present that they no longer want.  (No broken toys please.)  Place each child’s contribution on a table, and let everyone select a new (to them) toy.  Everyone will leave with something new to enjoy without spending a dime. If you don’t have the family or friends, a great way to refresh your toys is to visit a Toy Library, there are over 160 libraries around Australia.
  • Consider secondhand options for necessary purchases.  Some expenses related to raising children can’t be avoided.  Clothing, for example, is a constant need for children as they continue to grow.  You can greatly reduce this cost, however, by turning to secondhand shopping options.  Shopping at Salvos store, resale shops, garage sales and even eBay can be a great way to keep your kids clothed in style for a bargain price.  As you shop, look for items that can fill other needs, too; toys, school supplies, and even electronics can often be found for less than half their original prices. 
  • Spend time on everyday activities: walking in and around parks playing ball games, take your basketball to the local court and shoot a few baskets, ride your bikes along the numerous bike paths, show your children a skill that you have learned like repairing a bicycle puncture, fixing a leaking tap, changing a light globe, brush and grooming the dog or cat, changing the cars window wiper blades.


What I have learnt so far…

simplify your lifeI have been a separated dad for over 25 years, twice over. Its something I am not proud of but I am proud of being a good dad. I have had two very different experiences. My first child was every second weekend, I did everything I could to be in her life – as much as I was allowed or welcomed.

My second experience is what every dad deserves, 50% shared parenting. It really is full parenting because it is only you that cares for them when you have them. In some cases you are providing more parenting duties than if you were not separated as the mums in some families take on more of the everyday care. 50/50 is a complete parenting relationship.

It is also an emotional roller coaster and I would not wish it on anyone if at all avoidable. The grief, the tears, the worry, the distraction, the lack of money, the joy and happiness all mixed into one and it feels like it is never ending.

I started thinking about what have I learned so far travelling this road for 25 years.

I have listed some of them below…

  • Allow an extra 20 minutes in the morning if you have girls so they can spend time on their hair. If you don’t there will be an upset!
  • I am the brekky king!  I believe it is an important meal of the day for us.  I get up early to ensure there is no rush.
  • I enjoy being active on weekends,  I plan activities but also plan down time i.e. time to lounge around and watch a DVD.
  • I have always had more fruit at home than sweets.
  • Yes more water than lemonade too.
  • We have been to McDonalds once in the last 12 months.
  • I’ve always put my children’s needs first when balancing time – because time flys.
  • I’m house proud and want a clean and tidy home for my children to come home to.
  • Reading before bed has served two purposes 1. Calms and relaxes 2. Quality time together
  • I cook 90% more than buy takeaway when I’m parenting.
  • Teaching the kids to value and look after their teeth is big at my place.
  • Over time I have collected a range of puzzle books and games to play at home on those rainy days.
  • I love to cook because its cheaper and healthier and I like to find different recipes the kids might like and experiment with different simple meals.
  • I learned early that our mental and physical well-being is paramount to being able to cope with everything that is going on. So I have always spent time on my own personal mental and physical  health with mediation, reading, walking, running and or gym. I reckon it has saved me!
  • I treat myself every now and then with something that make me happy for doing a good job with parenting. It’s a little like patting yourself on the back.
  • Being involved in parent teacher interviews have been great and keep me up to date on how the kids are tracking at school both academically and socially.
  • When going through separation, I simplified my life as much as possible, I didn’t take on new debt or change jobs – Bunkering down helps.
  • I’ve enjoyed travelling both overseas and locally with my kids, it connects us with fond memories and is fun to plan and wait for the holiday to come around.
  • Having the mind set that you have an equal share in parenting duties.  That means helping your child’s mother like taking extra time off work to help with school holidays and the student free days.  It just makes life easier for everyone and hopefully it’s reciprocated.
  • Generally I have found that a social life with other parents is pretty non-existent because there seems to be a stigma attached to a single dad!! But I have been able with some parents to Invite their children over for play dates and I have prepared lunch for the kids etc.  I always Invite the parents inside when they drop off so they see that it is a good environment to leave their children and that there kids are safe and well catered for.
  • Its not the army but I find kids operate much better and are happier with routine.  So, I have always tried to keep simple routine in place I.e. bed and meal times, reading, showering and arriving at school on time etc
  • I’ve tried to keep in touch with extended family, keeping family connections alive. If you don’t it can be a bit of a solo life, family are always there and friends are not.
  • There has been some fun and enjoyable moments which involved the kids cooking breakfast, lunch or dinner and even cleaning and shopping – I’ve tried to involve them in my day to day life.
  • Teach the kids to conserve energy and value the planet.
  • Be a good role model by not swearing or speaking badly of their mother in front of them if that is your situation. Don’t be afraid to fight behind the scenes for 50/50 parenting if you have to.
  • Be consistent in your moods around them. If you’re having a bad day relax and be present with the kids it really helps to keep things in perspective.
  • Remember whilst your kids are growing up they love you unconditionally.
  • Listen 70% and ask questions 30%
  • Be involved in your child’s life, they need you more than any materialistic item you could buy them. Make them a priority.
  • I always ended the night with a cuddle
  • You will find love again.

