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It’s not always easy to change the way you parent your children but knowing that small things could be altered is the first step. In the long run, making changes to your style of parenting, will make life much easier for you and, more importantly, produce happy, confident children. Download Book 1, ‘Being a Parent’ FREE right now!

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PostHeaderIcon My Son Won’t Do Anything!

Dear Supernanny,

My 13-year old son is totally uncooperative! It doesn’t matter what I ask him to do, he just says he’ll do it later. All he wants to do is sit in front of his computer or Nintendo or whatever he wants to do and I’m really at the end of my tether continually asking and getting nowhere.

I really don’t want him to grow up to be a person who can’t do anything for himself, like my husband, whose mother did everything for him.

Please help!

Karen, Donegal

Supernanny replies:

Unfortunately, with the age of IT came the age of the children who preferred to sit indoors playing electronic games. But it’s not all their fault. As parents, we’ve become accustomed to using television and these games as ‘babysitters’ from an early age, because we know it keeps them quiet, where we know they are and out of our hair!

It requires time and effort to encourage children to do other things, which develops the skills they need to become self-sufficient adults. A firm hand is required about the amount of time they spend on computers and games but once you make the rules, you must stick to them. Therefore if you say, they are allowed to spend half an hour a day on their Nintendo, you must adhere to that and not allow them to go over that time. It’s like anything else, children need boundaries and this has to be one of them.

If you want your son to do some jobs for you or even his homework, you could simply say that unless those jobs or homework is done first, there will be no computer or whatever it is he wants to do.

At the same time, it means taking the time to involve your son in activities, such as cooking, which most children really enjoy. Supervised outdoor games, eg, football, judo, karate or learning a musical instrument draws out their creativity and gets them away from those electronic games.

Years ago, there wasn’t this problem; children went out to play, got plenty of fresh air and ran themselves into tiredness, which kept them fit and healthy. Nowadays, we have to keep a handle on their activities and firmly encourage new pastimes for them to learn, and learn to enjoy.

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“Simple, straightforward, well-structured and very useful. I feel quite inspired to get a group of friends together to practise these skills on a weekly basis.”

– W.M. Larne

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Being a parent is about the most important job we do as an adult and book 1, ‘Being a Parent’ looks at the feelings we experience and the way we parent our children. We soon find out that we may unconsciously start parenting in ways handed down from our own parents or we may consciously do it very differently.
Renowned family therapist, Virginia Satir, emphasised in her book, Peoplemaking (1985) that people expect to be good parents just because they are able to conceive and give birth. Nothing can be further from the truth, particularly if your own childhood was lacking in some way.

We do the best we can with what we have available but we need to be aware of what we are doing in terms of listening to our children, allowing them to express their feelings and acknowledging them. This enables them to become self-sufficient adults with high self-esteem, capable of good decision-making throughout their lives.

We look at the pitfalls of parenting, whilst understanding the need to encourage children to take responsibility and make their own decisions. We give a gentle reminder that our roles change as parents as our children grow older.

You’ll also be introduced to Building Bridges, which are activities which you can do alone or with your children and other adults in the family. Practice makes perfect and these exercises will help reinforce the content of the books. Some of them are thought-provoking and may stir up memories from your own childhood but without doubt, they will increase your awareness.

Book 1 – Being a Parent
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