Doing the best you can does not always guarantee the love of your children when they get older. However, it does give you peace of mind that you have done the best your could, with what you were given.

Negotiate Your Way to a Better Deal

negotiate a better dealPeople often associate negotiations with deals between companies or purchases but in reality, the average person makes dozens of negotiations every single day. Whether it’s discussion with an (ex)spouse, pleading with children, or coming to a consensus on dinner plans with friends – negotiating is a part of everyday life.  While everyone inevitably engages in some form of negotiation, not everyone is skilled at it. Luckily, it doesn’t require years of business classes to become a great negotiator. And the benefits of becoming a great communicator can be tremendous. Keep the following things in mind for future negotiations.


Regardless of the focus of your negotiations, you must do extensive research beforehand. For example, if you begin negotiations to purchase a used car but you haven’t researched current market prices for the make and model in question, the seller is going to spot your lack of preparation and take advantage of it. The seller could set the starting price much higher than current market prices suggest, playing off of your ignorance. Preparation also involves knowing exactly what it is you want out of the deal and defining your bottom line. Writing these things down before you begin negotiating can act as a control which will prevent you from making unwise decisions in the heat of the moment.


Honesty really is the best policy in negotiations. Being dishonest or omitting certain information during a negotiation will only hurt you later on when the truth comes to light. Remember that the goal of any negotiation isn’t to force your opponent to take a bad deal, but rather to find a compromise that will be advantageous for both parties.


Don’t let your own impatience drive you to take an undesirable deal. Negotiations that occur over long periods of time can actually be helpful since both parties have ample time to fully consider the consequences of the deal. On the flipside, negotiations with your children may not be long and drawn out but LOTS of patience may be needed.


Don’t ever be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. If the particular negotiation you are involved in has high stakes, it may be a good idea to consult an attorney, an expert negotiator, or simply speak with a trusted friend or family member. Consulting someone outside of the negotiation can give you a fresh perspective and potentially provide valuable insight.


Having a variety of options can work to your advantage in any deal. If you are planning on purchasing a home for instance, you should speak with several realtors about different locations. Once you have been quoted prices for all of the possibilities, you can use the price ranges as tools of negotiation. Let all the realtors know that you have other options and will only accept the best deal. This provides leverage which ensures you will get a bigger discount in the end.


Confidence is what you stand to gain through practice and it will go a long way in earning you a great deal. Before a big negotiation, use role plays to practice with friends, family, or co-workers. You can try out different negotiation tactics and see which ones suit your personality best and remember the old saying “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”

Good negotiation skills can mean the difference between a satisfied customer and buyer’s regret. Keep these tips in mind and you should find yourself walking away from your next negotiation with a smile and a great deal.

Is your teen at risk of a workplace injury?

Is your teen at risk of a workplace injuryGetting your first part time job is a proud moment in anyone’s life, and this will be no different for your teen.

Gaining some independence, developing life skills, and earning a bit of cash to spend on just about anything are some of the reasons first jobs are so exciting.

However, in spite of the huge number of benefits of young people working, a growing number of teens are finding themselves injured or, in the very worst cases, killed whilst at work.

Adolescents and young adults (aged between 15-24) suffer approximately twice the rate of occupational injuries as older workers. Experts believe teens may be more at risk because they have less work experience than adults, and may be less confident about speaking up about unsafe working conditions.

If your teen has just secured their first job, make sure you talk to them about identifying and minimizing their risks whilst at work:

Job Options

Help your teen to understand that different jobs carry different levels of risk.  For example a job laboring at a construction site is likely to carry a greater risk of physical injury than one in an office or shop.

Workplace Safety

Discuss possible safety issues and safety risks with your teen, and quiz them about what they believe to be dangerous working conditions.

  • Discuss work tasks
  • Find out what types of equipment and machinery they will use
  • Establish what types of protective gear (such as gloves, glasses and ear-plugs) is available to your child, free of charge, of he/she needs it.

In many cases teens just don’t recognize danger before it’s too late.  Make sure your teen has a good basic understanding of how to keep safe at work, and what their employer’s responsibilities are.

Check the employer

Consider visiting your teen at their workplace to assess the safety of the environment.  Avoid embarrassing them by keeping it light and informal – maybe meet them for lunch or a drink whilst you have a quick look around.  If your teen’s employer is a responsible person, they will understand your concerns.

Things to consider include:

  • Do most of the employees seem happy and satisfied?
  • Does the workplace seem reasonably safe?
  • Is the place of employment tidy and organized?

Claiming for compensation

If your teen is unfortunate enough to be injured at work, then there are a number of ways in which they can claim for compensation.  Remember the amount awarded will vary from state to state and it can be difficult for the average person to know their legal rights.

Speaking to a professional injury lawyer can make a big difference to any injury claim.


How to talk to your child about the News

how to talk to your kids about the newsNews gleaned from the TV, radio, or Internet can be a positive educational experience for kids. But when the images presented are violent or the stories touch on disturbing topics, problems can arise.

Events all over the world but recently in America such as the explosions at the Boston Marathon and the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School might naturally cause kids to worry that something similar might happen to them or their loved ones. It also can make them fear some aspect of daily life — like going to school — that they never worried about before.

Reports on shootings, attacks, natural disasters, and child abductions also can teach kids to view the world as a confusing, threatening, or unfriendly place.

How can you deal with these disturbing stories and images? Talking to your kids about what they watch or hear will help them put frightening information into a reasonable context.

How Kids Perceive the News

Unlike movies or entertainment programs, news is real. But depending on their age or maturity level, kids might not yet understand the distinctions between fact and fantasy.

By the time kids reach 7 or 8, however, what they see on TV can seem all too real. For some youngsters, the vividness of a sensational news story can be internalized and transformed into something that might happen to them. A child watching a news story about a bombing on a bus or a subway might worry, “Could I be next? Could that happen to me?”

Natural disasters or stories of other types of devastation can be personalized in the same manner. A child in Melbourne who sees a house being swallowed by floods from a storm in Brisbane may spend a sleepless night worrying about whether his home will be OK in a rainstorm. A child in Adelaide, seeing news about an attack on train station in Sydney, might get scared about using public transportation around town.

TV has the effect of shrinking the world and bringing it into our own living rooms. By concentrating on violent stories, TV news also can promote a “mean-world” syndrome and give kids an inaccurate view of what the world and society are actually like.

Talking About the News

To calm children’s fears about the news, parents should be prepared to deliver the truth, but only as much truth as a child needs to know. The key is to be honest and help kids feel safe. There’s no need to go into more details than your child is interested in.

Although it’s true that some things — like a natural disaster — can’t be controlled, parents should still give kids space to share their fears. Encourage them to talk openly about what scares them.

Older kids are less likely to accept an explanation at face value. Their budding skepticism about the news and how it’s produced and sold might mask anxieties they have about the stories it covers. If older kids are bothered about a story, help them cope with these fears. An adult’s willingness to listen sends a powerful message.

Teens also can be encouraged to consider why a frightening or disturbing story was on the air: Was it to increase the program’s ratings because of its sensational value or because it was truly newsworthy? In this way, a scary story can be turned into a worthwhile discussion about the role and mission of the news.

Tips for Parents

Keeping an eye on kids’ TV news habits can go a long way toward monitoring the content of what they hear and see. Other tips:

  • Recognize that news doesn’t have to be driven by disturbing pictures. Public TV programs, newspapers, or newsmagazines specifically designed for kids can be less sensational — and less upsetting — ways of getting information to children.
  • Discuss current events with your child regularly. It’s important to help kids think through stories they hear about. Ask questions: What do you think about these events? How do you think these things happen? These questions can encourage conversation about non-news topics too.
  • Put news stories in proper context. Showing that certain events are isolated or explaining how one event relates to another helps kids make better sense of what they hear. Broaden the discussion from a disturbing news item to a larger conversation: Use the story of a natural disaster as an opportunity to talk about philanthropy, cooperation, and the ability of people to cope with overwhelming hardship.
  • Watch the news with your kids to filter inappropriate or frightening stories.
  • Anticipate when guidance will be necessary and avoid shows that are too graphic and inappropriate for your child’s age or level of development.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with the content of the news or if it’s inappropriate for your child’s age, turn it off.
  • Talk about what you can do to help. After a tragic event, kids may gain a sense of control and feel more secure if you help them find ways to help those affected by the tragedy or honor those who died.


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Deciding if a part time job is right for your teenager

teens_at_workHaving a teenager can be a difficult time, and being one can be even harder. It’s a strange time in their life as they aren’t a kid anymore, but they still rely on people to assist them with decision making. There has been an increase of teenagers joining the workforce in recent years, and the idea of letting adolescents work has been a heavy debate for years. If you and your teenager are trying to decide if getting a part time job is right for their path, there are a few things to consider:

Those in Favour

There are many parents who support the idea of their teenager having a part time job, and some even demand if of their kids. Here are some of the most common discussion points:

  • It teaches them responsibility. Being on time, having specified tasks to complete, and being accountable for their own finances are skills that a part time job can help teach a teenager, and those are things that are needed all throughout life.
  • It eases them into adulthood. Being an adult is a balancing act, and having your teenager manage a day at school, a few hours at work, and social relationships will help him/her prepare for the “real world.” Being thrown into adulthood can be a harsh transition for those who had no chance to prepare, and giving them a small taste of reality will lead to a better chance of them easily adjusting.
  • It keeps them out of trouble. Kids who are kept busy are less likely to get in trouble because having something to do will keep them focused. Teenagers with plenty of spare time on their hands tend to be more inclined to experimenting with things that could lead them down a negative path.
  • It’s good for experience. Starting a job at a young age is great for gathering experience, skills, and references to put on a resume, and it’s always easier to get a job later on in life if you’ve been in the work force for a while.

Those Opposed

For every argument in support of teens holding down a job, there are just as many justifications for those against the idea, and here are the most common concerns:

  • It interferes with their schoolwork. A teenager’s main priority should be school, and having a job to focus on and keep up with could distract them from what’s really important. Doing well in school is what’s going to set them up for success in the future, and they shouldn’t feel compelled to try and hold down a job in the midst of developing their academic career.
  • It pushes them to grow up too fast. In the final years of their childhood, teens should be focused on their education and enjoying being carefree with their friends. They have all the time in the world to learn the responsibility of earning money and balancing relationships. Youth is something they can only experience once, and having to squeeze time in with their friends between school and work could be nearly impossible to do.
  • It leaves minimal time for self-discovery.  Teens need time to be themselves and think their own thoughts. Having to focus on what someone is instructing them to focus on for seven hours a day in school can be overwhelming, and adding a job on top of that could severely stifle the time they have to contemplate what it is that really inspires them about life. Limiting the time they have for self-exploration could lead to indecisiveness or misdirection later on down the road.
  • It’s too much to handle. A typical day at school tends to be about the length as a full day of work for most people, and when you add up the time it takes them to complete their homework, they might not be finished with everything until late in the evening. Trying to put the responsibility of a part time job on top of all that would be too much for anyone to handle.

Making Your Decision

Now that you have heard both sides of the argument, it’s time for you and your teen to make a decision. Whether it’s you pushing for your teen to start working, or it’s your child’s idea, make sure to talk with your child, not at him/her. Effective communication is the key to reaching a peaceful resolve, and if you’re willing to consider letting your child go into an adult world, then hear them out like one. Try reaching a compromise if you hold clashing views; maybe a job working only weekends would be a good starting point. At the end of the day, all that matters is that both you and your teen feel that the best decision possible was made.